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This is America where we sue for fun and profit. If the rules clearly state that all aboard the boat must have licenses prior to the start of fishing, then that's the rule. All participants must comply or put their participation in jeopardy. If these are the facts, these fishermen should be thrown out of court and forced to pay all court costs and legal fees for the non-profit.
Rules are rules, and there are usually good reasons for them even if they are not immediately apparent.
I love people's thought process these days. Well....I broke a rule....BUT, HEY, it didn't say anywhere in there that breaking a rule meant you got kicked out of the competition. Who raised their kids to think this way? You broke a rule, your team was disqualified, you don't get the money.
On one hand it's sort of a big deal (and liability) to withhold $1M because of an infraction that has almost NOTHING to do with the ability of a person to catch a fish, but on the other hand why on Earth would you take that risk and not get a license? I bet you anything that this tournament next year will have somebody selling licenses on site, but clearly that wasn't an option this year. Regardless, it's a tough spot to be in for the winners, because they DID win this tournament, yet they also gave the Commission an excuse to not award them a lot of prize money. I would HATE to be in this position! Assuming that the rules and regulations were clearly stated from the get-go, I kind of doubt these guys will get paid.
Somehow, the first mate was able to purchase a fishing license while out to sea. So they knew the rules, they just ignored them until it was too late. Too bad, so sad. Play by the rules.
It's a matter of contract, nothing else. 1) If the rules say everyone must have a license, they must. The person did. Contract satisfied... 2) However, IF the contract (rules) say when everyone must have a license - before entering the tournament; before leaving the dock; before catching a fish, or when the fish is caught - contract is violated if they got the license after any of those. Contract void. If not - contract satisfied.. 3) Unless the contract (rules) state specifically that the licenses must be individual fishing licenses for all member on the boat, the boat's blanket license is a license - contract satisfied... It doesn't matter if they intended to get a license, if it was a trivial rule, or if the local judge was so crooked he can only put his hat on his shoe - what counts is what exactly did the contract state was required, and was there a time when it was required... Second potential wrinkle with this fishing - that fish's meat is worth a rather large chunk of money, and similar to the boat getting the meat if you catch a marlin during a charter, the tournament may get the meat. If the tournament rules say the tournament gets the money from the sale of the meat of submitted fish, then if the submitted fish did not meet the rules of the tournament, it was illegally submitted and that money they have from it belongs to the boat - NOT to the tournament... The court will look at the language and sort it out.
lesson learned: read the rules and attend the meetings if you're going to enter into high stakes competition.
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