Charter fisherman sues former partners over fraudulent agreement

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Jan 16, 2012

GALVESTON - A Harris County man claims he entered a fraudulent joint business venture and has filed suit in an effort to recoup monetary expenses and damages, recent court documents say.

Sean Stowell filed suit against Joseph W. Blandford, Fish & Divers LLC and Blandford Family Partnership Ltd. on Dec. 30 in Galveston County District Court.

The suit states the parties entered into a general partnership agreement in 2007 to conduct commercial fishing operations and charter fishing trips out of Galveston.

Stowell, a licensed Merchant Marine officer, was to provide labor and conduct the commercial fishing operations and charter boat fishing trips in exchange for an annual salary of $50,000 and health insurance.

Blandford then proceeded to form and incorporate Fish & Divers in July 2007, designating himself as president, manager and sole member.

The agreement was drafted and initiated the next month with a revision made in January 2008 which required Stowell's fishing quotas to be returned intact and renewed upon dissolution of the joint venture.

Stowell explains he sold his personal snapper quotas he had accumulated through years of running fishing charters -- totaling $63,080 -- to the defendants for use as operating cash, but was not repaid the amount.

He adds he did not receive reimbursement for the insurance premiums he paid on Fish & Diver's trucks and bay boats, ultimately learning that the respondents did not execute the agreement at all.

The suit further asserts the defendants refused to handle Stowell's medical expenses as a result of "severe, permanent and debilitating" back injuries the complainant sustained from a fall while working on one of their vessels in October 2010.

A jury trial is requested.

Stowell is represented by R.G. Taylor II and Associates.

The case has been assigned to Galveston County 212th District Court Judge Susan Criss.

Case No. 11-cv-2073

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