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Lawyers for Nathan Carman push back on information request from boat insurer

Lawyers for Nathan Carman said Tuesday that an insurance company is making inappropriate inquiries about their client’s personal history.

Michael Dwyer/Associated Press/File 2016

Lawyers for Nathan Carman said Tuesday that an insurance company is making inappropriate inquiries about their client’s personal history.

Lawyers for Nathan Carman, the Vermont man at the center of separate probes into the shooting death of his wealthy grandfather and presumed death of his mother, said Tuesday that an insurance company is making inappropriate inquiries about their client’s personal history.

Attorneys for Carman, 23, made the claim in court filings in US District Court in Rhode Island, where the insurer, National Liability and Fire Insurance Co., which issued a policy on Carman’s boat, is asking a federal judge to declare Carman’s claim on the vessel invalid.

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Carman and his mother, Linda Carman, were alone on the boat in September 2016, when it sank about 100 miles offshore after the pair set off from Point Judith, R.I. Linda Carman hasn’t been found.

Lawyers for the insurer and another company that sold the policy said in court papers last month that Nathan Carman made “suspicious structural alterations” to his boat before its “curious sinking.”

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In their filing Tuesday, Carman’s lawyers said the insurer has not alleged he committed “insurance fraud, intentional sinking, or murder.” Therefore, his attorneys wrote, certain requests for information on the part of the insurer are “simply not discoverable.”

Those requests include information about Carman’s gun ownership, as well as his mental health history.

Carman’s “brain works differently than the general population and this difference can affect the way in which he communicates with, and is perceived by, the average person,” his lawyers wrote in Tuesday’s filing. “[Carman] has not raised this difference as a claim or defense in this case and does not ask that this Court treat him any differently than any other litigant. For any other litigant a request for ten years of complete medical records in an insurance coverage case would be immediately recognized for what it is; discovery abuse.”

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Carman visited his grandfather, the multimillionaire developer John Chakalos, shortly before his murder and was the last person to see his mother alive. Chakalos was shot to death in his Connecticut home in December 2013.

Law enforcement officials continue to investigate both deaths. No one has been charged criminally in either case, though police have labeled Nathan Carman a person of interest in the slaying of Chakalos, who left behind a $44 million estate that went to Chakalos’s children, including Linda Carman.

That cash is the subject of another ongoing legal battle.

In a civil suit pending in New Hampshire, attorneys for Chakalos’s three surviving daughters are asking a probate court overseeing his estate to “declare that the murderer was Nathan Carman — John’s grandson, their nephew — and that Nathan committed this heinous act out of malice and greed,” records show.

The suit also alleges that Carman is the prime suspect in his mother’s disappearance.

Lawyers for the boat insurer said in a separate legal filing last month in the Rhode Island case that “Nathan Carman’s boat and navigational electronics sank, never to be found, after his mother was last onboard; his Sig Sauer 716 Patrol .308 semi-automatic assault rifle, the same caliber weapon used to murder his grandfather, went missing afterwards, as did the GPS in Nathan Carman’s motor vehicle.”

Carman has denied killing his grandfather and mother.

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.
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