United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
WILLIAM BOWMAN, as titled owner of and for a 37' 2012 Boston Whaler, hull identification No. BWCE0946B212 her engines, tackle, and appurtenances, for exoneration from or limitation of liability, Petitioner,
ADAM BOWMAN, Third Party Defendant. BENJAMIN BAIR, Third Party Plaintiff
OPINION AND ORDER
E. STEELE SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on review of defendant's
Motion to Dismiss Claimant's Demand for Punitive Damages
(Doc. #66) filed on April 26, 2019. Plaintiff filed a
Response in Opposition (Doc. #69) on May 24, 2019.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a Complaint must
contain a “short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). This obligation “requires more
than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action will not do.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)
(citation omitted). To survive dismissal, the factual
allegations must be “plausible” and “must
be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Id. at 555. See also Edwards v.
Prime Inc., 602 F.3d 1276, 1291 (11th Cir. 2010). This
requires “more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court must
accept all factual allegations in a complaint as true and
take them in the light most favorable to plaintiff,
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007), but
“[l]egal conclusions without adequate factual support
are entitled to no assumption of truth, ” Mamani v.
Berzain, 654 F.3d 1148, 1153 (11th Cir. 2011) (citations
defendant seeks dismissal of the punitive damages claim in
the Third-Party Complaint Against Adam Bowman (Doc. #53)
arguing that the factual basis is inadequate. The parties
agree that punitive damages are available only in
“exceptional circumstances”. In re Amtrak
Sunset Ltd. Train Crash in Bayou Canot, Ala. on Sept. 22,
1993, 121 F.3d 1421, 1429 (11th Cir. 1997).
Third-Party Complaint presents one count of negligence. The
relevant factual allegations are as follows:
10. On or about August 3, 2017, while Petitioner was onboard,
his son, Adam Bowman, intentionally, recklessly, carelessly,
and/or negligently operated Petitioner's vessel at or
near the Mouth of the Caloosahatchee River in Lee County,
Florida, in such a manner as to cause it to collide with
Claimant's 35-foot 1963 Alberg Sailboat while Claimant
and Joseph Lugo were onboard.
11. Specifically, Claimant was operating his vessel in a
no-wake zone going approximately 5 miles per hour just west
of the “Miserable Mile” when he and Mr. Lugo
noticed the vessel Adam Bowman was operating heading towards
them at a high rate of speed.
12. The vessel being operated by Adam Bowman struck the
midship of Claimant's vessel causing it to sink. Due to
the collision, Claimant became pinned between his vessel and
Petitioner's before being subsequently trapped upside
down under water as his vessel sank. This collision resulted
in serious, traumatic bodily and mental injury to Claimant as
well as excessive property damage.
13. Immediately following the collision, while Claimant
struggled to remove himself from the wreckage, Adam Bowman
and the other passengers onboard Petitioner's vessel
watched on and did nothing to assist Claimant and/or failed
to reasonably mitigate the damages created by their
14. Despite Claimant's repeated requests for Adam Bowman
and/or the other passengers on Petitioner's vessel to
call 911 and the Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC), neither
15. Rather than having an ambulance ready for Claimant at the
marina as would have happened if the appropriate law
enforcement officials were contacted, Adam Bowman and the
other passengers on their vessel took their time to clean up
their vessel, including alcoholic ...