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Archive for Barhanovich

Back in 2012 Mark Barhanovich of Biloxi, Mississippi was going out fishing in his boat with a friend just off Biloxi. The Suzuki outboard motor struck a dredge pipe, broke off, flipped into the boat, and killed Mr. Barhanovich, at least partially with the propeller.

Mark Barhanovich's center console fishing boat. Photo from Edward Fritsch expert witness report

Mark Barhanovich’s center console fishing boat.
Photo from Edward Fritsch expert witness report

Mark Barhanovich

Mark Barhanovich

Bean, the dredging firm, previously settled with the Barhanovich family.

Bean brought Suzuki of Japan into the suit in an effort to recapture some of any potential losses. Suzuki moved for summary judgement in U.S. District Court of Southern Mississippi and the case was dismissed.

We covered the Barahanovich accident and case in several previous posts.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit heard the Barhanovich case in September 2016.

On 4 November 2016, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals filed its opinion. As is sometimes the case, the U.S. Court of Appeals affirms in part (agree with the lower court on some things), and reverses and remand in part (disagree with some of the lower court’s findings and remand the case back to them). Read More→

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Mark Barhanovich

Mark Barhanovich

On September 16, 2012 Mark Barhanovich’s boat struck a dredge pipe off Deer Island, Mississippi, his 225 horsepower Suzuki outboard motor broke off, flipped into the boat, and he was killed by the propeller.

As to what led up to the appeal, see our post titled, Barhanovich case: Suzuki released, Bean appeals

The Expert Reports

A little more information on the expert report in question and its timing is below.

Bean’s expert, Edward Fritsch of ATA Associates, prepared an expert report dated 19 October 2014. At the end of the report, he lists a total of 3 opinions. They were basically, (1) But for failure of the Suzuki outboard swivel bracket, the engine would not have entered the boat and struck Mr. Barhanovich. (2) The extent of fracture of the swivel bracket on the Barhanovich boat is much greater than that of similar brackets failed in the lab and requires evaluation of the properties of the specific bracket on the Barhanovich boat. (3) If Mr. Barhanovich knew a dredge pipe was in the area, he should have been going less than 28 mph.

Suzuki DF225 outboard

Suzuki DF225 outboard

Per Bean, Suzuki did not provide full responses to their discovery til 6 April 2015.

Edward Fritsch, Bean’s expert, filed a supplement (update) to his report on 30 July 2015 said to be based on additional things learned from Suzuki’s disclosure. In this report Mr. Fritsch lists a total of 10 opinions, all of which target Suzuki.

Suzuki basically claimed the first expert report was not relevant because it did not make direct claims against Suzuki.

Suzuki claimed the second report introduced ideas and opinions not in the first report. Per Bean supplemental reports were only to expand on ideas previously discussed, not to introduce new opinions.

Suzuki was thus able to get both reports and Mr. Fritsch’s testimony (deposition) tossed from the case on 16 September 2016, just two weeks before the scheduled trial.

That left Bean holding an empty bag when Suzuki moved for summary judgement.

The judge granted summary judgement to Suzuki and Bean appealed. Read More→

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Mark Barhanovich

Mark Barhanovich

The fatal propeller accident in which Mark Barhanovich’s boat allegedly struck a dredge pipe and the Suzuki outboard motor broke off, flipped into the boat and struck him with the propeller has resulted in perhaps the most complicated propeller accident case ever with no end in sight.

Mr. Barhanovich was a cherished, well known citizen of Biloxi Mississippi with a young family when the accident occurred off Deer Island Mississippi in September 2012.

Recently Suzuki was released from the case, but Bean quickly appealed and the case is now in the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Read More→

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Mark Barhanovich was killed 16 September 2012 when his 23 foot center console fishing boat struck a dredge pipe off Deer Island, Mississippi. The 225 horsepower Suzuki outboard motor broke off and flipped up into the boat, fatally striking him with its still rotating propeller.

Deer Island Barge Position

Position of the Deer Island, Mississippi barge associated with the dredging operation per USCG 2012 Week 37 Local Notice to Mariners dated September 12, 2012. Deer Island is the long thin island to the south west of the barge (red balloon).

Mr. Barhanovich’s family settled a civil suit against the dredging operation, C.F. Bean, LLC and other parties.

The United States Attorney’s Office filed criminal charges against Bean on Friday 16 October 2015 for not properly marking the dredge pipe.

Case Citation: United States of America v. C.F. Bean LLC. Criminal No: 1:15cr71HSO-RHW. United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi Southern Division.

Bean pleaded guilty in Federal Court on Tuesday 27 October 2015 to improperly marking its dredging operations near Deer Island. Read More→

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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.


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Mark Barhanovich was boating past Deer Island Mississippi in September 2012. His outboard motor stuck something (allegedly a dredge pipe), flipped up into the boat, struck and killed him.

