List of Propeller Injury Legal Cases and Trials

Recent and Pending Propeller Injury Cases and Trials

Some propeller cases are listed multiple times due to appeals or the verdicts being issued years after the propeller injury cases were filed.

Guyaux-Mitchell v. Old United Casualty Company
U.S. District Court for District of Colorado
Civil Action No. 13-cv-1132-W-JM-KMT

Arises from June 19,2012 accident. The female injured party was on an inflatable kayak tethered to the back of a rented houseboat on Lake Powell. A nearby powerboat rented along with the powerboat, backed into the kayak shredding it and severing the lady’s left leg below the hip. Once the lady recovered the maximum of the powerboat insurance policy, they attempted to recover additional funds from the rented houseboat insurance policy.

This case is discussed in “Houseboat policy exclusion barred coverage for injury caused by another vessel”. Boating Briefs. The Maritime Law Association of the United States. Committee on Recreational Boating. Spring 2019. Vol.28, No.1.

Frederick et al v. Under the Bridge Watersports, LLC et al
United States District Court
Civil Action No. 1:18cv-00119
Filed January 12, 2018. Terminated 21 May 2018.

Under the Bridge Watersports (related to of Paradise Parasail) is the marina that rented out the pontoon boat involved in the high profile propeller fatality of 9 year old Kaden Frederick. Kaden fell from the bow of the rented pontoon boat near Ocean City Maryland on August 17, 2016.

Roger Lewis & Carol Martin v. Justin Foster, et al
United States District Court
Eastern District of Kentucky, Northern Division, Covington
Civil Action No. 18-60-DLB-CJS

A number of entities are in this case including Brunswick Corporation and Eliminator Custom Boats Inc. plus several crossclaims were filed.

On 19 August 2017 Justin Foster was operating an Eliminator performance boat on the Ohio River with his stepfather on board.

Foster lost control, those onboard were ejected, his stepfather was killed in the accident. The Eliminator went on to strike a pontoon boat, a person on the pontoon boat (Mr. Lewis) was ejected and struck by the Eliminator’s propeller.

Product liability claims were filed against Brunswick and Eliminator.

The case was remanded back to Mason County Kentucky Circuit Court.

Olga Cioban-Leontiy v. Silverthorn Resort Associates, Twin Anchors Marine, and Volvo Penta of the Americas.
Superior Court of California, County of Shasta.
Case No. 187382.

30 May 2015 accident on 56 foot rental houseboat on Lake Shasta. Lady jumped in to retrieve a hat, houseboat backed into her.

Note another female was struck by rental houseboat propeller on Shasta about a week apart from this one.

Jenny Smotherman v. Silverthorn Resort Associates.
Superior Court of California, County of Shasta.
Case No. 184197.

Ski boat and bass boat a group rented along with a houseboat started to drift toward the houseboat. Lady jumped in behind the houseboat to prevent a collision, she was struck by the houseboat propeller which was in gear.

Note this accident happened one week after the similar accident resulting in the Cioban legal case listed above.

Ron Warren on behalf of the Estate of Derek Hebert v. Shelter Mutual Insurance, et al.
Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit.
June 29, 2016. Rehearing denied August 3, 2016.

7 May 2005 accident in Louisiana, a passenger in a Champion boat was ejected when the power steering failed and the boat went into a spin (Circle of Death). He was struck by the propeller 19 times and died from his injuries. Teleflex manufactured the steering unit. One of the steering hoses had been replaced resulting in a fluid leak. Earlier, the plaintiff won a large punitive damages award of $23 million.

On 18 October 2017, The Supreme Court of Louisiana ruled the findings of the lower court stand, but they reduced the punitive award to $4.25 million.

Complaint of Benjamin P. Urbelis for Exoneration from and/or Limitation of Liability, Civil, and Maritime.
United States District Court. D. Massachusetts.
Civil Action No. 15-cv-12358-ADB

Volvo Penta and Chaparral Boats are also in this case.

On 30 May 2015 the M/V “Naut Guilty” began a voyage from Charleston Massachusetts to Boston Harbor. Urbelis, several folks, and 19 year old Ms. Bethiaume were on board. During a stop, several individuals including Ms. Bethiaume jumped in for a swim. Someone started the engines, Ms. Bethiaume was struck by the propeller.

In this particular filing, Mr. Urbelis was seeking to limit his potential liability in the case(s) that would likely result from this accident based on the Jones Act.

Edyta Regnowski v. Boatbound (boat rental operation that rents boats owned by individual boaters)
Supreme Court of State of New York County of Suffolk

8 August 2015 accident in New York
Regnowski (the renter) jumped in to retrieve a tube that had blown from the boat, boat operator (friend of the renter) reversed the boat to anchor it not knowing Regnowswi was in the water, leg struck by propeller, entrapped on propeller, rescuers had a hard time finding the vessel, leg amputated 8 days later
Boatbound’s advertised insurance plan failed to cover her saying she was not operating the boat, only the renter can operate the boat per them. The individual owning the boat had insurance but his plan said it did not cover commercial uses (like renting his boat out).
Boatbound was acquired by Boatsetter in August 2017.

David Causey v. Yamaha Corporation of America, Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA, and John Does Nos. 1-4.

On 18 October 2014 David Causey and his wife, Ruby Causey, were boating in a small boat powered by a 6 horsepower Yamaha outboard motor. After a stop, the outboard was hard to start and allegedly eventually started in gear, ejecting both on board. Ruby Causey’s blouse/shirt became entrapped in the propeller and she drowned while her husband tried to free her.

Kimberly Luek v Ryan Mansky and Integrity Property and Casualty Insurance Company,
Court of Appeals Wisconsin, District IV.
Appeal No. 2016AP2164.

This is one of several cases focusing on whether the rotating propeller was being powered at the time of the strike or was just sitting there or was still rotating from being powered earlier. Was the engine in gear?

On 28 June 2014 Kimberly Luek was riding a kneeboard operated by Ryan Mansky. She fell, he brought the boat around, she wanted to go again, while waiting for the tow rope her right leg and left foot were struck by the propeller.

The original jury said the boat was in gear. The boat operator and insurance company said that decision went against the preponderance of evidence and appealed on that basis. Eventually the appellant court rejected Mansky’s claim and the case was over.

Batchelder v. Malibu Boats et al
Superior Court of Raybun County, State of Georgia

the 17 July 2014 Ryan Batchelder accident (7 year old boy killed by propeller) in Georgia

Michelle Iwamoto v. Steven Gee, Ranger Boats, BNSF railroad, Mercury Marine, Best Bass Tournament
Superior Court of State of California, County of San Joaquin
Case # STK-CV-UPI-2014-0008603

19 April 2014 accident in California, Todd Iwamoto and Steven Gee were participating in a bass tournament on the Delta when they struck a large railroad tie thought to be associated with a railroad bridge. The outboard motor broke off, entered the boat, Mr. Iwamoto was killed. His body was found several hours later.

Sarah Smith v. Brant Beach Yacht Club et al
United States District Court, D. New Jersey.
Filed 6 December 2017

23 July 2014 accident at sailing regatta in New Jersey. Sixteen year old girl was on a sailboat that capsized. She was struck by the propeller of a boat operated by an employee of the yacht club. Case appears to have been dismissed due to statute of limitations.

Marc Craddock vs. M/V The Golden Rule
U.S. District Court
Southern District of Florida, in Admiralty

the case grew out of a snorkeler being struck by the propeller(s) of a 1500 horsepower boat in Florida.

We cover the case at Craddock vs. The Golden Rule.

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 12 year old girl was entrapped in a Volvo DuoProp stern drive in June 2011 at Virginia Beach. The girl survived.

We cover the case at Angelopoulos vs. Volvo Penta.

Maricel Valdez, as a personal representative of the estate of Ernesto Hernandez v.
Lazero Mendez aka and dba DJ Laz individually;
Voli Spirits, LLC, a foreign limited liability company;
Park Streets Imports, LLC a Florida limited liability company, dba Voli Vodka;
and Plantation Boat Mart & Marina, Inc, a Florida Corporation
Miami Dade County Court

The case grew out of a famous local DJ being at Nixon Beach Florida in a high profile boat during a large party on the water. The boat became stuck on a sandbar. Some people, including Ernesto Hernandez, came to help push it off the sandbar. During the process, Mr. Hernandez was killed by the boat propeller(s).

