Suit seeks $750,000 for death of tourist in fishing accident

The family of a man killed in a boating accident in Costa Rica have filed suit for damages in U.S. district court in New Jersey.

The family said in its complaint that the court there has jurisdiction because the case stems from a maritime injury.

The complaint also argued that the court has jurisdiction over the Costa Rican defendants because they have been doing business in New Jersey.

The victim is Brian Wolf, who died in the mouth of the Río Colorado in northeast Costa Rica while fishing for tarpon. He lived in New Jersey.

The defendants are the well-known Tico Travel, which is a Florida corporation, and Bob Marriott’s Flyfishing Store, a California company. Also named are three corporations associated with the Casa Mar Lodge in Barra del Colorado.

Wolf died June 7, 2007, when the 25-foot boat he was in overturned in turbulent water at the mouth of the river. His cousin, Kevin Holmes, 25, made it to shore, but the victim’s body was not found until three days later. Also killed were the fishing guide and his son. The guide worked for Casa Mar, and the lodge owned the boat, said the complaint.

The complaint said that the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas warned Casa Mar Lodge and its fishing guides not to go to sea that day because of the choppy ocean. It also said that the Casa Mar boats and its fishing guides were not inspected, certified, registered or licensed

The boat involved, the Don Coto, was not seaworthy, said the complaint.

The complaint also said that the lodge did not provide life jackets and that the guide was drinking alcohol.

The action is being brought by the victim’s parents as administrators of his estate. They are seeking $750,000 in damages.

The suit claims that Tico Travel and Bob Marriott’s knew or should have known of dangerous and unsafe conditions at Casa Mar. In addition to the $750,000 actual damages, the suit asked for at least $150,000 more as punitive damages or punishment.

The case was filed in June, but a copy just became available in Costa Rica.

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