Gay, Jackson & McNally Settles Big Rock Fishing Dispute

citationThe attorneys at Gay, Jackson & McNally were pleased in the final outcome of one of their more public cases that concluded recently. Mr. Gay and Mr. Jackson were counsel for the plaintiffs in case of Michael Topp, Duncan Thomasson, Martin Kooyman, and Black Pearl Enterprises, LLC, Plaintiffs, v. Big Rock Foundation, Inc., Crystal Coast Tournament, Inc., and Carnivore Charters, LLC. The case arose from the 2010 Big Rock Fishing Tournament held in Morehead, NC. The plaintiffs were the owners of a fishing charter boat named the Citation that landed a record breaking 883 lb. blue marlin during the tournament. Several days later, the catch was disqualified by the tournament organizers saying that a 22 year old first mate from Virginia lacked the required NC fishing license when the record breaking catch was hauled in. To further complicate matters, the mate purchased the license while still 2 hours out to sea while heading back to the landing. The plaintiffs were seeking recovery of the $910,000 prize to which they felt entitled for landing the largest fish.

After extensive discovery, but prior to trial, a lower court judge ruled against the plaintiffs and entered Summary Judgment for the defendants. Mr. Gay and Mr. Jackson appealed the judge’s decision to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, where they lost a close 2 to 1 decision. Undetermined, the plaintiffs and their pair of attorneys appealed the case to the North Carolina Supreme Court. Both Mr. Jackson and Mr. Gay argued the case before the seven justices. After just a little over three weeks after the argument, the North Carolina Supreme Court sided with the plaintiffs and ordered that a trial be held in the matter. (Click here to read more by way of an editorial approving of the Court’s decision).

A few months after the North Carolina Supreme Court’s decision, all the parties and all attorneys were able to mediate the case. Robert Beason of Beason & Ellis Conflict Resolution served as the mediator. The parties were able to arrive at a settlement satisfactory to all involved.