We cover the case beginning at Valdez vs. DJ Laz / Lazero Mendez.

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

On June 30, 2012 Mr Feasel and Mr Martinez were fishing from a bass boat on a Utah reservoir, the boat swerved, they were both ejected, the boat circled, the propeller repeatedly struck Mr. Feasel.

Carla J. Clippard vs. Yamaha Motor Corporation USA and Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd.
U.S. District Court
Western District of Kentucky
Paducah Division

The case grew our of a bass tournament team striking a submerged bridge beam on Kentucky Lake, the outboard motor flipping into the boat, and the propeller fatally injuring one of them.

We covered the accident at Timothy Clippard … .

Robert Roderick vs. Havasu Adventure Company, Walk in the Light, Premier Marine Honda Motor, et al.
U.S. District Court
District of Arizona

The case grew out of a young girl going over the bow of a rented pontoon boat and being fatally injured by the propeller. We covered the accident at Girl Killed in Lake Havasu.

Michael Meyer v. Carnival Cruise Lines, et al.
U.S. District Court
Southern District of Florida

This case grew out of a cruise ship passenger taking a shore excursion on a sailing catamaran and being struck by its propeller while in St. Lucia.

We cover the case in depth beginning at Michael Meyer vs. Carnival Cruise Lines et al.

David Schulman as Personal Representative of the Estate of Casey Schulman, deceased
Institute for Shipboard Education dba Semester at Sea,
Anchorage Hotel Ltd,
Global Citizens Travel, LLC,
and Fountain-Pajot S.A., a foreign company
U.S. District Court
Southern District of Florida

This case grew out of the December 2012 fatal propeller accident involving Casey Schulman, a University of Virginia student on a Semester at Sea educational cruise in Dominica. She was struck by the propeller of a sailing catamaran she and a number of students chartered for a short sailing trip.

Our initial coverage of the case is at Casey Schulman vs. Semester at Sea.

In the Matter of C.F. Bean LLC, as Owner Pro Hac Vice and Operator, and Bean Meridian LLC, as the Record Owner, of the Barge Bean 20, Official 627225, Praying for Exoneration from or Limita v. Mark Barhanovich. Filed 15 March 2013 in Federal Court in Mississippi Southern District Court.

The Case grew out of a boater, Mark Barhanovich, allegedly striking a dredge pipe off Deer Island Mississippi. The Suzuki outboard motor broke off and flipped into the boat. The Dredging companies initially tried to protect themselves using the Jones Act (limit maximum liability to the value of the barge and its contents). While their efforts continue, the widow sued them, then the dredging companies tried to bring in Suzuki (America) and Suzuki (Japan) and a manufacturer of outboard jack plates. As of February 2015, the court is still sorting it all out. We cover the case in several posts in our legal section.

Our initial coverage of the Barhanovich case.

Jordan McKelvey vs. State Dock Marina

Wayne County Kentucky Circuit Court.

Adult male was in process of boarding a rental houseboat on Lake Cumberland from the stern ladder when the engine was reversed. He was pulled from the swim ladder into the propeller.

Adrian Todd vs. Marine Power International Pty Ltd t/as Mercury Marine Australia

Supreme Court of NSW
Common Law
Case # 2010 / 00296780
Settled July 23, 2012

Young boy fell from a RIB in Australia while rope starting its outboard motor in 2008. The outboard started in gear or slipped into gear. His father, Julian Todd, has since been a leading advocate for boat propeller safety in Australia.

Rick & Pamela Squirrell v. City of Huntington Beach, et al.

U.S. District Court, Central District of California – Southern Division. Case No. SA CV 10-00641-JST (RNBx) in Admiralty. Complaint of City of Huntington Beach as Owner of Sentinel II, 29.5 ft, 1982 Crystaliner. Summary judgement granted in favor of the Squirrells on April 4, 2011.

Their daughter, then 11 year old Junior Lifeguard Alyssa Squirrell, was participating in a training exercise on July 14, 2009 when she was struck by the city’s boat and its propeller. She suffered serious lacerations to her legs and hips, from which she died. Her family claims the City was not obeying a number of rules at the time of the accident. The city tried to cap its liability to $26,000, the value of the boat under Admiralty law, however the court ruled the cap does not apply in cases involving negligence. The family’s wrongful death case now now proceed based on the April 4, 2011 ruling. In November 2011, the case was scheduled to go to trial in May 2012. It is Orange County Superior Court Case No. 30-2010-00355326. The family also had a product liability claim against Crystaliner (boat manufacture). The Crystaliner case was consolidated into the City case. I checked the Orange County Superior Court website and it looks like the case may have settled in May 2012.

Michael Hinton v. Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC).

Michael Hinton was attempting to retrieve his son’s hat from the water when he fell from the swim platform and was struck by the propeller off the coast on Maine on September 10, 2000.

A jury decided in OMC’s favor in Michael Hinton v. Outboard Marine Corporation, et al., United States District Court. District of Maine. on February 2, 2012.

While a propeller injury, the case focused on a swim ladder that broke way while Mr. Hinton was hanging onto it.

William E. Coxe III v. Yamaha Motor Company and Maverick Boat Company

U.S. District Court for District of South Carolina Beaufort Division in Admiralty. On January 31, 2009 Mr. Coxe and a fishing trip companion were returning to a boat ramp. Mr. Coxe had dropped the companion off at the ramp to go get the truck and trailer while Mr. Coxe kept the boat in forward throttle against the river to keep the boat stationary. Mr. Coxe slipped, fell into the throttle, the boat accelerated forward, he was ejected, the boat began the Circle of Death. Mr. Coxe tried to swim to shore but his face was struck multiple times by the propeller. The case was filed January 30, 2012 and has since been settled.

Deondra L. Scott v. Dennis F. Allen, David D. Orzolek, and Chaparral Boats, Inc.

Filed January 3, 2012, this case results from the June 25, 2011 accident at the annual Ronnie Stephen’s Lake Bash on Lake Norman in North Carolina. She was swimming behind the rented boat driven by a novice operator and struck twice by the propeller. Scott is suing the boat operator, rental facility, and boat builder. She claims Chaparral produced an unreasonably dangerous boat due to the obstructed vision to the rear of a boat that encouraged swimming at the rear, plus failed to provide adequate, reasonable warnings.

The case is in the General Court of Justice Superior Court Division, County of Mecklenburg, North Carolina. She is represented by SeiferFlatow PLLC of North Carolina.

This accident was a high profile accident in national news coverage.

McGarrigle v. Mercury Marine.

John McGarrigle was in a small tiller outboard powered boat on Delaware Bay on July 21, 2007. He was ejected, the boat circled, he tried to reboard, and was struck by the propeller.

The case is in New Jersey as, John McGarrigle and Barbara McGarrigle v. Mercury Marine. Civil Action No. 09-4625. United States District Court, D. New Jersey.

While a propeller injury, the case focuses on Mercury Marine’s decision to not require a kill switch lanyard to be used with tiller steered outboards of this size, while it does require them with smaller tiller steered outboards.

Francisco Perez Oritz v. Alberic Colon Zambrana, et al.

U.S. District Court of the District of Puerto Rico. 809 F. Supp. 2d. 1; 2011 U.S. Dist. Lexis 102576; 2012 AMC 712. Decided September 9, 2011. Two plaintiffs were snorkeling and were struck by the plaintiff’s boat. They were unable to recover for negligent infliction of emotional stress because the “physical injury or impact” and “zone of danger” and “bystander proximity” theories blocked recovery for those plaintiffs that did not witness the collision per Federal Admiralty law. Plaintiffs could not directly appeal to Puerto Rico law to get around the block. Ortiz and Efrain were snorkeling on July 24, 2009 in territorial waters off of Puerto Rico near Dakiti Beach off the island of Culebra with some other men. Ortiz was struck by the boat propeller and his left leg was later amputated above the knee, he was in a coma for four days, and required 14 pints of blood. Efrain suffered minor bruises and abrasions from the propeller which hit his swim fin. Both parties were required to attend a settlement conference on September 22, 2011 to decide the remaining issues (his physical and emotional injuries, medical expenses, loss of income, lost future earnings, and hedonic damages).

