The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court in this boat-accident case, determined that the town was not entitled to summary judgment. Four boat passengers were killed and others were injured. The complaints alleged the town was negligent in the placement of buoys:
Maritime law, which is applicable in this case, recognizes a general theory of liability for negligence… . “[N]egligent conduct on the navigable waters that causes loss to another constitutes a maritime tort”… . Once the Town set a channel through the use of navigational aids, it had a duty to maintain those navigational aids in a reasonable and prudent manner … .
Upon applying maritime law, we conclude that the Town failed to establish its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. Although the Town submitted evidence suggesting that the accident may have been at least partly caused by negligence on the part of the boat’s operator, the Town failed to meet its prima facie burden of demonstrating the lack of any triable issues of fact regarding the Town’s comparative fault based on its placement and maintenance of the buoys … . Sugamele v Town of Hempstead, 2019 NY Slip Op 01118, Second Dept 2-13-19