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What is the statue of limitations to seek compensation for undisclosed structural damage in the purchased of a boat?

Orlando, FL |

Boat purchased 3/7/12 upon the premise that the boat was used but in good structural condition. After purchase it was identified that the boat had major structural issues (rot in the transom & stringers). I have pictures & video that shows where a product like "Git Rot" had been used in the stringers and covered up proving that there was prior knowledge of the structural issue that wasn't disclosed. 80% of the repairs have been made with a cost in excess of 20k.

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Attorney answers 5

Posted

It depends on any contract you signed to purchase the boat and/or if it was purchased "as is." If you have good evidence the seller presented to you the structure was in good condition, but in fact had concealed it, you have four years to bring an action for fraud or other claims. If you have a contract, then you have five years.

Hire an attorney because alleging fraud has specific pleading requirements.

This communication is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship. It is always recommended you consult an attorney in person to discuss your case. The Law Offices of Stage & Associates practices state-wide and represents homeowners and community associations. Please visit our website at www.stagelaw.com.

Alan Sanders Richard

Alan Sanders Richard

Posted

The answer's reference to a five year statute of limitations may have "missed the boat" if the vessel was used no navigable waters of the United States. If so, it is a maritime contract and will be and case concerning it will be decided in accordance with Admiralty law, even if that case is brought in a state court. "The equitable doctrine of laches governs the time to sue in admiralty cases, not federal or state statutes of limitations." Puerto Rico Ports Auth. v. Umpierre–Solares, 456 F.3d 220, 227 (1st Cir.2006).

Barbara Billiot Stage

Barbara Billiot Stage

Posted

I stand corrected. Thanks for clarifying.

Posted

As Attorney Stage indicated, your answer depends on whether the contract was an as-is contract or not. There are potentially several causes of action at your disposal depending on the contractual language, as well as any warranties (if any) which were issued at the time of purchase. If the seller was a boat dealership, then there might be a surety bond in place for the performance of the contract.

As indicated, pleading fraud is very fact specific so consulting with an attorney is highly recommended.

Alan Sanders Richard

Alan Sanders Richard

Posted

be certain that the attorney you contact is knowledgeable about admiralty and maritime matters.

Posted

The purchase and sale of a boat has special considerations, not like you would expect in the purchase and sale of a car. This is compounded by State law, too. Contact a local maritime attorney to assist you further. As my colleagues stated, there are too many variables that were not discuss by you here.

Adam Jaffe Law Office of Adam Jay Jaffe 124 Lomas Santa Fe Dr, #204 Solana Beach, CA 92075 (619) 810-7964 www.smallclaimsappeals.com Adam@AdamJayJaffe.com This posting is provided for “information purposes” only and should not be relied upon as "legal advice". Nothing transmitted from this posting constitutes the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Applicability of the legal principles discussed here may differ substantially in individual situations or in different states.

Alan Sanders Richard

Alan Sanders Richard

Posted

I agree completely that a maritime attorney is needed.

Posted

First, I am not licensed in Florida, however I generally agree with the comments made by other lawyers. A contract for the sale of a vessel is traditionally not considered a Maritime Contract (although some recent cases have held differently) and is generally a matter of state rather than Federal Maritime law. You should discuss the specifics of your situation with one of the many fine Admiralty Lawyers in Florida. Both the Southeastern Admiralty Law Institue and the Maritime Law Association of the United States have websites from which you can locate an attorney who might be able to better advise you. Also, the Florida Bar certifies specialists in Admiralty and Maritime law, and you might obtain information about those lawyers from the Florida Bar Association.

If the seller deliberately concealed damage from rot, there may be issues of fraud involved. Also, and depending upon the terms of engagement, if you hired a marine surveyor who failed to note or discover these problems, they may be helpful to you in providing information on how the damage was concealed by the seller, or you may have a claim against them for failing to discover the problems if they should have been discovered. Again, these are probably matters of State law with which a Florida attorney could help you. Likewise, the time within which you must act is governed by Florida law. The general statute of limitations for maritime/admiralty matters is 3 years, but a lawyer licensed in Florida can advise you on the specific limitations under your state law.

This response does not create an attorney client relationship, and is for general information purposes only. You should promptly contact an attorney in your area to ascertain your legal rights.

Alan Sanders Richard

Alan Sanders Richard

Posted

I agree that it is necessary to consult with a maritime attorney.

Posted

Complicated case. You should contact a maritime attorney in your area ASAP. You will most likely need to sue. I'm in Seattle but am happy to refer you to excellent maritime council in your area.

This answer is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Alan Sanders Richard

Alan Sanders Richard

Posted

I agree that it is necessary to consult with a maritime attorney.