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Judge rules against Nathan Carman in insurance trial

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Two months to the day since the Nathan Carman civil trial wrapped up at U.S. District Court, the federal judge in the case ruled against the Vermont man.

Nathan Carman, 24, was being sued over an $85,000 insurance claim he made on a boat before it sank. Carman and his mother, Linda, disappeared when their boat went down off the coast of Rhode Island during a fishing trip in 2016. Carman was rescued. His mother was not and is presumed dead.

U.S. District Court Judge John McConnell determined “faulty repairs” Carman made to his boat – the “Chicken Pox” – contributed to the sinking and therefore National Liability and Fire Insurance Company had “reasonable basis” for denying Carman’s insurance claim.

“The evidence shows that Mr. Carman’s transom hole repairs were incomplete, improper, and faulty because he filled the holes with epoxy and did not use fiberglass as an exterior seal,” the ruling read. “It is more likely than not that this improper repair at least indirectly caused water to full up the bilge, causing the boat to sink.”

The ruling also stated that the removal of the boat’s bulkheads “made the boat less seaworthy” and cited expert marine surveyor Jonathan Klopman who during trial “opined there was no sound or practical reason” for Carman to do so.

Carman’s aunts — Linda’s sisters — believe Nathan killed both his mother and his grandfather John Chakalos in hopes of inheriting a portion of Chakalos’ $44 million estate.

During the trial, the judge barred any questions or comments about Linda Carman’s disappearance, limiting the insurance company’s questioning to the boat’s condition.

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