Jose Lambiet

Michael Capponi, insurer settle lawsuit over boat crash

Boat crashes against wall in Miami

In this video from March 2015, a boat driven by Michael Capponi crashes into a wall, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife.
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In this video from March 2015, a boat driven by Michael Capponi crashes into a wall, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife.

The lawsuit brought against Miami Beach nightlife impresario Michael Capponi by a UK-based insurer who claimed it shouldn’t have to pay the hundreds of thousands in damages from Capponi’s boat crash last year has been quietly dismissed.

The terms are confidential, but the dismissal papers say Capponi and Great Lakes Reinsurance, who were supposed to head to trial later this year, must bear their respective legal costs. That often indicates there’s no winner in the case.

“Why are you asking me about this,” Capponi said when reached by telephone Wednesday. “I’m in Haiti right now, driving a bunch of supplies to Hurricane Matthew victims up in the mountains. We settled confidentially. That’s it.”

In March 2015, well-known entrepreneur Capponi was at the helm of his 25-foot Cris Craft Corsair motorboat when he fainted, he reported. The boat, seemingly at full throttle, slammed head-on into a seawall by the Miami Beach Coast Guard Station, seriously injuring Capponi and his female rider, Brooke Biederman.

The Coast Guard’s security video caught the crash, and the footage of the harrowing incident went viral.

Within weeks, however, Great Lakes Reinsurance filed suit to get a judge to declare whether it needed to pay for the totaled boat and medical treatment for the riders. The company claimed it shouldn’t because Capponi lied on his insurance application when he claimed no criminal arrest.

Great Lakes figured out Capponi had been arrested on a DUI charge in 2002 and was convicted in 2003. Had it known, the company claimed, it would have charged Capponi a premium much higher than the $3,500 a year he was paying, or it would have refused to insure him on the water for $500,000.

Capponi argued the application asked for his history for just a period of five years, and his arrest came way before he asked for insurance.

Great Lakes also wanted the judge to force Capponi to pay back a $70,000 claim it paid Capponi for a February 2014 grounding of the same boat.

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