Nicholas and Stephanie Dadgostar v St Croix Financial Center, et al.

U.S. District Court for the Virgin Islands, District of St. Croix. Filed September 19, 2011. Decided September 20, 2011. Nicholas Dadgostar rented snorkeling gear from St. Croix Financial Center doing business as Tamarind Reef Hotel. The hotel told him he could swim through Green Ba Channel to a nearby island. Dadgostar was part of a group of active members of the U.S. Air Force there on “crew rest”. The hotel employee did not warn Dadgostar of the dangers of boat traffic in the channel or of at least one prior accident in which a boat struck a snorkeler in the channel. As Dadgostar swam back to shore from the island he was struck by the propeller of a commercial vessel and received severe permanent injuries. He sued the hotel for negligence, failure to warn, punitive damages, strict products liability, loss of consortium, and other issues. The group of hotel owner defendants asked for the case to be dismissed because he failed to adequately state causes of action and failed to allege facts sufficient to pierce the corporate veil. The court found the plaintiff had sufficiently pleaded to enter a negligence claim, but not a strict products liability claim. The court also found the plaintiff had not supplied sufficient facts to pierce the corporate veil and go after the owners individually. Plaintiff was given 14 days to refile an amended complaint.

Estate of David Paul McFarlin vs. City of Storm Lake, Buena Vista County, Lake Improvement Commission, Brunswick Corporation dba Mercury Marine and Lund Company, Harry Foote, Randy Redig, Russell Harrington, and David Botine

Case arises from the May 31, 2010 Storm Lake accident in which a family boating outing struck a submerged dredge pipe on Storm Lake, the outboard flew up into the boat, and a young old boy was killed by the propeller.

Brunswick (Mercury Marine and Lund) is being sued for negligent design and warnings. The case is in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa Western Division.

On September 6, 2011, Judge Mark W. Bennett dismissed a motion by the boy’s estranged father to join the plaintiffs.

Daniel Perez vs. Yamaha Motor Corporation USA

Daniel Perez vs. Yamaha Motor Corporation USA. Case # 2006CA005301. 15th Judicial Circuit Court of Palm Beach County, Florida.

On March 27, 2005 Samantha Archer,age 15, and Jaysell Perez, age 14, borrowed a Yamaha WaveRunner from a family friend. They took it out on the intracoastal waterway in Florida. When heading back to shore, Archer let off the throttle to steer away from hitting a high performance boat. When she backed off the throttle she lost steering, hit the boat, and both girls were struck by the propeller. Archer was very severely injured and Perez was killed.

A jury awarded $39 million to the plaintiffs (the surviving girl and the deceased girl’s family) on June 10, 2011. The jury placed 88 percent of the blame on Yamaha ($35 million). Yamaha has since filed an appeal.

The case focuses on the 2001 Yamaha WaveRunner’s lack of steering in an off throttle condition, but would not have existed or at least not of been of this magnitude if the girls had not been struck by the propellers.

Robin Listman vs. OMC

On 3 November 2010 (the first day the jury was seated) a mistrial was declared in the Second Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada, County of Washoe. The jury trial began again on 31 October 2011. OMC won the case.

Robert Bell v. Mastercraft Boat Company.

On 9 July 2006 two women were on a MasterCraft X-45 on Lake Oroville in California. Both were ejected and struck by the propeller of the 24 foot wakeboard boat. The California’s Butte County Superior Court trial focused on the design of the boat, its recommended capacity, the lack of testing, and medical bills of one of the women which exceeded 2 million dollars. The victims received a $30 million award against Mastercraft. We suspect this award may be appealed.

While it was not directly a propeller case (attention was focused on boat design and capacity) it would never have happened if the two women had not been struck by the propeller.

Marta A. Herrara v. Desert Recreation, Inc., et al.
District Court of Nevada. Clark County. No. 07A546642. April 16, 2010.

On August 21, 2005, Marta A. Herrara traveled to Laughlin, Nevada with her boyfriend to kayak in the river. As they approached a dock where a large pontoon tour boat was tied preparing to depart, a person on the large pontoon tour boat reached out and pushed them, the kayak capsized, both were ejected, she was pulled between the pontoons and into the starboard rotating propeller. The pontoon tour boat was a 40 footer with triple pontoons. It was used as a water taxi between casinos on the river, and for tours at Davis Dam. Plaintiff expert witness Donald Green said the boat should have been properly moored and not had the propellers turning at that time (they said they left it running in gear to stay in place against the river current).

With the jury panel present, on 10 September 2010 the Court advised the jury the case had settled, thanked them, and excused them.

Richard Rozon in behalf of Sylvia Rozon vs. Aramark, Mercury Marine, Bass Tracker, and Tracker Marine.

On 3 October 2005, Sylvia Rozon fell from the back of a rental houseboat while stepping to a smaller boat. Her husband rented the houseboat as a seasonal Aramark employee. This fatal houseboat propeller case in US District Court for District of Utah Central Division, State of Utah was settled and dismissed on 27 September 2010. The industry settled just two days ahead of the 29 September 2010 Propeller Injury Avoidance Meeting at IBEX in which recent USCG propeller guard test PRELIMINARY results were presented showing cage guards to be effective in reducing the severity of propeller injuries at non-planing / displacement houseboat speeds.

Brochtrup v. Sea Ray & Mercury Marine.

Sea Ray and Mercury Marine are both both Brunswick Companies. This propeller injury case tried by a federal jury found Brunswick 66 percent responsible on 5 April 2010. A judgement was issued against Brunswick for approx. $2 million. Brochtrup was injured in a 1 July 2005 propeller accident on Lake Travis (Texas). He had jumped out to retrieve a tow rope that fell off just as the boat operator put the boat in reverse. Brunswick was found 66 percent responsible and ordered to pay $3.8 million. Brochtrup and the boat operator were each found to be 17 percent responsible. Brunswick says they are evaluating their options, including a possible appeal.

Regan vs. Starcraft Marine

On April 16, 2005, a soldier fell over the front gate of a pontoon boat rented from an Army recreational facility and was struck by the propeller. The propeller guard portion of the suit was dismissed on 17 March 2010 in the U.S. District Court Western District of Louisiana Shreveport Division.

17 March 2010. U.S. District Court, WD Louisiana, Shreverport Division. Leagle (court publisher) indicates Daniel J. Regan was struck by a pontoon boat propeller on April 16, 2005 at Toledo Bend Reservoir. As a result of the accident his right leg was amputated and his left leg was permanently injured. He was struck by the prop of a 20 foot “Starcraft Marine 200 Fish” in the fleet of the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Command (MWRC) at Fort Polk. The boat was purchased by MWCRC without a propeller and delivered to MWRC without a propeller. Starcraft moved for partial summary judgement saying they supplied the boat through a broker with a Mercury outboard, but not with a propeller, and that MWRC did not request a propeller or a propeller guard. They also requested the case be tried under general maritime law, which states the liability should be imposed on parties who are best able to shield persons from hazardous products and equipment. Plaintiff lawyers were unable to convince the Court the boat should have been supplied with some sort of universal propeller guard, and summary judgement was granted. All claims related to lack of propeller guards against Starcraft including any claims they should have warned of the availability of propeller guards and/or the advisability of their use were dismissed.

Audrey Decker vs. OMC and Boston Whaler

Collier Circuit Court. Collier County FL. Filed 16 May 2002 with a June 2009 trial. A lady fell overboard from 13 foot Boston Whaler powered by on OMC outboard and was struck by its propeller on 23 May 1999. Suing Boston Whaler and others for not installing propeller guard. The case is being tried on the crashworthiness doctrine. People injured in automobile accidents sometimes sue auto manufacturers claiming the injuries caused by impact with the automobile could have been prevented or mitigated by proper design, and claim the automobile was not crashworthy. Plaintiff attorneys are taking that approach in this case per Naples Daily News coverage of the trial.

