Mark Barhanovich’s boat allegedly struck a dredge pipe off Deer Island Mississippi in September 2012. The outboard motor broke off, entered the boat, and killed Mr. Barhanovich. The accident spawned two legal cases, (1) C. F. Bean (dredging) petitioning the court for Jones Act limitation from liability in the accident, and (2) Mr. Barhanovich’s widow suing C.F. Bean and Archer Western. The cases were consolidated. Then Bean and Archer brought a third party complaint against Bob’s Machine Shop (brand name on the jack plate on the boat), Suzuki Motor Corp (Japan) and Suzuki Motor of America.

RSM International is the company behind Bobs Machine Shop jack plates.

NOTE: Bob’s Machine Shop, Suzuki US and Suzuki Japan were brought in as Third Party Complaints by Bean and Archer. They were not sued by the Barhanovich family.

On 4 March 2015, the judge granted summary judgement to RSM International (the company behind Bob’s Machine jack plates).

Bobs Machine jack plates

Bob's Machine Shop jack plates

RSM said there was no evidence of a defect in the jack plate, or of a defect in the jack plate causing or contributing the outboard flipping into the boat. RSM submitted an expert witness report by Gerald O. Davis. Mr. Davis said that to a reasonable degree of engineering probability, there was no defect in the design, materials, or manufacture of the jack plate involved in this incident.

RSM said plaintiff’s support Mr. Davis’ analysis because they submitted no expert evidence or opinion the jack plate was defective.

Based on RSM’s motion for summary judgement, the court granted their motion on Wednesday 4 March 2015. A final judgement in favor of RSM was entered into court records on the same date. The “final judgement was in favor of RSM as to all claims asserted against it by Third Party Plaintiffs C.F. Bean LLC, Bean Meridian, and Archer Western Contractors, LLC.”

Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. (SMAI) was dismissed from the case back on 2 February 2015.

SMAI was dismissed because they did not exist at the time of the accident. In September 2012, in the U.S., Suzuki was operating as American Suzuki Motor Corporation (ASMC). ASMC went bankrupt after the accident and was reformed as SMAI. SMAI was also specifically granted protection from lawsuits against ASMC (from any future lawsuits regarding accidents prior to the bankruptcy) as part of the bankruptcy agreement.

That leaves C.F. Bean, Archer Western as primary defendants, and Suzuki Motor Corporation (Japan) still in the case as a Third Party Complaint.