Listman vs. OMC trial 1 November Session 1c

Follow Us On TwitterThis post is part of our coverage of the Listman v. OMC propeller injury trial

Robin Listman vs. Outboard Marine Corporation
Second Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada, County of Washoe

1 November 2011 Session One – pm (Note there was no morning session, this was an afternoon session per CVN)

Our coverage was obtained via a video feed supplied by Courtroom View Network (CVN). The images are also courtesy of CVN.

This part of the session was the plaintiff, Robin Listman, on the witness stand. It followed the Defense’s Opening Statement.

We heard from one attorney:

  • Bill Jeanney for Listman

This section starts about 2 hours and 18 minutes into the CVN video for this session.

Listman Trial - William "Bill" Jeanney

Listman Trial - William "Bill" Jeanney image courtesy of CVN

Bill Jeanney questioning Robin Listman, the plaintiff.
Listman Trial - Robin Listman smiling

Listman Trial - Robin Listman smiling image courtesy CVN

She works for a gynecologist. Robin started working for her when she was just 19 as her office manager and has stayed with her for over twenty years. The practice is growing and Robin now has to get up and get around more.

Robin was born in rural Wyoming and is now in her forties.

She comes across as a very fine young woman and does not seem to be as old as she is. She is zestful and happy visiting about her early days.

She was previously married to Kevin Listman. They divorced amicably in 2003 and have two children, a boy about 15 and a girl about 13.

Robin does not have a special vehicle and has learned to drive with her left foot.

The only changes to accommodate her in her home are shower bars.

She is now engaged.

She previously hunted, camped, and enjoyed the outdoors.

She and Kevin Listman purchased a boat together before they were married.

Listman Trial - Dinosaur Float Toy

Listman Trial - Dinosaur Float Toy image courtesy of CVN

Robin explained the basics of the accident. They were in a friends boat trying to retrieve a floating inflatable tow toy that had blown off the shore that belonged to her son. The inflated float toy blew behind the boat, she stepped on the swim ladder, crouched and reached for the toy, the boat operator shifted into reverse, she fell in, and was immediately struck by the propeller. We did not describe the accident in detail because it is described several times in our later coverage of the trial.

When questioned about getting on the swim platform and her possible intentions to enter the water, she said, “No, I would never have gotten on the swim platform if the boat was going forwards or backwards.” “I had no intentions of getting into the water.”

She had a life vest on, fell in, was disoriented, I hear engine noise, feel sucking motion, and there is blood everywhere.

I had no pain, I just saw a lot of blood. The next thing, Mark is in the water, ladder is folded down, Lisa Porsow helped me into the boat. At that point I’m in shock.

She remembers sitting on the back of the boat on the padded transom area, the panic, Mark asking someone to call 911.

I never looked at my leg.

She goes on to tell the events of how it seemed surreal, they tried to get to cell phone service, Pyramid Police pulled them over, her leg started feeling like it was on fire, a fire truck meets them, a careflight helicopter is requested, and she was flown away.

Listman Trial - Robin Listman testifying

Listman Trial - Robin Listman testifying image courtesy CVN

She understandably gets a little emotional telling the story. We left out much of her testimony of the accident as it feels a bit personal to post. You can tell by comparing this image of her on the stand to the earlier image that retelling the event of her accident is an emotional challenge for her.

A recent U.S. Coast Guard Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking USCG-20111-0497 on Propeller-Strikes and Carbon Monoxide asked for data or information on benefits or avoided damages which may result from the use of measures to avoid propeller strike casualties. I pointed them to this video as it does a great job of showing the impact a propeller strike had on this woman’s life. The traumatic impact of the event, the pain and problems during recovery, plus the long time effects of being short a leg, dealing with a prosthesis, constant pain, and many other issues she now faces.

I stopped the CVN video at 3:15:03 and came back later that evening to finish taking notes from the session, but my free access is now over. We really appreciate CVN providing us access for several days to blog the trial and we need to be getting on to other things now too.

CVN provides a great service and we highly recommend it to anybody needing remote access to a live trial, or access to recorded trials. Seeing the videos is far more telling than just reading the transcripts.

From watching a few moments of the start of the next video, I am aware the end of this one covers some of her problems in trying to get her residual leg ready for her prosthesis and other challenges she faces due to loosing her leg.


  1. While I agree with your opening saenemttts (most products could be safer and courts should not be engaged in forcing them to pickup every small improvement) your standards comments can be skewed in certain industry situations like this one.Industry standards are often the lowest bar the industry can get everybody to agree to that they think will prevent the government from directly regulating them. They often set the bar just high enough to get the government to move on to some other problem somewhere else. The boating industry vehemently resists the use of propeller guards and other propeller safety devices because:1. If they did ever start to use them, it would be seen as an admission that open propellers are dangerous and that an alternative that the industry accepts exists. Thus people injured in the past would say why were you not using those devices when I was injured. I am going to sue you.2. Nobody wants to pay to retrofit propeller safety devices onto millions of existing boats in the field. If the industry starts using propeller safety devices now and does not retrofit them on boats they sold last year, the year before, etc they are exposing themselves again.Therefore the industry is in a full court press to suppress new and existing propeller safety technologies at every opportunity. One way they do this is by presenting a unified front and keeping all the troops marching in step. As a result nobody making propeller safety devices can sell them directly to boat or drive companies. Entrepreneurs are forced to sell to end users where transaction costs are much higher (must try to convert the individual boater into recognizing they need one, sell, ship, and invoice them on piece at a time, etc.). All the while the industry is telling everybody how bad these devices are and they will void the warranty on their drives if you use one. Newcomers to the market think they have great devices, but the industry just beats them down relentlessly. Look at Robert Hooper and his Prop Buddy guard. Bob stuck it out for approaching a couple decades. He had countless thrilled customers including commercial divers, state fish and game departments, the U.S. Government, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, NASA, military bases, and some very high tech mine sweeping RIBS, but the industry just kept beating him down. He finally passed away in 2010 at the age of 83.The reception of the Australian Environmental Safety Propeller is another example. They won a major televised Australian Invention of the Year contest there, but when shown at a USCG propeller safety mitigation meeting, the industry blasted them just like they blast every other propeller safety device.We are not saying prop guards should be on all boats, there are many other propeller safety devices and programs (boating safety classes, addressing drunk boating, encouraging operators to wear kill switches, etc) that should be employed as appropriate.Yet the Coast Guard is currently discussing a proposed regulation to make it mandatory for recreational boats to have emergency engine kill switches. That should have been done long, long ago. The industry actually opposed their use in the past.In terms of boating safety classes, the industry never wants to raise the bar. They don’t want to place any restrictions in front of potential boaters.Its hard for entrepreneurs to prove that their prop guard is a safe edition to their targeted boat population when the industry hits them with a smear campaign about the evils of propeller guards and other propeller safety devices. So industry standards are not always a good measure.

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