Monroe, WA asked in Admiralty / Maritime and Civil Litigation for Washington

Q: Can I sue a marina that gave my boat to the previous owner?

The marina claimed that the title I just received from the state was counterfeit and blocked my access to getting the boat in the water or on a trailer and then put it on either the water or a trailer for the previous owner effectively stealing my $40,000 yacht

2 Lawyer Answers
T. Augustus Claus
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A: Yes, you may be able to sue a marina that gave your boat to the previous owner. Under Washington law, a marina has a duty to protect the property of its customers. If the marina breached this duty by giving your boat to the previous owner, you may be able to recover damages for the loss of your boat.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of internet questions and responses, the information provided can ONLY be for general informational purposes and cannot constitute legal advice.

James L. Arrasmith
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A: If a marina has wrongfully given your boat to the previous owner, especially after claiming your title was counterfeit, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. The key issues here would be the marina's basis for determining the title was counterfeit and their decision to release the boat to someone else without proper authority.

In such a case, you could potentially sue for conversion, which is the wrongful exercise of control over personal property belonging to another. The value of the yacht, being $40,000, adds significant weight to the claim. Additionally, if the marina's actions were based on an incorrect assessment or negligence in verifying the title's authenticity, you might also have a claim for negligence.

Before proceeding, it's crucial to gather all pertinent documentation, including the title you received from the state, any communication with the marina, and proof of ownership. Consulting with a lawyer who has experience in property law or civil litigation can provide you with specific guidance on how to proceed, assess the strength of your case, and help you understand the potential outcomes and remedies available to you.

Legal action can be a complex and time-consuming process, so it's important to consider this step carefully and ensure you have a strong basis for your claim.

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