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Krajcsik v. Ramsey

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 5, 2017

CHERYL KRAJCSIK, et el. Plaintiffs
v.
CECIL RAMSEY, et ux. Defendants

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER RE: SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          MARVIN J. GARBIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The Court has before it the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No. 20] and the materials submitted relating thereto. The Court has held a hearing and had the benefit of the arguments of counsel.

         I. BACKGROUND[1]

         On August 10, 2014, Plaintiffs Cheryl and Robert Krajcsik (“Plaintiffs”)[2] and Defendants Cecil and Sarah Ramsey (“Defendants”) were in their respective boats moored in the Eastern Yacht Club Marina on the Middle River in Essex, Maryland. They intended to take their boats to Strawberry Point and enjoy a day of swimming.

         The Krajcsiks departed the marina basin first in their Sea Ray Sundancer (the “Sundancer”). At some point, they realized that the Defendants had not left the marina and stopped to determine why. Mrs. Krajcsik spoke on the telephone to Mrs. Ramsey and was informed that the Ramsey's 330 Mariner (the “Mariner”) had steering problems[3] and was stopped outside the marina. Mrs. Ramsey said she had called for a towboat to come and tow the Mariner back to the marina. However, after fifteen minutes, Mrs. Krajcsik had not seen any towboat arriving and made a second telephone call to Mrs. Ramsey. Because the parties present different versions of the second call, the Court must assume for present purposes that Plaintiffs' version is the correct one. That is, that Plaintiffs, Mr. and Mrs. Krajcsik, believed that the Defendants' Mariner was drifting “dangerously close to a rock jetty” and considered the Mariner to be in danger. [ECF No. 23] at 2. With Defendants' permission, the Plaintiffs decided to attempt to rescue the Mariner.

         The rescue effort, planned by Plaintiffs, called for Plaintiffs to move their boat, the Sundancer, adjacent to the Mariner, to tie the two vessels together, and to use the Sundancer's power to tow the Mariner away from the rocks and back to the marina.

         Mr. Krajcsik maneuvered the Sundancer next to the Mariner and Mrs. Krajcsik held out a line to Mrs. Ramsey. Mr. Ramsey jumped from the Mariner onto the Sundancer and proceeded to tie the two boats together from the Sundancer's bow to the Mariner's stern. Mr. Krajcsik testified that there were lines on both the front and back of the Plaintiffs' Sundancer going over to the Defendants' Mariner. R. Krajcsik Dep. at 31-32 [ECF No. 23-2]. While Mrs. Krajcsik was standing on the gunwale of the Sundancer, Mr. Krajcsik made an announcement: he “you know informed everybody, you know, hold on. We're pretty much tied up. I'm going to put the vessel in reverse and back us away slowly from the hazard.” Id. at 32.

         At the time of this announcement, Mr. Krajcsik did not suggest that his wife move from her location on the Sundancer's gunwale adjacent to the side of the Defendants' Mariner. Id. at 33. Mr. Krajcsik put the Sundancer in reverse and the boat slowly drifted back. At this time, an unexpected wave, possibly from a passing boat, came through and affected the two boats. The side of the Sundancer dropped, and the Mariner heaved upwards. The gunwale of the Mariner came down over the gunwale of the Sundancer, made contact with Mrs. Krajcsik's leg, and crushed her big toe. Mrs. Krajcsik's toe eventually required amputation.

         In the Amended Complaint [ECF No. 32], the Plaintiffs present their claims in two counts:

Count One: Negligence (Both Plaintiffs)
Count Two: Loss of Consortium (Mr. Krajcsik) By the instant motion, Defendants seek summary judgment in regard to all claims presented. [ECF No. 20].

         II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

         A motion for summary judgment shall be granted if the pleadings and supporting documents show “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).

         The well-established principles pertinent to summary judgment motions can be distilled to a simple statement: The Court may look at the evidence presented in regard to a motion for summary judgment through the non-movant's rose-colored glasses, but must view it realistically. After so doing, the essential question is whether a reasonable fact-finder could return a verdict for the non-movant or whether the movant would, at trial, be entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See, e.g., Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 ...


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