Feasel propeller case heard by Utah Supreme Court

On June 30, 2012 Mr Feasel and Mr Martinez were fishing. They were in a Tracker bass boat powered by a Mercury Marine outboard motor on a Utah reservoir. The boat swerved and both men were ejected. The unmanned boat circled in the Circle of Death. Mr. Feasel, the passenger, was repeatedly struck the propeller.

Feasel Case Before UT Supreme Court

Feasel Case Before Utah Supreme Court 12 May 2021

While additional issues were raised in the legal case arising from this accident, this post purely focuses on warnings.

Broussard Circle of Death Video

The video above shows a bass boat ejection and the subsequent Circle of Death along with GoPro gauges showing speeds and circling.

Utah District Court

The Feasel case first went to Utah District Court

Craig Feasel v. Tracker Marine, Brunswick Corporation, & Monty Martinez
2nd Judicial District Salt Lake County, State of Utah
Civil #140500037

Very basically, some declarations were excluded by the court, and as a result, summary judgement was awarded to the defendants, Brunswick & Tracker.

Utah Court of Appeals

Feasel Appealed to the Utah Court of Appeals.
Utah Court of Appeals rendered their opinion in February 2020.

Very basically, Utah Court of Appeals ruled the declarations in question should not have been excluded.
The Court of Appeals also ruled “genuine issues of material fact remain, specifically with respect to the adequacy of the warnings, whether Martinez and Feasel had actual knowledge of the specific danger that would result from not wearing the killswitch lanyard, and whether the failure to warn caused Feasel’s injuries.”
Thus they remanded the case back to Utah District Court.

Utah Supreme Court

Brunswick and Tracker appealed to the Utah Supreme Court. Their appeal focuses on duty to warn issues, and more specifically on (1) the required specificity of those warnings, and (2) duty to warn the passenger.

Utah Supreme Court heard arguments on these issues 12 May 2021.
Due to the COVID environment, Utah Supreme Court held a virtual hearing.
They made that hearing available online as a 1 hour and 13 minute YouTube video.

Feasel Case UT Supreme Court Video

Feasel Case UT Supreme Court Video

Utah Supreme Court will render their verdict at some future time.

Potential Implications of the Feasel Case

This specific case before Utah Supreme Court is considering the level of specificity needed to warn of the Circle of Death and of the duty to warn the passenger of the Circle of Death. However, it may have broader applications in the world of boating and beyond.

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