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September 29, 2011 Press Releases

SAN DIEGO (September 29, 2011) – Attorneys representing the family of victims in a fatal boating accident last spring filed a lawsuit today in San Diego Superior Court seeking damages for the resulting injuries and deaths against Costa Mesa-based MacGregor Yacht Corporation, Heart of Sailing Foundation and sailboat skipper George Saidah.

According to lead attorney David S. Casey Jr. of  CaseyGerry, two people drowned and five were injured after a 26-foot, 1988 MacGregor yacht capsized in San Diego Harbor on March 27, 2010. The vessel was owned and operated by Heart of Sailing Foundation – a non-profit corporation that provides sailing excursions for people with special needs – and set sail for a tour of San Diego Bay with ten passengers on board.  While traveling the calm waters between Shelter and Harbor Islands the boat capsized, with all the passengers – including three children and seven adults – plunging into the 55-degree water.

Rancho Penasquitos residents 48-year old Jun Chen and 73-year old Xinchao Chen – uncle and grandfather of a special needs child on the boat – both drowned.

According to Casey, the manufacturer has stated that this boat was not supposed to carry more than six passengers — yet there are no warnings to that effect. “This boat has very unique handling characteristics because it was designed as both a motorboat and a sailboat,” Casey explained. “Due to its unusual design, it is very different from traditional keeled sailboats and can only accommodate limited weight, but there were no warnings posted on the boat to this effect. Even the boat operator stated that there were no warning signs on the boat regarding its very limited capacity.”

Casey represents two minors who witnessed the deaths of their grandfather and uncle, as well as the injuries to their grandmother Ya Hua Xie, their mother, Ping Olds and aunt Qin Qian Chen. He is also representing Jun Chen’s widow, Jian Chen, and Xianchao Chen’s widow, Yu Hua Xie, and daughters Qin Qian Chen and Ping Olds. Both the minors were injured as well.

Heart of Sailing Foundation serves children and adults with developmental disorders such as autism and Down syndrome. Charity founder and executive director George Saidah was the only experienced sailor aboard the boat.

About Casey Gerry
Celebrating more than 60 years in San Diego, Casey Gerry was established in 1947, and is the oldest plaintiffs’ law firm in San Diego. The firm’s 12 attorneys practice in numerous areas, including asbestos, serious personal injury, product liability and pharmaceutical litigation. Located in the Banker’s Hill neighborhood of San Diego, the firm also has a satellite office in Carlsbad, Calif. For more information, call (619) 238-1811 or visit