We also provided a scorecard of various elements of the trial along with a synopsis of the case at Decker vs. OMC: A Scorecard of the Trial.

5 Sep 2008 Miyoung Son and Youngkeun Son v. Kerzner International Resorts decided in U.S. District Court for Southern District of Florida. No. 07-61171-CIV-Marra/Johnson. 2008 U.S. District LEXIS 67842.

Mrs. Son was injured by an excursion boat propeller on a Bahamas excursion trip. Case centered on the signing of release forms and jurisdiction (U.S. or Bahamas). Accident happened during their August 17-21, 2005 trip.

15 April 2008 BBC News (UK) “Toddler Killed on Beach by Boat” reports on a trial in the Bahamas about the propeller death of 2 year old Paul Gallagher back in August 2002. He was in a chair on the beach when a 19 foot boat ran up on the beach and ran over him. Paul died 5 days later. The driver and owners of the boat are on trial for negligent manslaughter.

8 April 2008 Yakima Herald (Washington) “Boat Driver Ordered to Repay the State” reports the driver of a boat that struck and killed Matthew Jordan, 25 of Yakima, with its propeller after he fell from a PWC on 2 July 2006 in the Rozon area of Yakima River Canyon was in court under the Kittitas County Superior Judge. He was ruled to pay a little over $23,000 (ten percent of the $233,541 in medical costs incurred by the county by the State of Washington’s Crime Victim program before Mr. Jordan died, 10 days after the accident). That amount was in excess to the $33,426 he was earlier ordered to pay the parents of the deceased young man.

31 Jan 2008 Fresno Bee (California) “Family Sues in Boating Accident: Boat Operators Already Face Criminal Charges” reports the family of Dallen McEntire (11 year old boy struck by a propeller in a hit and run Labor Day Weekend 2006 on Shaver Lake in California) has now filed a civil suit against the two men currently facing criminal charges. The civil suit charges “negligent operation of a boat, reckless boating and failure to stop and render assistance, among other things.” The civil suit will not be taken up until the criminal matter is concluded.

14 Dec 2007 Fresno Bee (California) “Expert Testifies in Case of Boy Hurt in Boat Accident” reports Harold Kindsvater, a propeller manufacturer, examined the propeller of the boat suspected to have struck the 11 year old Dallen McEntire of Bakersfield California during Labor Day Weekend 2006. Mr. Kindsvater testified during a preliminary hearing “that there were no scuff marks on the propeller, an indication that it did not hit a piece of wood. He also said the paint had not chipped, which meant the propeller had not hit a rock.” He went on to say he was sure it hit something solid.

Mr Kindsvater appears to have been a boat racer in the 1980’s and manufactured a racing V-drive transmission now known as the Menkens V-Drive.

5 Oct 2007 Fresno Bee (California) “Not Guilty Pleas Entered in 2006 Shaver Lake Boat Crash” reports a legal update on a Labor Day Weekend 2006 crash on Shaver Lake in which an 8 year old boy (Dallen McEntire) was knee boarding and struck by the propeller of a hit and run boat. The young boy suffered major head injuries from the propeller and has since undergone several surgeries. The two men in the boat that allegedly ran were identified August 22, 2007 after a methodical investigation. Attorneys for both men recently entered not guilty pleas in their behalf. A preliminary hearing was set for December 10th.

2 Oct 2007 Case Filed: Richard Rozon v. Aramark Corporation, Aramark Sports and Entertainment Services, Mercury Marine, Mercury Marine LLC, Bass Tracker and Tracker Marine LLC. Utah District Court. Central Office San Juan County. Surrounding death of Sylvia Rozon in propeller accident on Lake Powell on 3 October 2005. Her husband, Richard, with her on the houseboat they rented was a seasonal Aramark employee. The case was eventually settled.

30 Aug 2007 ChicoER (Chico California) “Dollar Changes Hands; Manslaughter Case Settled” reports a civil settlement in a trial stemming from the 6 Oct 2006 propeller accident on Lake Oroville in which Daniel Lee Burkette, 22 of Torrance, fell from the bow of a ski boat and was “sucked under the propeller as the boat slowed and turned to pickup a fallen wake-boarder.” The defense attorney claimed the deceased stood suddenly “and holding his arms outstretched similar to a scene in the Titanic” when he fell. His parents are friends of defendant and agreed to accept $1.00 to resolve the case under Superior Court Judge Steven Howell, Butte Country Deputy DA Niels Bringsjord and Defense Attorney Michael Rothschild.

1 Jul 2007 Statesman (Austin TX) “Man Sues Boat, Motor Companies After Losing Leg” reports Jacob Brochtrup, now 20, who was severely injured by a propeller on Lake Austin in 2005 (other reports place accident on 1 July 2005) is now suing Sea Ray (the boat manufacturer) and Mercury Marine (the drive manufacturer). His attorney, Mark Guerrero, says both the boat and engine company should have installed guards. Brochtrup, now a student at Texas A&M, lost most of his blood, was in cardiac arrest for at least 45 minutes, and delivered by a STAR Flight helicopter to the emergency room clinically dead after his accident.

A KXAN TV 36 report at the time of the accident indicated he jumped into the water to retrieve a ski rope while the driver put the boat in reverse. He was right in front of the lower unit, his leg was nearly severed.

29 June 2007 South China Morning Post (China) “Speedboat Driver Guilty of Swimmer’s Death” reports a District Court Judge found the driver of a boat towing a bannana boat that struck and killed Lau Wah-fai, age 66, with its propeller (the prop on the tow boat) guilty of endangering the lives of others at sea by not keeping a proper lookout. The accident happened about 3:15 pm on 19 August 2006 on Clear Water Bay. The driver is expected to be sentenced today.

19 June 2007 The Border Mail (Australia) “$650,000 for Teen Hit by Speedboat” reports Ayeshea Maree Sparks, then 14, was struck in the right foot by a ski boat propeller at Kohlhagen Beach on the Murrumbidgee River 9 November 2002. She was swimming 3 to 5 meters from shore when a skier fell, the ski boat circled to pickup the skier and struck her. The speedboat driver was found liable in the NSW Supreme Court yesterday and Ms. Sparks was awarded $650,000 (Australian dollars). Other reports indicated the award included $213,500 for non-economic loss (half the maximum) and $269,220 for future loss of earning capacity.

5 May 2007 India eNews (India) “Entreprenuer Convicted for Mutilating Olympic Sailor” reports Lars Schmidt Grael, an olympic sailor, was hit by a boat propeller while practicing at Vitoria (Vittoria) in southeast Italy in September 1998. “The boat propeller dilacerated one of the sailor’s legs, which had to be amputated later.” The boat that struck him had crossed over the lines marking the competition area before striking him. The Italian Supreme Court of Justice (STJ) just upheld a lower court decision convicting the boat operator (C. de Abreu) and sentencing him to prison for three years and sentenced his father (the boat owner) to be approximately $3,632 monthly to the victim for the remainder of his lifetime, plus indemnities of about $1.23 million.

Daniel J. Regan, et al v. Starcraft Marine LLC

27 Feb 2007 – Daniel Regan, a U.S. Army soldier was passenger on a Starcraft Marine pontoon boat rented from an Army recreational facility on Toledo Bend Reservoir near Army Recreational Cove in Sabine Parish Louisiana. He was standing on near the bow, the driver slowed the boat, he fell forward, grabbed the gate, but it ripped loose and he fell overboard and was struck by the propeller. This section of the lawsuit decided on 27 Feb 2007 in US District Court for the Western District of LA, Shreveport Division had to do with Starcraft attempting to bring in the United States Government as a third party in the suit. The U.S. government was dismissed from responsibility.

Daniel J. Regan, et al v. Starcraft Marine LLC
Civil Action No. 06-1257
US District Court fo the Western District of LA, Shreveport Division
2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26588
Decided February 27, 2007

Harlan Baus v. David Lowe
Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth Appellate District, Cuyahoga County
2007 Ohio 275; 2007 Ohio App. Lexis 250.
Released January 25, 2007

Mr. Lowe was driving a boat owned by another attendee of a party being held on some private beachfront property owned by a nonprofit organization. While near shore, the boat pulling a skier, ran over and killed Carol Patch with its propeller while she waded in waist deep water on Lake Erie preparing to be the next skier. This portion of this case centered on any possible liability of the non profit organization (Clarkwood Beach Club Inc) that owned the land on shore. The court found the accident occurred offshore and therefore Clarkwood Beach Club was not the social host where the accident happened and thus had no liability. Harlan Baus was the administrator or executor of the estate of the deceased.

