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Court: Florida Grandmother Cannot Sue Battleship New Jersey

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – A Florida grandmother injured in a fall aboard the Battleship New Jersey cannot sue its operators for damages, an appellate court has ruled.

The panel said the Home Port Alliance – which runs the ship as a museum and memorial on the Camden waterfront – has charitable immunity as a nonprofit educational facility.

That protects charities from lawsuits when the injured person benefits “to whatever degree” from the nonprofit’s activities.

Patricia Zavilla broke her right knee when she fell on some stairs while touring the ship with her husband and young grandson in April 2008.

Zavilla claimed she was there only as a tourist and wasn’t part of the community that benefits from the group’s charitable work since she lives out of state.

But the court found Zavilla was giving a self-guided tour that “advanced (the Alliance’s) goal” of educating the public about the battleship’s history.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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