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. Photo courtesy of Paul Kalkstein

The Maine Maritime Museum in Bath filed a second complaint in the U.S. District Court in Portland in the hopes of exonerating the museum from future lawsuits connected to the capsizing of the Mary E schooner last summer.

According to court documents filed Wednesday, the request, if accepted, would make the museum “forever exonerated and discharged from any and all liability and any and all claims, losses, destruction, damage or injury arising out of or related to the knock-down of the schooner Mary E.”

The exemption request would not apply to the three passengers who have already sued to the museum. The museum stated “there are no other claims filed against (the Maine Maritime Museum.)”

The new request had not been signed by a judge as of Thursday.

The latest request is similar to a complaint the museum filed a month after the capsize in an attempt to limit its liability. In the complaint, the museum claimed 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.

The museum also stated it “believes claim(s) will be asserted for personal injury, pain and suffering and other damages” that would exceed the Mary E’s post-incident value of $150,000, according to the complaint.


The museum’s complaint set a Nov. 15 deadline for passengers seeing damages to file a lawsuit. Three passengers — Karen Baldwin, Allison Poirier, and Thomas Poirier — filed suits before the deadline.

The three passengers and the museum underwent an out-of-court settlement conference last month. The results of the settlement conference hadn’t been made public as of Thursday, but the court docket shows the parties reached a settlement.

“We are pleased to hear that the litigation has been resolved on mutually satisfactory terms for all parties, the contents of which are confidential,” museum spokesperson Amanda Pleau wrote in a statement Thursday. “We are now awaiting the results of the US Coastguard investigation and looking forward to the Mary E sailing again.”

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.

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 said the Mary E’s crew sailed through inclement weather, and the crew did not avoid or warn passengers of dangerous conditions.

Baldwin’s lawyer, Joseph Orlando Jr., declined to comment on the case’s progress Thursday.

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.

None of the passengers disclosed how much they’re seeking in damages.

Attorney Timothy Schweitzer of Hofmann and Schweitzer, representing the Poiriers did not return requests for comment Thursday.

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