An appeal on Baus v. Lowe was rejected on 6 June 2008 by the Supreme Court of Ohio.
114 Ohio St. 3d. 1413; 2007 Ohio 2632; 867 N.E. 2nd 845; 2007 Ohio Lexis 1383.
The appeal was not accepted for review.

Mock Court Cases, Mock Trials, and Law Exams on Propeller Guards

Mock Case – 4 May 2007 The Star-Ledger (New Jersey) “If It Pleases the (Mock) Court” reports the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick NJ held a mock court yesterday where high school teams from across the country faced each other in a mock trial. The mock case involved a group of high school seniors taking their parents powerboats for a midnight cruise that turned tragic when one of the boats struck and killed a swimmer near the beach with its propeller. The prosecution claimed the boat operator was drinking that night and seen later trying to pry shredded swim trunks from the boat’s propeller. Students, police and medical experts testified in the two day event involving 14 teams at the American Mock Trial Invitational. We were also able to find the actual mock court case documents.

Seymour v. Brunswick on Final Law Exam. Torts II final exam. Gonzaga Law School Professor David K. DeWolf. Summer 2000. Professor DeWolf presented the facts behind Seymour v. Brunswick (a now well known propeller case) and asked his students to estimate the liability of Brunswick as one of the questions on his law exam. The exam and a sample answer were both posted online.

Pre 2007 Propeller Injury Cases and Trials

9 July 2006 Staten Island Advance (NY) “Drowned Teen’s Parents File Wrongful Death Suit” reports parents of a 14 year old boy killed by propeller on a whale watching boat (90 foot Whale Watcher II) near Cape May Point NJ on 30 Apr 2005 (accident covered in our accident reports) filed a wrongful death suit in U.S. District Court in Camden NJ on Thursday July 6th. They claim claim the boat owners of failed to take safety precautions that would have prevented the death of their son, Nicholas Johs. The suit names Cape May Whale Watch and Research Center, its owners and the pilot.

James Smith v. Benjamin Richard Perese and Perese Abalone Diving Pty Ltd (Australia)
28 Apr 2006 Illawarra Mercury (Australia) “$1.8m Case Win” reports a large legal award to James Smith of MT Warrigal who was snorkeling/spearfishing near Brush Island on the South Coast 12 Oct 2001 when struck by a propeller. The parties (Benjamin Richard Perese and Perese Abalone Diving Pty Ltd) have agreed to the amount inthe NSW Supreme Court, but the Justice has yet to determine the final payout.

Fook v. Outboard Marine Corporation
An article titled, Lawsuit Opens in Boating Accident in Skagit Valley Herald (state of Washington) dated 11 May 2005 reports a 1999 accident involving Gerardus Ah Fook is coming to trial in Skagit County Superior Court. About a year after the propeller injury he filed a suit against Outboard Marine Corporation, Hi-Lex (manufacturer of the throttle and gear shifter in use on the 1983 boat), the boat owners and their son (driver of the boat). Settlements have been previously reached with Hi-Lex and the family. Ah Fook’s lawyer, Larry Setchell (with Helsell Fetterman LLP of Seattle), told the jury if the 1983 Sunrunner Runabout had a propeller guard, his client would have suffered minor injuries instead of nearly bleeding to death. Jay O’Sullivan, lawyer for OMC (probably with O’Sullivan & Blotch PLLC of Seattle) said the accident was the result of a series of bad decisions by Ah Fook and the boat owners, and a faulty throttle system. He says a propeller guard would not have helped and might have made matters worse. The three week trial began Monday May 9th, 2005 with jury selection and OMC was found not responsible on Tuesday 31 May 2005.

Daniel Sinacola v Township of Leland
No. 248068, No. 252107
Court of Appeals of Michigan
2004 Mich. App. LEXIS 3183
Decided November 18, 2004

Mr. Sinacola was struck by one or two boats on 7 August 2001 while in a party raft with several other people. Another person possible acting as a Leland Township employee responded to a distress cell phone call from another vessel went to aid them and was then returning along with the second vessel when one or both of them drove over the raft, striking Mr Sinacola with the propeller(s).

Funtime v. Gonzales, Case No. CV-04- 2139-PCT-PGR

A college student, rented a 26 foot pontoon from Funtime on Lake Havasu with some friends. Leaving Copper Canyon, she let a friend drive. Two people they picked up along the way were dancing on the bow outside the gate. When the boat slowed at the Thompson no wake buoy (before the London Bridge area), they fell in, one of them, Kimberly Gonzales, was struck by the propeller.

Filed 3 March 2004 – Dwayne and Linda Howard v. Mercury MerCruiser and Beachcomber Boats. U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Texas, Texarkana Division. Their daughter Shelby Howard fell from a pontoon boat on 11 June 2003 and was killed by its propeller.

Michael Davis v. Skeeter Boats and Yamaha
3 Sept. 2003 – a case primarily focusing on the possible overpowering of a bass boat, resulting in two people overboard, a propeller strike and paraplegic, was settled for $6 million.

Shrayber v. Holiday Harbor, Inc.
2003 WL 21197691 (Cal.App. 1 Dist., May 22, 2003) (NO. A099975)
Shrayber injured his right leg when he was pulled into a the propeller of a rented houseboat propeller on Lake Shasta. At the time of his injury, Mr Shrayber was swimming behind the houseboat attempting to help the person that rented the boat back it into a slip. California Houseboat case ruling overturned – Original case was awarded to Holiday Harbor at least partially based on Federal preemption. The appeal (one of the first after Sprietsma) cited the recent U.S. Supreme Court Sprietsma case and the case was awarded to Shrayber.

Sprietsma v. Mercury Marine
The U.S. Supreme Court recently found against Mercury Marine in Sprietsma v. Mercury Marine. At issue before the court was did the Federal Boating Safety Act of 1971 pre-empt recovery in propeller injury lawsuits filed in state courts based on the manufacturer’s failure to install propeller guards. On Dec. 3, 2002, the Supreme Court said it did NOT. This decision may eventually have greater impact on the industry than any other decision in recent years.

LaPlante v. Wellcraft Marine Corp.
94 Cal.App.4th 282, 114 Cal.Rptr.2d 196, 2002 A.M.C. 130,
Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 16,234, 01 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 10,198,
2001 Daily Journal D.A.R. 12,715 (Cal.App. 2 Dist., Dec 06, 2001) (NO. B145562)

Then, 11 years old, LaPlante was a 1998 was passenger sitting in the bow of a Wellcraft / Genmar boat. He was thrown from the boat and struck by it (NOT by the propeller). Suit focused on lack of hand holds / rails. Defense used Federal Pre-emption and cited the prop guard cases (they said the Coast Guard did not say all boats needed a hand holds/rails , so states could not require a boat to have them).

Vanderpool v. Edmondson (driver) and his father (owner of pontoon boat), Tracker Marine, Brunswick Corporation, the retailer of the pontoon boat and motor; and others.
2002 WL 32059024 (E.D.Tenn.) AND Vanderpool v. Edmondson, 2004 WL 1873720
(E.D.Tenn., Jan 05, 2004) (NO. 1:01-CV-147)

On May 20, 2000, R. Vanderpool (a young lady) was a passenger on a pontoon boat owned by J. Edmondson and operated by his son, R. Emondson. At approximately 6:30 p.m., while the boat was anchored in the Tennessee River, the young lady was holding onto the front of the deck of the pontoon boat with her hand and treading water. R. Edmondson suddenly started the motor, moving the boat forward. The young lady lost her grip on the boat; the boat passed over her. She was struck by the boat motor.

The courts first ruled if Federal Admirality Jurisdiction applied. The accident occurred on a slough with ties to the Tennessee River. The Edmonson’s argued the court did not have jurisdiction. The court ruled it did on July 31, 2002.

