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Nathan Carman seeks new trial in boat insurance claim case

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Nathan Carman departs federal court, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A man whose boat sank off the coast of Rhode Island – resulting in the presumed death of a Connecticut woman – is asking for a new trial in an effort to recoup insurance money for the vessel.

In a court filing Monday, Nathan Carman, of Vermont, asked U.S. District Chief Judge John McConnell for a new trial arguing evidence in the case was “improperly admitted” during testimony over the summer.

In a separate motion, Carman also demanded McConnell rewrite or omit sections of his Nov. 4 decision that ruled National Liability & Fire Insurance Co. was not responsible for the $85,000 policy on the boat. McConnell determined “faulty repairs” Carman made to his boat – the “Chicken Pox” – contributed to the sinking and therefore the insurance company had “reasonable basis” for denying Carman’s insurance claim.

“The evidence shows that Mr. Carman’s transom hole repairs were incomplete, improper, and faulty because he filled the holes with epoxy and did not use fiberglass as an exterior seal,” the ruling read. “It is more likely than not that this improper repair at least indirectly caused water to fill up the bilge, causing the boat to sink.”

In his argument for a new trial, Carman claims McConnell allowed evidence to be submitted that a witness testified had “no personal knowledge of these documents and was not the custodian of the record.”

“The Court overruled Defendant’s objections to these documents without any explanation or basis within the Federal Rules of Evidence,” the motion for a new trial stated.

Carman makes similar claims in seeking McConnell to redact portions of his decision, arguing in the 11-page motion that some of the language used was not supported by evidence in the trial.

Carman was being sued over the $85,000 insurance claim he made on the boat before it sank. Carman and his mother, Linda, disappeared when the vessel went down off the coast of Rhode Island during a fishing trip in 2016. Carman was rescued, but his mother was not and is presumed dead.

Carman’s aunts believe Nathan killed both his mother and his grandfather John Chakalos in hopes of inheriting a portion of Chakalos’ $44 million estate.

At trial, McConnell barred any questions or comments about Linda Carman’s disappearance, limiting the insurance company’s questioning to the boat’s condition.

Tim White (twhite@wpri.com) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook

Nancy Krause contributed to this report

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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