Supreme Court sinks lawsuit over boat sale
The Supreme Court has sunk a lawsuit over the failed sale of a refurbished boat.
Sean DeSilva had offered Adam Gibbons and Ryan Heyrana the “all-inclusive” price of $15,000 to bring in the 1979 20ft Aquasport centre console from Florida, and give it an overhaul.
It was only after the boat arrived on the island and the work was done that the pair discovered it was not insurable because of structural problems.
But the court ordered Mr DeSilva in February to pay the men $39,590 after no defence was served on his behalf.
He took the case back before the courts in August in an effort to have the judgment set aside, but the decision was upheld by Chief Justice Narinder Hargun.
He said in an October 6 ruling: “In my judgment, the defendant has failed to discharge the burden of proof which rests upon him to establish that he has a real prospect of success in establishing his defence.”
The court heard that the trio agreed on the sale in September 2018.
Mr DeSilva told Mr Gibbons and Mr Heyrana in May last year that the refurbishment was complete and the boat was ready for marine trials.
But an inspection by a marine surveyor the men hired revealed a number of problems that compromised the boat’s seaworthiness.
The surveyor found the boat’s bilge was not watertight, the fuel tank filler hose needed to be replaced and the core of the console sole had delaminated, which made it impossible to permanently secure the centre console.
Mr Justice Hargun said: “In simple terms, the plaintiffs contend the marine surveyor found that although the hull was structurally sound, the entire structure of the vessel which sat upon it was not properly attached.
“On the face of it, if the true factual position is that the centre console could not be permanently secured to the hull of the vessel, it would accord with common sense that the vessel would not be seaworthy.”
Mr Gibbons and Mr Heyrana approached Mr DeSilva about the problems, but he said he would not make the repairs unless he was paid another $10,000.
Charles Richardson, who had been set to represent Mr DeSilva in the case, took responsibility for the default judgment that was issued in February.
He explained in an affidavit that the documents had been prepared but, because of the distraction of a complicated murder trial, they were not submitted.
Mr Richardson had argued in the original defence that the boat was “fit and sound” for its intended purpose and the agreement did not specify the boat had to be in an insurable condition.
He added the “all-inclusive” price was subject to the condition that prices may vary.
A draft defence by law firm Wakefield Quin on behalf of Mr DeSilva said the boat is and was seaworthy and that the work recommended by the surveyor were not necessary to make it such.
But Mr Justice Hargun said: “It is not readily apparent why a vessel which is seaworthy should not be a ‘good risk’ for purposes of insurance.
“In any event, no such distinction is asserted in the draft defence settled by Wakefield Quin on behalf of the defendant in August 2020.”
Mr Justice Hargun dismissed the application to overturn the default judgment.