FIRST ON WITN: Lawsuits Filed In Big Rock Disqualification

Just who won this year's Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament appears to be heading to a courtroom.

Both the tournament and this year's disqualified winner have filed legal action in two different counties.

The tournament wants a superior court judge to confirm their disqualification of "Citation" as this year's winner. Crystal Coast Tournament, Inc. filed legal action in Carteret County Superior Court asking for a declaratory judgment to confirm their naming "Carnivore" as the winner.

"Citation" was disqualified after it was learned a crewmember on the boat did not have a state fishing license. At stake was nearly $1 million in prize money.

The tournament says their lawsuit was necessary because the owners of "Citation" filed suit in Dare County. In that suit the owners seek to have the tournament declare "Citation" as the winner.

No date has been set for a hearing on the court motions.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Sam Location: Kitty Hawk on Jul 26, 2010 at 01:53 PM
    I'm beginning to beleive that they will have their appeal tossed out.
  • by Ken Bicknell on Jul 10, 2010 at 04:19 AM
    It doesn't matter if he broke NCWRC rules,that is immaterial. He broke the rules of the Big Rock tournament and deserved to be DQ'd. The lottery and speeding ticket analogy is off base. If a cub scout adds weight to his car,he hasn't broken any laws,but he has broken the rules of the Pinewood Derby and deserves to be DQ"D The mate and subsequently, the boat was in violation. DQ! Do not pass go,do not collect a milllion $$. Case closed
  • by Curious Location: ENC on Jul 9, 2010 at 09:04 AM
    Why would you even consider a lawsuit when you failed to comply with the rules?
  • by bob Location: ENC on Jul 9, 2010 at 09:00 AM
    I am all for the beer and discussion. Let me know when and where and I will try my best to be there. The fish was caught illegally and it is in the BR rules that all fish must be legal or the boat is DQ'd. Yes the speed limit signs are there and the HP commonly gives us a break, BUT can you argue that you weren't speeding if he does pull you for 64/55. And the analogy about the lottery ticket is bogus. If the lotto ticket had turned in by a certain time and you were late because you got pulled for speeding is a more appropriate analogy. If that were to happen I still say you are s.o.l. You should have left 10 min sooner so you wouldn't have to speed, just like the mate should have spent the $15 before the tournament so he and the crew wouldn't have to go through this.
  • by Dave on Jul 9, 2010 at 07:31 AM
    Justice, the defining differance here is that the lottery does not make you sign a from stating that you must be within all state and federal laws or you may be disqualified. This was blatent disregard for the rules, more like running 85 in a 55 than 64 in a 55. Regardless of being turned in he wouldn't have passed the polygraph anyway. Likewise if they get a break EVERYONE that gets cited with a rule violation will want a break. Next years winner will be a 98 inch fish that weighs 300lbs because they forgot that it had to be 110 inches and 400 pounds and tehy just need a break. Your mentality will destroy the credability of the tounament and it's rules.
  • by Justice on Jul 9, 2010 at 05:18 AM
    We see signs everyday posting the speed limits, yet we speed, HP sees it, and gives us about 10mph, now its common. We get tickets for headlights out, taillights, we get them dismissed by having it fixed, its common. We hope the check engine light doesn't come back on before we get it inspected, afterward, who cares, we got another year before we worry about it again. If you get a speeding ticket on the way to cash your big lottery ticket, should it be disqualified? There wasnt any other action short of DQ which would have sufficed? He didn't get caught without the license by NCMF before he got one, before the fish was scored and believed to be the leader. Whoever turned him in should be ashamed and just let this man have a break, think about that when you are out driving 64 in a 55. And no, he wasnt fishing drunk either. I hope theres enough common sense and loopholes to reverse this ruling by the judge/jury.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 8, 2010 at 07:46 PM
    The problem is, the mate is not innocent. There is not an argument or even a question of the matter. They were in posession of the fish in regulated waters before he was in posession of a valid fishing license issued by the regulating government. Therefore they were not in compliance with federal or state regulations, therefore they were not in compliance with the rules. The board made thier decision, the waiver you sign before fishing the tournament states that you understand that all decisions made by the board are final. The owner, captain, angler, whoever is suing is simply wasting their time and money, as well as the time and money of the tournament board of directors. He accuired the license after 5pm, the fish was landed in the EEZ (regulated waters) before 4pm. End of story. I am all for a beer at the dockhouse and a good debate though...Now I just need to find myself in BFT.
  • by Pirate Life Location: ENC on Jul 8, 2010 at 06:18 PM
    Bob, question: if the mate takes the license and ticket to court, and the judge acquits him of the charges, would you declare the Citation the winner? If no law was broken than no rule was broken. Right? Good discussion and good comment Dave, but I pose the same question to you. If the mate is deemed innocent, does Citation loose? I think they should determine if he is guilty first, in a court. If he is, then I stand corrected. If he is proven innocent, Citation gets the money and the record. Just my thoughts and ideas. Hey, no matter what the verdict is, everyone in the discussion needs to meet at the Dockhouse in BFT to have a few beers and discuss. It would be fun. Give me a time and I will be there. First round is on me. Justice, I need you to be there in case Citation is disqualified to have someone on my side. Haha.
  • by CarolinaBlonde on Jul 8, 2010 at 06:59 AM
    Isn't the captain ultimately responsible to ensure that all crew members are licensed to fish? I watched as a wildlife officer ticketed a boat where 3 of the four had license. The one gentlemen received a ticket. All fish were confiscated (not just the one unlicensed person caught). If this is the case, why wouldn't the fish be confiscated...ergo...no fish...no winning!
  • by Dave on Jul 8, 2010 at 05:04 AM
    "Further, all fish must adhere to State and Federal regulations to qualify for prizes in this tournament." "Any boat breaching any of the above Tournament Rules may be disqualified, except as previously stated. Decisions of the Rules Committee and Board of Directors are final." As far as the NCDMF is concerned once you leave the dock with fishing gear you are fishing illeagaly, and already having the fish in posession when the license is purchased is no better than driving to court to contest your driving with a revoked license charges. Furthermore, the fish being landed within the EEZ does not make it exempt from regulation, all fishermen within the EEZ are required by federal law to be licensed properly in the state which they intend to return to dock in, as well as follow all regulations both state and federal. Therefore this is indeed an illegal fish, no matter how bad some of you want to incorrectly explain it away.
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