A three-year-old property damage suit filed against boat owners Layne and Leslee Gibson, as well as a third party action against a marina operator, has settled.

Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth on Nov. 19 entered an order dismissing with prejudice a suit originally filed in 2011 by the City of Alton which blamed the Gibsons for an Alton Marina fire in January 2009.

The City claimed the Gibsons failed to properly maintain their boat to prevent corrosion from forming on its wiring, and that the bad wiring started the fire.

A year after being sued, the Gibsons filed a third party complaint against Parrot Pointe Marine, which operates the marina for the city. The Gibsons claimed the fire damage was Parrot Pointe’s fault because it failed to adequately monitor a shore power pedestal and connections to the boats housed at the marina slips.

The Gibsons were represented by Daniel Bradley of DeFranco and Bradley in Fairview Heights.

Parrot Pointe, represented by Jane Unsell of Wood River, also blamed the Gibsons, saying they failed to properly store electrical items on their boat and follow marina rules and regulations, among other things.

In response, the Gibsons argued that none of the experts that investigated the fire scene concluded that they caused the fire.

The City of Alton, represented by James McTighe of Orland Park, further responded by saying that every witness that examined the fire scene concluded that the fire began because of a "poor connection on the Gibson Boat at the boat connection point where the Gibson’s shore power cord plugs into their boat."

Ruth's order stated that each party was to bear its own costs.

Madison County case number 11-L-351.



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