Later, Brunswick successfully moved for a non-jury trial.

Mary Jo Wall, et al v. Calcasuieu Parish Police Jury
Court of Appeals of Louisiana, 3rd Circuit
2002-0451 (La.App. 3 Cir. 12/11/02);
833 So. 2d 528; 2002 La. App. LEXIS 3744
December 11, 2002, Rendered

Kenneth J. Wall, age 39, was swimming in a marked swimming area on Prien Lake off Israel LaFleur beach (south of Interstate 210) on 6 Sept 1999 when he was stuck by an unidentified boat. An autopsy reported he died “as the result of chop-type injuries of the head from a boat’s propeller.” The suit alleges there were not enough buoys and rope marking the swimming area. At issue was if maritime law applied to a swimmer in navigable waters. The case was ruled to fall under maritime law.

LaPlante v. Wellcraft Marine Corp.
94 Cal.App.4th 282, 114 Cal.Rptr.2d 196, 2002 A.M.C. 130,
Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 16,234, 01 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 10,198,
2001 Daily Journal D.A.R. 12,715 (Cal.App. 2 Dist., Dec 06, 2001) (NO. B145562)

Then, 11 years old, LaPlante was a 1998 was passenger sitting in the bow of a Wellcraft / Genmar boat. He was thrown from the boat and struck by it (NOT by the propeller). Suit focused on lack of hand holds / rails. Defense used Federal Pre emption and cited the prop guard cases (they said the Coast Guard did not say all boats needed a hand holds/rails , so states could not require a boat to have them).

Haley Shannon (a minor) v. Phillip Rhodes.
Fifth Appellate District in Court of Appeals of State of California. 1 October 2001 filed for partial publication.
On 27 Aug 1997 Rhodes tooks the Shannons boating on Lake Kaweah. Haley, then age six, fell overboard and was struck by the propeller.

Australian Case

2 Dec 2000 Gold Coast Bulletin (Australia) “$700,000 Paid Out for Diving Accident” reports the results of a recent trial involving a diver being struck by a propeller. Thomas Abrey of Norfolk, England was hit on his left forearm by the outboard motor propeller of a safety tender while he was snorkeling of Keppel Island. he was taken to Rockhampton Base Hospital then airlifted to Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital. As a result of his injuries his left arm was amputated below the elbow. Mr. Abrey sued Keppel Tourist Services Pty Ltd (operator of the tender), and the driver alleging the company failed to use a guard similar to those used with surf lifesaving boats that would have prevented the accident.

Lady v. Neal Glaser Marine
66 F.Supp.2d 818 (S.D.Miss., May 07, 1999) (NO. 1:98CV168RG)
228 F.3d 598, 2000 A.M.C. 2958, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 15,908 (5th Cir.(Miss.),
Sep 26, 2000) (NO. 99-60382)

Decision was affirmed by the 5th Circuit Court 228 F. 3d 598 (5th Circuit 2000). S. Lady fell from a PWC in a near boat collision and was ran over by a friend following in a boat on May 7, 1995 at Bayou La Croix in Hancock County, Mississippi. He sued the dealer (Neal Glaser Marine) and OMC the boat manufacturer. The dealer was later dropped from the suit. The suit was filed in Mississippi State Court. OMC received Summary Judgment (case dismissed on preemption of Federal Boating Safety Act).

David A Parket Enterprises v. Jack Wayne Templeton Sr
Circuit Court of Virginia Beach March 1, 1996.

Trial involves on an employee of a jet ski rental operation using a boat to pick up a person after they fell from a jet ski. Testimony focused on determining if the person who fell from the jet ski and was struck by the boat’s propeller was struck by a “rotating” propeller or if the propeller was at rest. If the propeller was rotating, it was seen as an indication the employee manuevered the boat too close while under power.

Ard v. Jensen and Brunswick Corp, and Glastron
996 S.W.2d 594, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 15,625 (Mo.App. W.D., May 04, 1999) (NO. WD 56041).

On May 29, 1988 a person in the water preparing to ski was backed over by the boat.

Becker v. U.S. Marine – Becker v. U.S. Marine Co.
88 Wash.App. 103, 943 P.2d 700, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 15,076 (Wash.App. Div. 1, Sep 22, 1997) (NO. 38568-2-I).

Passenger was riding in the bow seating area of boat pulling a skier. Skier fell, driver turned the boat sharply and passenger fell in. Passenger was struck by the hull and propeller.

14 Aug 1996 Dallas Morning News “Lake Crash Victim Sues State, Marina” reports Stephanie Booker who received severe facial lacerations in a propeller strike on Lake Lewisville (TX) on 18 June 1995 (sometimes the accident is listed as 17 June) from a high performance boat that hit the vessel she was in and ran. She has filed suit seeking $50 million from the Texas Wildlife Dept and several businesses associated with a marina near the site of the accident. She claims the accident happened in a “No Wake” area near the marina and suggests the marina was negligent in marking the No Wake Zone, lighting it and enforcing it. The suit also names two unknown boat operators and a list of businesses thought to be associated with Scott’s Pier 121 Marina.

Lewis v. Brunswick
U.S. Court of Appeals. Eleventh Circuit. No. 96-8130. AND 107 F.3d 1494, 65 USLW 2642, 1997 A.M.C. 1921,
Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 14,903, 97 FCDR 1601, 10 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. C 767.

Lewis v. Brunswick involved an Oklahoma teenage girl who fell into the water and was fatally injured by a propeller. The decision in favor of Brunswick was upheld in the 11 Circuit and the family pushed the case to the Supreme Court. The case was settled for an estimated $700K (probably small in terms of the legal expenses) but sets a new precedent for Brunswick which had not backed down from a prop case once it was underway. Perhaps they felt the court was about to reverse their long standing federal preemption defense? This case should particularly interest boat builders in new methods of protecting people in the water. UPDATELINK Lewis v. Brunswick 11th Circuit Court Opinion

Sharon A. Southern, et al v. John M. Lyons, et al.
Number 97-19
Court of Appeals of Louisiana, 3rd Circuit
97-19 (La.App. 3 Cir. 05/28/97);
696 So. 2d 128; 1997 La. App. LEXIS 1481
May 28, 1997, Decided

A man was getting ready to take some boys from his Sunday School bus route for a boat ride on June 8, 1991 on Buhlow Lake in Pineville LA. He dropped then off at the lake while he on the way to his house to pickup his boat. The boys started playing in the water and one of them, Donnie Free, was struck by the propeller of a boat operated by Mr. Lyons. The boy received “extensive lacerations over the back of his left hip, shallower lacerations up his back and under his left arm pit, and lacerations and abrasions on his left thigh.” His mother, Sharon Southern, sued the boat operator. The initial award placed the boy and operator both at 50 percent fault. This appeal reduced the boy’s fault to 20 percent.

Eileen Anne Neely v. Club Med Management Services.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. NOs. 93-2069 and 93-2102.
On Appeal From the United States District Court For the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
(D.C. Civ. No. 91-cv-07416). Argued: August 8, 1994.
Reargued in banc February 7, 1995. (Filed July 26, l995 ).

An employee of Club Med, she was injured when sucked into the propellers of a scuba diving vessel, the Long John at St. Lucia.

Ryan v. Brunswick Corp.
454 Mich. 20, 557 N.W.2d 541, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 14,862 (Mich., Jan 28, 1997) (NO. 102762, 14) AND 557 N.W.2d 541

Plaintiff-appellant’s husband, died on September 23, 1989, from injuries received when he was struck by a propeller while he was swimming.

In Ryan v. Brunswick the Michigan Supreme Court affirmed: 209 Mich App 519; 531 NW2d 793 (1995).
Another version of the case was reported online in Lawyer’s Weekly.

Allen v. Minnstar (Wellcraft / Genmar) and OMC
Allen v. Minnstar, Inc., 8 F.3d 1470, 1997 A.M.C. 2111, 27
Fed.R.Serv.3d 36, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 13,678 (10th Cir.(Utah), Nov 01,
1993) (NO. 90-4004, 90-4199)
U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Filed 11 Oct. 1996.

