New York News
6:25 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

NY Court Rejects Inspector Liability in Capsizing

New York's top court has rejected damages claims against state inspectors who continually recertified a tour boat for 48-passenger capacity before it overturned on an Adirondack lake in 2005, drowning 20 people during a leaf-peeping tour.

The Court of Appeals said Thursday that the state generally isn't liable for "the negligent performance" of government functions unless it has some "special duty" to those hurt.

Federal investigators afterward said the 40-foot Ethan Allen should have been limited to 14 passengers. The boat tipped over in clear, sunny weather, sending 47 tourists and the captain into Lake George. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that "insufficient stability," partly from the passenger load, was the probable cause of the accident.

Nineteen of those killed were from Michigan. One was from Ohio.

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