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State of California certified Maritime Law Specialist 40 Years experience as a Maritime Trial Lawyer Named Consumer Advocate of the Year 2018
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Did you lose a loved one in the Conception Boat Fire Tragedy on Day Weekend in Santa Barbara?

Things you should know:

  • The owners of the Conception Boat have taken legal action to reduce all liability claiming that they owe NOTHING to the families of the deceased; in order to protect your legal rights and pursue a wrongful death claim, it is critical that you consult with and hire an experienced maritime trial lawyer who is a specialist in unseaworthiness and maritime negligence claims

About Dwight Ritter:

  • California State Bar Certified Maritime Law Attorney--Less Than 1% of California Lawyers Certified in Maritime Law
  • Recently resolved a substantial wrongful death maritime case off San Clemente Island
  • Maritime law experience over the past 40 years includes successfully handling cases in San Clemente Island, Mexican Coronado Islands, Island of Maui, Hawaii, and the Island of Guam
  • Twice Named San Diego Trial Lawyer of Year
  • Named Consumer Advocate of the Year in 2018

"I work personally with each client and handle all aspects of each case from A-Z, I am selective and only take on new cases if I believe I can win."
- Dwight Ritter

Why Choose Us?

What Happened?

On September 8, 2019, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the United States Coast Guard had all served warrants at the Santa Barbara headquarters of Truth Aquatics, the dive boat operator that owned the Conception, the 75-foot vessel that burned and sank early September 2 as it was anchored off the coast of Santa Cruz Island. There were 33 passengers and six crew members who were all asleep when a fire broke out on the vessel shortly after 3 a.m.

All 33 passengers and one crew member were killed in the fire, but five other crew members were able to escape with injuries. The Times reported on September 4 that 33 bodies had been recovered and the FBI assisted local divers in the search for the final body.

United States Coast Guard Captain Jason Neubauer confirmed to the LAist that the Conception was not required to have sprinklers installed. Inspector in Charge Adam Tucker verified to the Santa Barbara Independent that because of its age, the Conception was not required to have smoke detectors wired into the electrical system or connected to the bridge.

USA Today reported on September 2 that Coast Guard records showed inspections conducted last February and in August 2018 found no deficiencies and all safety violations from the previous five years were quickly addressed by the boat's owners. CNN reported on September 4 that Truth Aquatics owner and operator Glen Fritzler said the two entrances into the bunking area of the Conception were blocked by fire and there were no locked doors.

Many accidents in the water immediately fall under maritime jurisdiction, and maritime law is a body of law that governs navigation and shipping. Many notable federal maritime laws are explicitly designed for workers at sea, and maritime claims can be extraordinarily complex for injured passengers and the families of deceased passengers.

Help For Families of Maritime Accident Victims

Dwight Ritter is a State of California certified and approved Maritime Law Specialist with more than 40 years of trial experience. He has a record of success that includes more than $85 million in verdicts and settlements for his clients.

Mr. Ritter is a Certified Member of the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He was named Advocate of the Year by the American Board of Trial Advocates in 2010 and the San Diego Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego in both 1997 and 2002.

Mr. Ritter recently resolved a maritime death lawsuit off the coast of San Clemente Island for confidential and substantial compensation.

If you need assistance with a maritime claim relating to the Conception sinking, you should not hesitate to seek the help of Mr. Ritter. He has earned over 120 jury verdicts in the past 35 years.

On September 8, 2019, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the United States Coast Guard had all served warrants at the Santa Barbara headquarters of Truth Aquatics, the dive boat operator that owned the Conception, the 75-foot vessel that burned and sank early September 2 as it was anchored off the coast of Santa Cruz Island. There were 33 passengers and six crew members who were all asleep when a fire broke out on the vessel shortly after 3 a.m.

All 33 passengers and one crew member were killed in the fire, but five other crew members were able to escape with injuries. The Times reported on September 4 that 33 bodies had been recovered and the FBI assisted local divers in the search for the final body.

United States Coast Guard Captain Jason Neubauer confirmed to the LAist that the Conception was not required to have sprinklers installed. Inspector in Charge Adam Tucker verified to the Santa Barbara Independent that because of its age, the Conception was not required to have smoke detectors wired into the electrical system or connected to the bridge.

USA Today reported on September 2 that Coast Guard records showed inspections conducted last February and in August 2018 found no deficiencies and all safety violations from the previous five years were quickly addressed by the boat's owners. CNN reported on September 4 that Truth Aquatics owner and operator Glen Fritzler said the two entrances into the bunking area of the Conception were blocked by fire and there were no locked doors.

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