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Fishing Boat Crew Members Sue Captain In Alleged Mistreatment

April 18, 1995

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A fishing boat captain is being sued for more than $20 million by four crewmembers who claim they were abused during a monthlong trip after a missing candy bar sent him into a rage.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court by four crew members alleges that Captain Bruce Mounier denied them food and water for as long as four days at a time during last summer’s voyage.

It also claims that at one point, he confined them all to a 7-foot-by-7-foot cabin, then slowed the boat’s engines and turned on the heater to prolong their misery.

Mounier, skipper of the 90-foot fishing boat Magic Dragon, denies any wrongdoing.

His attorney, Carlton Russell, said the crew members refused to eat, and added that cabin doors lock from the inside, making it impossible to imprison someone. He also said the crew quit four days into the trip ``endangered everyone on board.″

Scott Truesdell, a Portland, Ore.,-lawyer representing the crew, said Monday that the voyage was like the 1954 Humphrey Bogart classic, ``The Caine Mutiny,″ in which Bogart played a paranoid skipper obsessed with revenge after a crew member steals his strawberries. In this case, he said, it was a missing candy bar.

The crew members are seeking $15 million in punitive damages, $5 million for physical, psychological and emotional injury and $24,840 in wages.

Two crewmembers, Todd Schotanus and Jason Garinger, claim they were choked and that they were handcuffed to a railing while they were clad only in underwear.

Schotanus and Garinger also claim that Mounier would not allow them to use the toilet, and forced them instead to use a bucket.

Three crew members _ Garinger, Amy Roumagoux and Ryan Hallas _ live in Oregon and learned of the jobs through the newspaper. Schotanus lives in the Los Angeles area.

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