Fifth lawsuit filed against El Faro operators

For the fifth time since the Jacksonville container ship El Faro sunk in Hurricane Joaquin, a lawsuit has been filed against TOTE Maritime.

Attorney Kurt Arnold, of Houston-based law firm Arnold & Itkin, has filed the lawsuit in Broward County on behalf of Patrick Smith, who is the son of El Faro crew member Howard John Schoenly.

Arnold is also representing the family of crew member Anthony Shawn Thomas in a lawsuit which was filed against TOTE Maritime last week.

GALLERY: Remembering the 33 El Faro crew members

Similarly with the lawsuit on behalf of the Thomas family, Arnold is targeting the legal team of TOTE Maritime who he believes will use the Limited Liability Act of 1851.

“In effect, by filing for this limitation, TOTE is suing the families of those lost on the El Faro with the hopes of capping their liability before any litigation begins,” Arnold said in a statement. “Normally, a family would have three years to decide whether to bring a claim against TOTE, but now these families will likely have to respond to TOTE’s petition within six months or forever lose their claims.

Arnold says they’re filing this suit sooner than expected.

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