Angelopoulos v. Volvo Penta, Grady-White et. al.

Konstaninos Angelopoulos filed a $30 million lawsuit against Volvo Penta, Grady-White, Norfolk Marine Company, and Richard Harris (boat owner and operator). The suit is for injuries his daughter, A.E. Angelopoulos, received in a boat propeller accident back on 30 June 2011.

Then 12, she was entrapped by the Duoprop twin contra-rotating propeller stern drive on a 24 foot 2000 Grady White Sailfish boat she was boarding after tubing. Some reports indicate she was drug into the propeller by a tow rope caught in the prop. It took rescue crews about 90 minutes to get the propeller off the boat so she could be brought to shore. Rescuers had her breathing through a snorkel a while, then found a scuba mask and scuba tank as her head was underwater.

We covered the accident back in 2011 at Virginia Beach Propeller Accident Impales Girl’s Leg

Girl's Leg Trapped in Propeller

Girl's Leg Trapped in Propeller Wavy-TV-10 30 June 2011

The lawsuit claims, among other claims, that a neutral indicator light on the boat dash indicated the drive was in neutral when it was not.

The industry has long fought neutral shift issues, typically for not being in neutral when operators thought they were, but we do not recall one focusing on an indicator light.

The young girl is now 15.

The official citation for the case is:

A.E.A. an infant, by Konstantinos N. Angelopoulos, her natural parent and next friend
Volvo Penta of the Americas, LLC,
Grady-White Boats, Inc.
Norfolk Marine Company,
Richard S. Harris, and 
John Does 1-50.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virgina, Norfolk Division.
Civil Action No. 2:14-cv-425

A jury trial is planned for July 14, 2015 in U.S. District Court, but the family wants to try to move the case back to Norfolk Circuit Court where it started. The suit was moved to Federal Court to consider Jones Act / Maritime / Admiralty Law issues. When accidents occur on navigable waters (connected across states or to the ocean), in certain situations the Jones Act can be used by defendants to limit their potential liability to the value of the vessel and its contents.

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