Boat Propeller Guard Product Liability Defense
We have completed a major project in which we studied the period in which Mercury Marine and Outboard Marine Corporation developed their legal defense against the use of boat propeller guards on recreational boats. This post is the first of five on this topic.
Their defense is based on three documents which they helped create:
- 1989 U.S. Coast Guard National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) Propeller Guard Subcommittee report
- 1990 Underwater Head Impact Study
- 1990 Underwater Leg Impact Study
The above defense was abandoned in the 1990s once their new Federal Pre-emption defense began to be accepted by the courts. However, in 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Federal Preemption defense in the Sprietsma vs Mercury Marine case. Since then, the boating industry has returned to a product liability / product defect defense based upon the three studies listed above.
This review exposes many problems with these three studies, several of which have not been previously revealed.
As shown in the image above the 1989 NBSAC report is the keystone to their product liability defense / product defect defense against the use of boat propeller guards. It is supported by the Head and Leg Impact studies. Similarly, the 1989 NBSAC report is the keystone to their product liability / product defect defense.
Our in-depth review of these three reports, and the documents behind them, has created a great deal of materials. They are organized as shown below.
Our Findings Are Presented 3 Ways
1. For those seeking a quick overview of a portion of the information, a series of 15 charts are provided
2. For those looking for more information, an introduction post plus three more posts, one for each study were prepared
3. For those looking for the most in depth information, the four lengthy pdf reports including hundred of footnotes and copies of documents are provided
We begin by providing links to the charts in the table below:
The Four Volume Manuscript
|Title & Link to the full PDF document
|Link to the Post
|Introduction (1 megabyte)
|1, 2, 3, 4
|Review of the USCG 1989 NBSAC report (11 megabytes)
|5, 6, 7, 8, 9
|Review of the SUNY Underwater Head Impact Study (7 megabytes)
|Review of the SUNY Underwater Leg Impact Study (2.5 megabytes)
Comments: Yours and Ours
We spent a great deal of time in completing this set of documents. We hope you find them useful.
If you have any comments, please place them one of the four post pages. Links to them are provided in the 4 Volume Manuscript table above.