District Judge William M. Skretny

 

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Passenger Ubriaco was hurt while Vaccaro’s boat traveled the Niagara River near Buffalo. Claiming negligence, Ubriaco sued Vaccaro in state supreme court, alleging injuries stemming from the boat trip. His complaint’s Ad Damnum clause indicated a $750,000 claim, exceeding the value of Vaccaro’s boat. Vaccaro’s instant March 30, 2017 petition sought exoneration or limitation of liability under 46 USC §30501 et seq., the Limitation of Liability Act. District court granted Ubriaco’s motion to dismiss Vaccaro’s liability limitation application—found analogous to that in Matter of Germain—pursuant to 28 USC §133(a), the Act’s “saving-to-suitors” clause codifying the court’s admiralty jurisdiction. In his answer to Vaccaro’s petition, claimant Ubriaco stipulated to waive any claim of res judicata and issue preclusion and to waive any right to collect on any judgment based on state court rulings prior judgments pending resolution of district court’s limitation proceeding. Citing PPX Enters. Inc. v. Audiofidelity Inc., 746 F.2d 120, district court found Vaccaro adequately protected by such stipulations such that Ubriaco’s state action could continue without impairing Vaccaro’s rights under the Limitation of Liability Act.