Boat owner claims neighbor's unsecured vessel caused damage during storm

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Sep. 21, 2010, 6:51am

GALVESTON - Claiming his recreational boat sustained damage during Hurricane Ike when the vessel collided with another in a marina, a Houston attorney has sued his marina neighbor for $15,000.

Herbert O'Niell's suit against Stephen Panzeri of Pearland alleges Panzeri failed to properly secure his boat, the Kat Susann, at the Harborwalk Marina in Hitchcock before Ike made landfall on Galveston Island on Sept. 13, 2008.

As the Category 2 storm made its way into the area, the Kat Susann - now known as the Mind Sweeper - broke free from its moorings and drifted into contact with the plaintiff's ship, the Easy Going, according to court papers.

The original complaint was filed Sept. 10 in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas.

O'Niell claims his vessel was properly tied down during the storm, but the starboard side of the Kat Susann struck the Easy Going's bow.

"As a proximate result of the foregoing events, the plaintiff has sustained significant costs and expense associated with the collision," the original petition says.

"Additionally, the Easy Going has been delayed and has sustained physical damage, which required repairs."

Consequently, the suit demands the seizure, condemnation, and sale of the defendant's ship in addition to the specified monetary damages.

O'Niell is representing himself.

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt.

Case No. 3:10-cv-00347

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