Lawyers for the owners of a dive boat that burned off the coast of Santa Barbara last year filed court papers Thursday in Los Angeles, in which they argue that claims brought by the daughter of one of the 34 people killed in the Labor Day inferno should be rejected for lack of proof.

Christina Quitasol, representing her late father Michael’s estate, alleged in documents filed in Los Angeles federal court in April that the fire was likely caused by a heavily used battery-charging station, and was foreseeable and preventable in part due to the owners’ failure to have a required overnight watch person on duty when the flames broke out in the middle of the night last Sept. 2.

The document was filed as a counterclaim to a complaint lodged preemptively by the Santa Barbara-based owners of the Conception to protect them from liability. The daughter is seeking unspecified damages.

Michael Quitasol, 62, Fernisa Sison, 57, and Michael’s daughters Angela, 28, Evan, 37 and Nicole 31, were all on the dive boat celebrating his birthday when it caught fire. The counterclaim does not mention any family members other than the father.

In a response to the 34-year-old surviving daughter’s claims, attorneys for Truth Aquatics, and Conception owners Glen and Dana Fritzler, contend that her set of allegations “fails to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause, or causes, of action.”

They ask that a federal judge permanently dismiss the counterclaim and that a judgment be entered for the boat owners.

According to Christina Quitasol, her family members — all from Stockton — died because the vessel’s owners “failed to exercise even scant care” to equip the Conception with a suitable fire-detection system or fire-fighting equipment.

Additionally, the dive boat’s below-decks passenger accommodations lacked emergency exits, while the owners “failed to post a roving watch aboard the Conception on the morning of the accident,” her counterclaim alleges.

Attorneys for the ship owners deny the allegations, and maintain that Michael Quitasol “knew or should have known of the risks and hazards inherent in being a passenger” and “knowingly and willingly assumed those risks.”

Previous filings by victims’ families allege that the 75-foot, 41-year-old Conception was in blatant violation of numerous Coast Guard regulations, including failing to maintain an overnight “roving” safety watch and failure to provide a safe means for storing and charging lithium-ion batteries.

The early morning fire is the subject of a criminal investigation by the FBI, Coast Guard and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in addition to the National Transportation Safety Board and the Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation.

Only five people, all crew members, were able to escape the inferno.

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