Lawyers for a man suspected of killing his millionaire grandfather in 2013 met with a judge Monday in a lawsuit over the sinking of his boat with his mother onboard.
Nathan Carman's boat sank last year during a fishing trip with his mother. He was rescued after a week on a life raft, but his mother was never found and is now presumed dead. Since then, Carman has been at the center of a number of legal matters. He has denied any involvement in his grandfather's killing and has said he didn't sabotage the boat.
Carman's insurance company is refusing to pay an $85,000 claim for the boat, saying that Carman made "incomplete, improper, and faulty repairs" to the vessel the day before it sank and that he knew it was "unseaworthy."
Lawyers for Carman and his insurer met Monday behind closed doors with a federal magistrate judge in Rhode Island to discuss the case. Carman, who lives in Vernon, Vermont, was not seen at the courthouse, and both sides declined to comment after the hearing.
A court filing later Monday showed the judge issued a pretrial order that sets deadlines for discovery and other pretrial matters for Carman and his insurer.
David Farrell, a lawyer for the insurer, the National Liability & Fire Insurance Co. and Boat Owners Association of the United States, told the court in a filing last week that he anticipated that Carman's "criminal wrongdoing" and "illegality" will bar his insurance claim.
Farrell wrote that Carman's actions regarding his mother's death and his grandfather's homicide, "potentially similarly motivated by" Carman's possible multimillion-dollar inheritance, are all within the scope of what the insurer might explore as it assembles evidence in the case. He proposed deposing Carman by video in the federal courthouse.
In email correspondence attached to the filing, Carman's lawyer, David Anderson, said he objected to that plan, telling Farrell, "I told you that just because he had Asperger's and the tabloid press has had a field day with him, I was not going to agree to have him be treated any difference (sic) than any other litigant."
Lawyers for both sides agreed in the email exchange not to release any video deposition publicly.
Carman and his mother, Linda Carman, 54, of Middletown, Connecticut, left a marina in South Kingstown, Rhode Island, on Sept. 17 on a fishing trip. He was found alone in a life raft eight days later about 100 nautical miles (185 kilometers) south of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.
Police in Connecticut have described Nathan Carman as a person of interest in the 2013 unsolved slaying of his 87-year-old grandfather, John Chakalos. In April, a judge denied a request from Carman to seal from public view a warrant that revealed police at one time considered Carman a suspect in the crime. Carman was never charged.
His family filed a lawsuit in New Hampshire last month accusing Carman of killing his grandfather and possibly his mother to collect an inheritance now valued at around $7 million.