Judge denies motion for new trial in boat sinking case

December 30, 2019 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A man whose boat sank in 2016 resulting in his mother being lost at sea was denied a new trial Monday by a federal judge amid an ongoing dispute with insurance companies over the boat’s seaworthiness.

Insurers said in the suit they shouldn’t have to pay Nathan Carman’s $85,000 claim for the loss of the 31-foot boat named Chicken Pox because he made suspicious repairs to the vessel before leaving Rhode Island in September 2016.

The boat sank, and Carman’s mother, Linda Carman, 54, of Middletown, Connecticut, was lost at sea and is presumed dead.

Nathan Carman, 25, was found floating in a raft eight days after the boat was reported missing.

Carman’s attorney argued during the August trial that the boat was already in poor condition when his client bought it and he wouldn’t deliberately risk harming his mother.

Judge John J. McConnell Jr. ruled in favor of the insurance companies in November and upheld the decision Monday.

“Nothing raised by the defendant supports any amendment to the findings or supports granting a new trial,” he wrote in his decision.

Messages were left Monday with Nathan Carman’s attorney in the case, and the lead attorney for the National Liability and Fire Insurance Co. and the Boat Owners Association of the United States.

Relatives have accused Nathan Carman of killing his mother and his grandfather, John Chakalos, a wealthy real estate developer who was shot in 2013, in a scheme to inherit $7 million that Chakalos had left to Linda Carman. Nathan Carman was named by police as a “person of interest” in the killing of Chakalos, who was shot in the head at his Windsor, Connecticut, home. No criminal charges have been filed.

Nathan Carman’s aunts sued him in New Hampshire where Chakalos had a home, but a judge dismissed the case over jurisdictional issues. On Friday, the aunts withdrew their appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court that accused Nathan Carman of killing his mother and grandfather for inheritance money.

Carman has denied any role in his grandfather’s death, or in his mother’s disappearance.


Kathy McCormack contributed to this report.