Allen went for a midnight boat ride with some friends August 30, 1985 on Lake Powell in a 1978 Wellcraft Marine, Model 165 Airslot I/O, powered by an OMC 140 horsepower inboard/outboard engine. He was sitting in the front of the boat when the driver made a sharp turn to avoid an obstacle, was ejected and struck by the propeller. His leg was later amputated above the knee.

Moss v. Outboard Motor Corporation
915 F.Supp. 183, 1996 A.M.C. 1409, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 14,626, 96 Daily Journal D.A.R. 4566

Passenger and her sister were boating in a pontoon boat on Lake Almanor, California on August 6, 1993. Passenger allegedly sustained emotional distress after her sister fell into the water from the front deck of a pontoon boat and was later struck by the propeller.

Carstensen v. Brunswick Corp.
49 F.3d 430, 63 USLW 2608, 1996 A.M.C. 248, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 14,166 (8th Cir.(Neb.), Mar 03, 1995) (NO. 94-2982).

A lady fell from a boat and was struck by its propeller.

Seymour v. Brunswick Corp.
655 So.2d 892, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 14,228 (Miss., May 11, 1995) (NO. 91-CA-01136-SCT)

Accident which occurred on August 8, 1982. A young lady went to Grenada Lake with the boat driver and six other friends. Boat was a 19 foot Glastron with a 165hp MerCruiser owned by the boat driver. Shortly after 6:00 p.m. the young lady and two other girls fell from a towed inner tube and she was later injured by the propeller of the tow boat.

This case was later written up as a test question in a law exam at Gonzaga.

Brown v. Outboard Motor Corporation
1995 WL 795704 (E.D.Mich.), 1995 A.M.C. 2792
Injured while “tubing” in the Detroit River.

de Cruz v. H2O Houseboats.
38 ATLA L. Rep. 386.
(Dec. 1995) No. LR2558.

The Case involving Emilio de Cruz, who was struck by a houseboat propeller. His mother went on to found SPIN.

Moore v. Brunswick Bowling & Billiards Corp.
889 S.W.2d 246, 62 USLW 2688, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 13,856 (Tex., Apr 20, 1994) (NO. D-3997).
853 S.W. 2nd, pages 842-850.

A girl swimming on May 4, 1986 was struck by a propeller.

Fitzpatrick v. Madonna and Outboard Marine Corporation
FlgFitzpatrick v. Madonna, 424 Pa.Super. 473, 623 A.2d 322,
Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 13,574 (Pa.Super., Feb 23, 1993) (NO. 2588 PHILA 1991).

On afternoon of August 10, 1980, a 16 year old young man was swimming with his sister and several friends at Pat Cong Creek Cove, near Ocean City, New Jersey. He was struck and killed by a motorboat operated by M. Madonna. Fitzpatrick and a friend were swimming in fairly deep water when the motorboat, which was being accelerated passed over the area in which Fitzpatrick was swimming.

Seven Crown Resorts, Inc., dba Bridge Bay Resort v. James Arthur Canten; Delta Upsilon, Stacey Lynn Epping.
No. 93-17196. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
57 F.3d 771; 1995 U.S. App. Lexis 14433; 1995 AMC 2087; 95 Cal. Daily Op. Service 4423;
95 Daily Journal DAR 7599.

Stacey Epping houseboat propeller accident 7 May 1992 at Bridge Bay Resort on Lake Shasta.

Pree v. Brunswick Corp.
983 F.2d 863, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 13,476 (8th Cir.(Mo.), Jan 07, 1993) (NO. 91-3402

On July 5, 1985, a passenger fell from the back of a 1985 Wellcraft Scarab II pleasure boat. Several friends spent the July 4th weekend at the Lake of the Ozarks. On the morning of July 5th, at about 1:15 or 1:30 a.m., a driver attempted to dock the boat which was powered by twin Mercury Marine 330 horsepower motors in some rain, choppy water and lightening. While backing into the slip, the driver asked the passenger to “get the back of the boat.” Passenger was standing on the swim platform, reached out to grab the dock pole, the boat suddenly moved forward and passenger fell in and was injured by a propeller.

Shield v. Bayliner Marine Corp.
822 F.Supp. 81, 1993 A.M.C. 2502 (D.Conn., May 12, 1993) (NO. CIV. N-87-221(WWE))
776 Federal Supplement pages 1579-1583.

In June 1985,a fourteen year old boy fell from the bow of a boat on the Potomac River (under maritime law) and was fatally injured by the propeller.

Farner v. Brunswick Corp.
239 Ill.App.3d 885, 607 N.E.2d 562, 180 Ill.Dec. 493, 61 USLW 2564,
Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 13,523 (Ill.App. 2 Dist.,
Dec 17, 1992) (NO. 2-91-1432).

Lady was struck on July 14, 1983.

Calabro v. Outboard Motor Corporation
599 So.2d 717, 17 Fla. L. Weekly D1331,
Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 13,238
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Third District. No. 91-2221. May 26, 1992.

Amateur miniboat racer was thrown from his boat and struck by another boat’s propeller.

Mowery v. Mercury Marine, Div. of Brunswick Corp.
773 F.Supp. 1012, 1993 A.M.C. 2694 (N.D.Ohio, Aug 13, 1991) (NO. 1:90 CV 1212).

Person on an inflatable raft on Lake Erie was struck by a propeller at approximately 9:30pm August 7, 1988.

Veal v. Teleflex, Inc.
586 So.2d 188, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 12,958
(Ala., Aug 23, 1991) (NO. 88-1605, 88-1606, 88-1661, 88-1662)

September 1, 1986 L. Veal, another man and J. Stidham, owner of the bass boat, were heading for their fishing spot on Bear Creek Lake when the steering system allegedly broke causing the boat to begin “end swapping.” All three passengers were ejected and the boat began to move in a circle. Veal, not wearing a life jacket, drowned and the boat owner was decapitated by the propeller. The third man was rescued by a nearby boat.

1 August 1991 Business Law Brief “Defense Verdict After Settlement” reports on the McGrath v. Boston Whaler propeller injury suit in which a man lost both his legs after being thrown from a vessel in a high speed turn and being struck by the propeller. Yamaha (manufacturer of the engines) said it was not practical to “fix guards” (probably trying to say its not practical to affix them to their drives). During the trial, the plaintiff settled, the judge told the jury of the settlement, and the jury gave a unanimous verdict for the boat owner and the engine distributor on 10 May 1991. Lexis Nexis has a summary of this brief.

Beech Through Beech v. Outboard Marine Corp.
584 So.2d 447, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 12,892 (Ala., May 03, 1991) (NO. 89-1815-CER)

An eight-year-old boy who sues through father for allegations he was run over while swimming with his father by a boat powered by an 88 horsepower OMC Johnson outboard motor.

Elliott v. Brunswick Corp.
903 F.2d 1505, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 12,543 (11th Cir.(Ala.),
Jun 25, 1990) (NO. 89-7190).

Juvenile was injured by a rotating propeller after they jumped at night from pier into the water next to a boat.

Kunreuther v. Outboard Marine Corporation
715 F.Supp. 1304, 1990 A.M.C. 727 (E.D.Pa., Jun 23, 1989)
(NO. CIV.A.87-8330)

On June 3, 1987, a lady and her husband were vacationing in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The lady was struck by a propeller while snorkeling in Jamaican waters and died the next day. The boat was a 22 foot Mako with a 175 horsepower Evinrude outboard motor.

Davis v. Brunswick Corp.
854 F.Supp. 1574, 1995 A.M.C. 120. July 16, 1989.
A lady swimming was struck by a boat driven by a relative and injured by the propeller.

Fields v. Outboard Marine Corporation
776 F.Supp. 1579, 1993 A.M.C. 1215, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 13,101
United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Albany Division. Civ. No. 90-4-ALB/AMER(DF). Oct. 30, 1991.

Boat driver lost control of boat in Wakulla County, Florida on July 3, 1989 when it hit a submerged object and a lady fell overboard. She was struck by the propeller.

Mulhern v. Outboard Marine Corp.
146 Wis.2d 604, 432 N.W.2d 130, 135 (1988).

