Insurance companies claim Carman boat sinking was no accident

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A civil case involving the sinking of Nathan Carman’s fishing boat is inching closer to trial, after attorneys for both Carman and the insurance companies denying his insurance claim met with a judge on Monday.

Nathan Carman was on board his fishing boat the “Chicken Pox” with his mother Linda when it sank during a fishing trip off the coast of Rhode Island last year. Carman was found seven days later, floating on an inflatable life raft. His mother was never found and is presumed dead.

Carman filed an $85,000 insurance claim after the boat sank, which two insurance companies are now disputing in federal court.

The attorneys for National Liability & Fire Insurance Company and Boat Owners Association of the United States met with Carman’s attorneys behind closed doors in the chambers of U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia Sullivan.

Both sides declined to comment on the case after the conference.

According to a court filing by the two insurance companies, the sinking of the Chicken Pox was not “accidental,” pointing out that Carman made alterations to the boat shortly before the tragic fishing trip.

“Several hours before departing from Ram Point Marina he removed the boat’s trim tabs and thereby opened four half-dollar-sized holes in the hull near the waterline and did not fill them in a satisfactory fashion,” the document claims.

Nathan and Linda Carman

The lawyers for the insurance companies also want to include the deaths of Carman’s mother and grandfather, both separately under investigation, as part of the discovery in this civil case.

The attorneys write in the court filing that possible “criminal wrongdoing” by Carman would bar his insurance claim, adding “his actions/inactions regarding his mother’s death are within the scope of discovery as ‘relevant’ to the is his grandfather’s unsolved homicide, potentially similarly motivated by Nathan Carman’s possible $11 million inheritance.”

The murder of Carman’s grandfather John Chakalos remains unsolved. Police said Carman was considered a person of interest in the 2013 Connecticut homicide, but no charges have ever been filed.

Carman’s attorney David Anderson argues Chakalos’ murder should not be part of the discovery in the civil case, according to an email filed as part of the court case.

“You have not alleged that Nathan intended to sink the vessel and/or kill his mother or that he killed his grandfather several years ago,” Anderson writes to Dave Farrell, an attorney for the plaintiffs.

The “tabloid press has a field day” with Nathan Carman, Anderson adds, while expressing his opposition to a request to depose Carman in the federal courthouse in Providence.

Anderson also requests from the plaintiffs a copy of the outtakes from an episode of ABC’s 20/20, which conducted an interview with Carman.

Carman has denied any involvement in his grandfather’s death and has said he didn’t sabotage the boat used for the mother-son fishing trip, although he admitted in another court document to removing the trim tabs and filling the holes with an adhesive.

Separately, Nathan Carman’s aunts have file suit in New Hampshire, asking a judge to block Carman from collecting on his inheritance from his grandfather.