El Faro claims

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Attorneys Benjamin Gideon and Steven Silin of the Maine law firm Berman & Simmons filed papers Tuesday in federal court in Florida opposing TOTE Maritime’s attempt to limit its liability and financial responsibility arising out of the El Faro disaster.

Berman & Simmons represents the families of Danielle Randolph, 34, and Dylan Meklin, 23, who were among the 33 crew members killed when the cargo ship El Faro sank during Hurricane Joaquin in October. Randolph and Meklin were graduates of Maine Maritime Academy. They were both from Rockland.

Since the disaster, attorneys from Florida, Texas and throughout the country have filed lawsuits in Florida’s state and federal courts on behalf of victims. TOTE Maritime filed its own lawsuit, commonly referred to as a “limitation action,” in federal court in Jacksonville, seeking to limit its liability and responsibility for paying claims.

In the Tuesday filings, lead counsel Gideon lodged his clients’ objections to TOTE’s attempts to limit its liability and financial responsibility. Gideon asserts that the owner was responsible for allowing the ship to navigate into the path of the hurricane while in an unseaworthy condition and overloaded with cargo. El Faro lost propulsion, took on water and sank in the storm, resulting in the deaths of all of the crew members, including Randolph and Meklin.

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