The following is a posting I made on the seized boat owners website where he is asking for donations.
I read your posting with interest and of course alarm
and concern for you. I would like to offer some advise for what it is worth.
You not only need a lawyer who is well versed in maritime law but also understands United States probate law.
The impounding of your private belongings, tools etc would fall under wrongful search and "seizure". The seizure of your private belongings is against Federal law and an obvious violation of your constitutional rights. It also looks like the person who sold you the boat did so without legal
authority. Therefore a potential fraud has taken place.
You should be the one threatening dire legal consequences. You of course have every right to sue for the return in full of the money
you paid for the boat along with the money you have invested in the boat. Since it was also a place of business for you you should also sue for loss of business following the seizure.
How good is your lawyer? Did he/she bring these points up with you?
What state probate court is involved?
Counter sue immediately and put a lien on the boat. And commence a civil fraud case against the seller.
Also look at the documents of service
the Federal Agents served on you to see if they are truly valid. It wouldn't be the first time a fault is found in the service
Get a good accountant to calculate and document the value of the additions you have put on the boat and as I said earlier run a running calculation of the loss in dollar terms of your business income
Make your claim immediately so they are on notice that the meter is running and this is going to be very expensive.
Am I right to understand that the seller of the boat to you was an heir and he/she sold it without proper authority to make the sale
? If this is the case I would think that your legal actions should be directed towards that person.
Does the state of the probate court have a statute of limitations on such claims?
These are just some of my initial observations and thoughts.
Good luck and I would suggest that if your lawyer hasn't covered most of what I have raised with you then you should be looking for another lawyer.
Don't let the lawyer drag this out. If he/she isn't counter suing immediately I would be asking why.
This kind of dispute if not handled properly could drag on for years between unscrupulous lawyers who see this as a fee gold mine for themselves. Beware and be as careful with your won lawyers as those of the other side.
Best of luck.