Boating Accidents, Featured, Maritime Wrongful Death

LM&W Settles Wrongful Death for Wife Killed by Boat Propellers in Diving Accident

Michael A. Winkleman

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Michael A. Winkleman is one of the nation’s top maritime lawyers. An active trial and appellate attorney, Mr. Winkleman is also a frequent contributing expert on maritime and cruise ship law. He has made more than 100 national television appearances regarding cruise ship law.

No loss of human life can ever be replaced by financial compensation, but in some cases, it’s the only justice that the survivor of a wrongful death victim can hope for. This was the case for Sean Flynn, the husband of a 37-year old woman who died in a tragic and entirely preventable diving accident. Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina, and Winkleman, P.A. were able to settle this wrongful death case with the responsible parties just two months after the suit was filed.

The Details of the Wrongful Death Incident

On March 29, Mollie Ghiz-Flynn and her husband, Sean Flynn who is the plaintiff in the case, were on a scuba diving expedition approximately a mile and a half off of the Palm Beach Inlet near a popular diving locale called “Breakers Reef.” The couple was diving from a boat named Southern Comfort, which is the property of Florida Scuba Charters — a diving company owned by Dustin and Kristy McCabe, who were co-defendants in the suit, along with Safe Harbor North Palm Beach. Dustin McCabe had recently purchased the boat for the business and had only used it two times prior to the incident.

Mollie and Sean were finishing their first dive when they were waved over to the boat by Dustin McCabe. McCabe put the boat in reverse and both divers were sucked under and Mollie’s legs became entangled in the propellers. Along with the help of several other individuals, Sean was able to free Mollie from the propellers, but it was too late. She bled to death from her injuries prior to being able to receive proper medical attention.

Liability in the Wrongful Death Case

From the outset, our attorneys could see that Dustin McCabe and Florida Scuba Charters were primarily responsible for the death of Mollie Ghiz-Flynn and that, as her husband, Sean Flynn had legal standing. We were also able to determine that Florida Scuba Charters has a legal duty of care for the safety of its customers and that those customers could reasonably expect the pilot of a boat to operate it in a safe and predictable manner. The fact that the boat was new and that Dustin McCabe was not yet accustomed to operating it, does not relieve him of his responsibility in the accident. Due to the pandemic lockdown that was in place at the time of the accident, the lawsuit also named North Palm Beach Marina (owner of Safe Harbor North Palm Beach where Southern Comfort docks) as a codefendant.

Details of the Settlement

As part of the settlement agreement, the details of the amount that Sean Flynn received can’t be disclosed. In a press statement, LM&W named partner Michael Winkleman said, “We are pleased we were able to obtain some semblance of justice for Sean and for Mollie’s family. Mollie’s life was taken far too soon and it was important to seek full accountability for what was a preventable tragedy.”

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