Judge calls for more arguments in sunken ferry suit
Uncovering the mystery of events on the bridge of the Queen of the North the night it sank will have to wait while a B.C. Supreme Court judge hears more submissions before allowing a wrongful death lawsuit to continue.
Lawyers representing BC Ferries want the court to order the case divided into two, allowing a jury to decide the amount of damages paid to Gerald Foisy's family, while the second hearing would determine whether there was any recklessness involved.
Under the Maritime Liability Act up to $330,000 can be awarded, unless recklessness can be proven.
Foisy and his common-law wife Shirley Rosette went down with the ship in March 2006 when it hit Gil Island and sank as it made its scheduled run from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy, B.C.
Rosette's family has recently reached an out-of-court settlement involving an undisclosed cash payment.
More submissions needed
On Thursday, Justice Brian Joyce of the B.C. Supreme Court said he needed to hear further submissions because of differences between BC Ferries and two individual defendants -- Karl Lilgert and Karen Bricker.
The families of Rosette and Foisy filed wrongful death lawsuits against BC Ferries and some of the staff on board the ship the night it sank.
BC Ferries doesn't contest its liability for damages recoverable under the Marine Liability Act, said the judge.
"It appears to me that BC Ferries has therefore admitted its liability subject only to the question of whether the extent of its liability is limited under the act," said Joyce.
But the "admissions of the individual defendants regarding their liability does not go as far as that of BC Ferries," the judge cited as his need for further legal arguments.
The judge said he would try to hear the additional arguments next Tuesday or Wednesday.
A Transportation Safety Board report found crew members Lilgert and Bricker, who had recently ended a romantic relationship, were engaged in a conversation before the ship slammed into the island.
No one has ever explained what that conversation was about, but both Lilgert and Bricker would have to testify about their actions that night.