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MARRONI v. MATEY

June 18, 1980

FREDERICK and LYNN MARRONI, et al.
v.
GARY S. MATEY and RAYMOND MATEY; RAYMOND MATEY v. FREDERICK and LYNN MARRONI, et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: HUYETT

FINDINGS OF FACT, DISCUSSION, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, AND ORDER

I. Introduction

 On June 25, 1978, Gary Matey allegedly was operating a speedboat owned by his father, Raymond Matey, in the Delaware River approximately one mile upriver from Keifer Island, which is approximately nine miles north of Easton. The boat allegedly struck Michele Marroni as she swam near her anchored rowboat. The Marronis commenced an action in this court based upon admiralty jurisdiction since there is no diversity of citizenship between the parties. Defendant Raymond Matey thereafter commenced a proceeding pursuant to 46 U.S.C. § 183 to limit his liability to the value of the boat, which is purported to be $ 1,100.00. The question of the propriety of exercising admiralty jurisdiction in these actions has been raised, *fn1" and the parties have submitted that issue upon depositions.

 II. Findings of Fact

 1. The accident giving rise to these actions took place in the Delaware River at a place adjacent to Hutchinson, New Jersey, approximately one mile upriver from Keifer Island. (Hannold deposition at 8 and Exhibit 1 to Hannold deposition, section H) (the Hannold deposition is hereafter cited as "H.D.").

 2. The accident occurred in a pool of the river that is approximately three-quarters of a mile long and approximately 400 feet wide. (H.D. at 8).

 3. The pool is used for pleasure boating. (H.D. at 9).

 4. The pool is bounded by riffles that prevent regular powerboats from proceeding upstream or downstream. (H.D. at 9-10).

 5. The section of the Delaware River where the accident occurred has never been used for commercial purposes. (H.D. at 15).

 6. Small Coast Guard boats occasionally patrol this area of the river. (H.D. at 13).

 7. The Matey boat involved in this accident is a seventeen foot outboard motorboat powered by a fifty-five horsepower motor. (Raymond Matey deposition at 11) (hereinafter "M.D.").

 8. At the time of the accident the Matey boat was operated by Gary Matey, son of the owner, Raymond Matey. The boat was being operated to test it following repairs. (M.D. at 16-17).

 9. The boat was being tested so that Raymond Matey's employees could use the boat for recreation following a business meeting. (M.D. at 16).

 10. At the time of the accident the boat was not being used to transport any cargo or for ...


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