Accident allegedly caused by defect in design of throttle that allegedly caused a boat to lunge forward, throwing passenger partly out of the boat where they came in contact with the propeller.

A 14 August 2007 report from Lawrence E. Thibault of Biomechanics, Inc. to Stephen Bolden (attorney that represented several people struck by propellers) includes a brief analysis of 19 propeller cases, including sketches of the accident, accident date, location, and the attorneys involved.

Case Name – Accident Date – Accident Location – Attorneys

  1. Fitzpatrick v. Madonna & OMC. – 10 Aug. 1980 Ocean City NJ. – Bolden
  2. Boyd v. Chrysler. – 6 Sept 1982. Tenkiller Lake, Oklahoma. – Scoufoa/Bolden
  3. Gburek v. Starcraft & OMC. – 12 Aug. 1982. Crystal Lake, Michigan. – Sherr/Bolden
  4. Griffith v. Mercury. – 17 Aug 1985. Sandy Hook, New Jersy. – Bolden
  5. Oldfield, Pallis Pitcavage v. Mastercraft. – 18 Jun 1983. Harvey’s Lake, Pennsylvania. – Schaub/Shertz
  6. Eaker v. AMF. – 29 June 1978. Chicago Illinois area. – Miller
  7. Ferguson v. Cross & Larson. – 11 Aug 1984. L.A. River Chanel. – Calcagnie
  8. Madison, et al. v. Taylor’s Water Toys, et. al. – 25 Aug 1985. Hot Springs Arkansas. – Rogers
  9. Faul v. Joss. – 11 July 1981. Fox Lake, Ingleside, Illinois. – Bolden
  10. Elliot v. Mercury Marine, et. al. – 24 July 1982. Tennessee River, Birmingham Alabama. – Samples
  11. Schwab v. Mercury Marine. – 16 Sept 1979. Lake Lou Yaeger, Missouri. – Armstrong
  12. Farner v. Fishleigh, et. al. – 14 Jun 1983. Fox River, Algonquin, Illinois. – Flaherty
  13. Mackay v. OMC. – 28 Aug 1979. Pocasset River, Massachusetts. – Cantor
  14. Robertson v. Teleflex Marine. – 4 Aug 1985. Sam Rayburn Lake, Houston, Texas. – Stevens
  15. Chrzanowski v. Boston Whaler. – 8 Aug 1981. Lake Macatawa Channel, Holland, Michigan. – McArdle
  16. De Bevec v. OMC. – August 1982. Folson Lake, Sacramento, California. – Anton/Klein
  17. Nelford v. Glabman v. OMC, et. al. – 8 Sept 1985. Burro Beach, Maricopa City, Arizona. – Cohen/Peshkin
  18. Walser v. Brunswick Corp., et. al. – 6 July 1985. Lake Meredith, Texas. – Bolden/Smith/Wilcox
  19. Higginbotham v. OMC, et al. – 22 July 1984. Grapevine Reservoir, Texas. – Bolden

Bailey v. Boatland
609 S.W.2d 743 Rehearing Dec. 17, 1980.

Surviving widow and two adult children of 16 foot bass boat owner sued the seller. Their husband / father was killed in May of 1973 when the boat struck a partially submerged tree stump. He was ejected, the boat turned sharply and circled back toward the stump. He was killed by the propeller, but it was unclear if he was struck when first ejected or after the boat circled back.

Woltering v. Outboard Marine Corporation
615 North Eastern Reporter, 2nd Series, pages 86-89.

Stacey Lee Grace was a passenger on a pleasure craft on the Mississippi River near St. Charles County, Missouri on April 27, 1989. She was thrown from the boat and apparently struck by the propeller of the outboard motor.

John Henry Harris, et al v. W.O. Bardwell dba Bardwell Marina, et al.
No. 13876.
Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Second Circuit
373 So. 2d 777; 1979 La. App. LEXIS 2840
June 29, 1979.

Mr. Harris was with his daughter and some friends in a boat on Lake Bistineau on 13 Aug 1974. They were going about 15mph when an insect stung him on the face, he flinched, the outboard turned abruptly, his pedestal seat broke loose, he was thrown into the water and struck by the prop in and around his right knee, and his right shoulder and forearm. The defendants thought the initial award was high, this court affirmed that award.

Paul R. Roy v. William B. Swayze, Jr., et al.
No. 6941.
Court of Appeal of Louisiana, First Circuit
194 So. 2d 109; 1966 La. App. LEXIS 4459
December 28, 1966.

On 12 June 1964, a woman was learning to water ski on Blind River, about eight miles upstream of Lake Maurepas. She had fallen and the boat, operated by Mr. Swayze, circled to pick her up for another try. Mr. Roy was also skiing. The boat stopped to pick him up first. Mr. Roy thought the boat was stopped and he wanted to pull a cushion from the front of the boat for extra floatation as his ski belt was not providing enough floation. He reached over the side into the front seat and started to kick off with his legs, but his right leg went under the boat and was severely cut by the outboard motor’s propeller. The boat operator reports he thinks Mr. Roy was picked up first and chose to hang onto the side of the boat while the boat moved to the position of the woman learning to ski, as it got close to her, he pushed off and was injured. The case was found in favor of the defendants.

Lyon K. Loomis M.D. v. The Travlers Insurance Company et al.
No. 1620.
Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit
169 So. 2d 544; 1964 La. App. LEXIS 2107
December 7, 1964.

Hick J. Cheramie, Jr. was injured by a boat propeller when they fell from a boat on 23 Oct 1960. They were struck in the right arm by the motor’s propeller. Later, Dr. Loomis performed surgery on the right arm. Afterwards, the patient died in a way unrelated to the surgery or the event. Travelers Insurance refused to pay the patient’s approximately $4,000 medical bill to Dr. Loomis. The lower court found those charges excessive and was affirmed by this court.

Hightower v. Cox
418 South Eastern Reporter, 2nd Series, pages 613-616.

A houseboat case.

Propeller cases below come from Aquarisk site long ago:

  • Rendall v. Karabas – Foot severed by boat’s propellers
  • Evans v. Bennett – Passenger fell overboard and was run over
  • Levin v. Bates – Boat driver ran over a fallen skier
  • Cole v. Eubanks & Manatee County – Boat ran over a skindiver, leg was amputated
  • Redmon v. Carr – waterskier boarding the boat injured leg on propeller
  • Schenck v. Walt Disney World Ferryboat ran over a patron in rental boat
  • Koble v. Tabor – swimmer ran over by a boat
  • Meyer v. City of Clearwater – Boat ran over swimmer near buoys
  • Stamper v. Goldring/Hewes – Boat without kill-switch ran over the driver
  • Riley v. Zodiac of North America – Boat ran over ejected driver resulting in propeller injuries
  • Raines v. Renken Boat Manufacturing – Boat without kill-switch struck ejected driver
  • Kavezadeh v. Zodiac of France – Woman injured by propeller when fell from a pontoon boat
  • Caban v. Walt Disney World – Boy injured arm when caught in propeller guard
  • Ramsey v. Catfish Bay Marina – Propeller of rented boat injures person fallen from tube
  • Higgins v. Ocean City Amusement Park – Skeeter boat flipped, propeller injured rider

Propeller injury legal cases below came from Aquarisk’s Aquatic Risk Management site in early 2008.

  • Phillips v. Burkhardt. Waterskiing. His case start date 31 May 2004.
  • Wayne Meylor/Neal Meylor. Waterskiing. Iowa District Court for Plymouth County. His start date 29 Nov. 2003.
  • Forsyeth v. Gavin. PWC collision w/boat. His start date 26 Apr. 2000.
  • Bishop Radunsky v. Thyrre. Snorkler hit by propeller. 11th Judicial Circuit Court, Dade Co. FL. His start date 24 May 1998.
  • Rendall v. Karabas. Foot severed. Circuit Court, 11th Judicial Circuit, Dade County, FL General Jurisdiction Division. His start date 14 Aug 1989.
  • Giobbi v. Lahaina Divers. Woman jumped from dive boat. U.S. District Court for District of Hawaii. His start date 31 Dec. 1969.