Suzuki DF225 outboard

Suzuki DF225 outboard

In February 2014, Bean and Archer (dredging contractors) responsible for the dredge pipe allegedly struck by Mark Barhanovich proposed bringing Suzuki (maker of the outboard) and Bob’s Machine Shop (maker of the jack plate) into the legal case surrounding his death. Mrs. Barhanovich responded to the court in early March 2014 stating she is opposes bringing Suzuki and Bob’s Machine Shop in. Her reasons included the challenges of legal proceedings against Japanese firms, the bankruptcy of American Suzuki Motor Corporation (now emerged as Suzuki Motor of America), and that Bean & Archer’s motion to include Suzuki and Bob’s Machine shop failed to comply with local rules (did not include a brief citing previous cases or authorities backing up their proposal).

On 20 March 2014, Bean and Archer responded to Mrs. Barhanovich’s objections. As would be expected, Bean and Archer still want to bring Suzuki and Bob’s Machine Shop in to share any possible blame or to lay it all on them. Read More→

2 Categories : Legal Shorts

Suzuki DF225 outboard

Suzuki DF225 outboard

On 3 February 2014, C.F. Bean, Bean Meridian, and Archer Western Contractors filed a Third Party Complaint in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Mississippi, Southern Division. The complain called for adding Suzuki (USA), Suzuki (Japan), and Bob’s Machine Shop (jack plate manufacturer) as defendants in the case regarding the death of Mark Barhanovich. Mr. Barhanovich is thought to have struck a dredge pipe off Deer Island Mississippi in September 2012. His outboard motor flipped into the boat, where it struck and killed him.

Bean and Archer basically want to blame everything on Suzuki (in the U.S. and in Japan), and on Bob’s Machine Shop.

On 6 March 2014, Jerrie Barhanovich, widow of Mark Barhanovich, filed a brief stating her opposition to Bean and Archer’s request to bring Suzuki and Bob’s Machine Shop in as defendants.

She says Bean and Archer’s request should be denied on 2 counts:

  • The motion does not comply with local rules
  • The proposed third party complaint is futile, will delay the trial, and will prejudice her side of the case.

Read More→

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Suzuki DF225 outboard

Suzuki DF225 outboard

C.F. Bean Limitation of Liability Case has taken a twist.

The case originated with C.F. Bean and Bean Meridian filing a Jones Act suit in Mississippi Southern District Court. Bean was attempting to limit any potential liability in the death of Mark Barhanovich to the value of their barge and its contents. Mr. Barhanovich of Biloxi Mississippi was killed on 16 September 2012 when the outboard motor on his center console boat allegedly struck a dredge pipe operated by Bean and Archer off Deer Island Mississippi, the outboard motor flipped into the boat, and fatally struck him.

A few days after Bean filed the Jones Act suit, Mr. Barhanovich’s widow, Jerri P. Barhanovich filed against Bean and Archer Western Contractors in the same court. The two cases have since been rolled together under the original Jones Act suit.

On 3 February 2014, Bean and Archer filed a Third Party Complaint wanting to bring Suzuki Motor Corporation (manufacturer of the outboard motor) and Bob’s Machine Shop (manufacturer of the jack plate used between the outboard motor and the boat). Read More→

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C.F. Bean, operator of the dredging operation allegedly struck by Mark Barhnovich’s boat in his December 2012 fatality near Deer Island, Mississippi previously filed a Praying for Exoneration From or Limitation of Liability case in this matter. We covered Bean’s filing at Jones Act Suit by C.F. Bean.

We also covered the filing by Mark Barhanovich’s widow in the same U.S. District Court for Southern Mississippi at Barhanovich v. Bean & Archer.

Now, both sides are beginning to respond to each other.

On 3 May 2013, Archer Western (the overall contractor) filed in response to Bean’s Claim for Exoneration or Limitation of Liability. In their 5 page filing Archer basically says they (Archer) are totally indemnified by Bean in the contract. In addition to Archer being protected from any lawsuits, Bean is also contractually obligated to pay any attorney fees, court costs, and legal expenses Archer might incur. Read More→

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Jerrie Barhanovich, widow of Mark Barhanovich filed suit against C.F. Bean and Archer Western Contractors in the death of her husband resulting from a boating accident in which his boat allegedly struck a dredge pipe.

We previously covered the accident in Mark Barhanovich Boat Propeller Accident at Deer Island Near Biloxi, MS: Dredge Pipe Strike?.

We also covered the Jones Act suit by C.F. Bean, their attempt to limit their potential liability in this accident.

Now, Jerrie Barhanovich has filed suit in those proceedings. Her case is: Jerrie P. Barhanovich, Executrix and Personal Representative of the Estate of Mark Barhanovich, Deceased.

It was filed 20 March 2013 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.

The claim begins by describing the September 16, 2012 accident that claimed Mark Barhanovich’s life. It says a vessel in navigation (the barge) created a submerged obstruction (the dredge pipe) and failed to adequately “monitor, mark, light, and warn” of the obstruction.

Claims are being made under admiralty and maritime law. Bean and Archer are subject to jurisdiction because they were the proximate cause of Mark Barhanovich’s injuries, and their acts arose from a contract in part with the State of Mississippi. Read More→

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