The Mary E, a schooner built in Bath in 1906, lays on its side as crews work to stabilize the vessel and get all the passengers off safely after it capsized on July 30, 2021. Photo courtesy of Paul Kalkstein

The three people who sued the Maine Maritime Museum over the capsizing of the Mary E schooner last summer will enter an out-of-court settlement conference next week.

According to Joseph M. Orlando, who represents passenger Karen Baldwin, the judge referred the case to a settlement program in which all parties in a case come together for negotiation, usually saving time and money.

Judge John Nivison wrote the parties are “fully authorized to accomplish settlement of the case” and “engage in effective settlement negotiations,” according to court documents dated Jan. 19.

The settlement conference is scheduled for Feb. 9.

The museum issued a statement Tuesday saying it doesn’t “know at this time what will happen during that conference.”

“We look forward to seeing the results,” the museum’s statement reads. “The health and safety of our guests, volunteers and employees are always of primary concern at the museum.”


On July 30, 2021, the Mary E capsized while on a cruise with 15 passengers and three crew members on board. The 73-foot schooner, built in 1906, capsized around 5:30 p.m. near Doubling Point Lighthouse in Arrowsic, according to Bath Chief of Police Andrew Booth.

All passengers were rescued by Bath Iron Works security, boat towing service Sea Tow and Bath Police. Two people were taken to Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, Coast Guard Lt. James McDonough said following the incident.

The following month, the museum filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Portland in an effort to limit any potential liability in connection to the incident.

The museum claims it is not responsible for any “loss, damage, injury and destruction” sustained during the capsize because it “used due diligence to make the subject vessel seaworthy and safe” before and during the July 30 cruise, according to court documents. The museum maintains the vessel was “properly equipped and supplied, and in all respects seaworthy and fit for the services for which she was engaged,” according to the complaint.

In the filing, the museum states the historic schooner tipped sideways to the point where its masts were at or below the water.

The Coast Guard did not return requests for comment Tuesday regarding whether the investigation into what caused the capsize is complete.


The museum also stated any lawsuits seeking compensation for “personal injury, pain and suffering and other damages” would exceed the Mary E’s $150,000 value, according to the complaint.

The museum’s complaint set a Nov. 15 deadline for passengers seeing damages to file a lawsuit. Three passengers filed suits before the deadline.

Baldwin was the first to sue the museum in October 2020. She alleges the museum was “grossly negligent in its reckless disregard for the safety of its passengers” because the schooner wasn’t seaworthy and was steered by untrained staff who failed to conduct safety procedures, according to court documents.

Baldwin also claims passengers were not required to wear them during the cruise. She said the Mary E’s crew sailed through inclement weather, and the crew did not avoid or warn passengers of dangerous conditions.

In October, Orlando said she was taken to the hospital because she sustained a “severe head injury” that she’s still receiving treatment for. Orlando declined to specify what Baldwin is seeking for compensation in October but said it will “likely be more than the (museum’s) insurance policy has available.”

The following month, two more passengers – Allison and Thomas Poirier – filed lawsuits against the museum.


Like Baldwin, the Poiriers allege the Mary E was “unfit for its intended voyage, in ill repair, unsafe and unseaworthy, in poor maintenance, and was at a foreseeable risk of capsizing and sinking,” according to separate court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Portland on Nov. 12.

Allison Poirier claims to have “sustained severe injuries including, but not limited to a left foot fracture and psychological injuries,” during the capsize.

Both Allison and Thomas Poirier allegedly experienced “pain, anxiety, shock, and physical, mental and emotional suffering, and continues to do so to date” because of the incident, their court documents read.

According to the court documents, both passengers are seeking damages for “conscious pain and suffering,” emotional and psychological stress, medical bills and “other pecuniary [financial] losses as discovery may reveal.”

Attorney Timothy Schweitzer of Hofmann and Schweitzer, representing the Poiriers did not return requests for comment Tuesday regarding what the Poiriers are seeking in damages.

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