Court rules for CBJ in wrongful death suit

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Alaska Supreme court upheld a ruling in favor of the City and Borough of Juneau in a case filed by Sunny Haight, the personal representative of the estate of Savannah Cayce.

    Cayce died in a watercraft accident on Auke Lake in June of 2012.  She and a friend were riding in an inflatable raft pulled by a motorized watercraft on the lake.  The operator Robert Herring, later stated he was traveling at about 40 to 45 miles per hour.

    Herring turned his watercraft causing the inflatable raft to swing into the path of another watercraft operated by Shawn Miller.

    The minors mother sued and claimed the CBJ failed to take measures to ensure safe operation of motorized watercraft on the lake.  She also sued the two operators in a wrongful death claim.

    She claims the CBJ failed to reduce safety hazards created by motorized watercraft.

    The CBJ passed an ordinance in 2007 to govern motorized watercraft use on the lake, restricting areas and hours of operation, size and wake height.  They did not impose speed limits, horsepower limits or traffic patterns.

    The court ruled in favor of the city because they enjoy discretionary function immunity which bars claims for damages against municipalities for acts and omissions that fall within discretionary governmental functions.


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