Articles Posted in Boating Accident

The following blog entry is written to illustrate an example of a personal injury case. Reviewing this kind of lawsuit should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this personal injury lawsuit and its proceedings.)

INJURIES: Lydia alleged mild traumatic brain injury, which caused memory loss and problems with her focus and concentration; disc herniations at L4-L5 and L5-S1; chronic pain syndrome; and emotional distress.

FACTS/CONTENTIONS

According to court records: On August 25, 2004, defendants Jane and Samantha Berlin rented a boat and inner-tubes from plaintiff ABC Boat Rentals. The towline of the inner-tube became caught in the steering mechanism of the boat, the cable that triggered the forward and reverse gears was damaged, and the fuel line was broken, leaving the boat unable to be steered. When the boat’s throttle handle was shifted into “forward,” the boat banked sharply to the left. The boat continued to circle uncontrollably and struck defendants as they attempted to lunge from the inner-tube. Both teenagers were struck by the boat, but Jane was caught in the rapidly spinning propeller.

Following an open-water rescue, Jane Berlin was brought to UCSD Medical Center and emergently admitted.

Plaintiff filed a lawsuit seeking to exonerate or limit its liability because Amy Berlin rearranged the towlines on the vessel from the “Y” arrangement installed by plaintiff.

Defendants claimed that plaintiff never instructed them on how to attach the towlines and that the towlines were never arranged in a “Y” formation.

CLAIMED INJURIES
According to court records:

Jane Berlin: Skull fracture; teeth; jaw fracture; shoulder fracture; neck fracture; neck lacerations; shoulder lacerations; arm lacerations; traumatic brain injuries; post-traumatic stress disorder; headaches; emotional distress. Samantha Berlin: Leg and foot bruising.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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The following blog entry is written to illustrate an example of a personal injury case. Reviewing this kind of lawsuit should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this personal injury lawsuit and its proceedings.)

INJURIES: Lydia alleged mild traumatic brain injury, which caused memory loss and problems with her focus and concentration; disc herniations at L4-L5 and L5-S1; chronic pain syndrome; and emotional distress.

Facts:

On Aug. 20, 2005, plaintiff Lydia Harris, 15, a student, was involved in a boating accident in El Dorado County.

Lydia was attending a weeklong retreat at a lake through her church. At the time of the accident, Lydia and another girl were being pulled by a boat on a Manta Ray, which is an inflatable device shaped like the eponymous sea creature that is designed to be pulled on the water’s surface and to fly above the water’s surface when the boat achieves a certain speed. Hansen fell off the Manta Ray when it flew above the water’s surface unexpectedly, causing her to fall into the water.

The church’s youth pastor, Kirk Oven, owned the Manta Ray and decided to use it at the retreat without teaching the youths how to use it. According to the plaintiff, the boat’s driver, Ted Erik, appeared to be inattentive to the environmental conditions and the girls on the Manta Ray.

Through a guardian ad litem, Lydia sued and then settled with the church and three church representatives for $275,000.

Lydia sued Sevylor Inc. — which designed, manufactured and sold the Manta Ray — alleging products liability. She charged that the Manta Ray was designed defectively and that it included insufficient warnings. She claimed that the design caused the product to be susceptible to unexpected and dangerous movements from environmental and driving conditions. She contended that the warnings did not notify the user of potential hazards resulting from environmental and driving conditions.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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The following blog entry is written to illustrate a common motion filed during civil litigation. Reviewing this kind of filing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this brain injury/boating accident lawsuit and its proceedings.)

MOVING PARTY’S CONCERN ABOUT PREJUDICE RESTS ON THE FAULTY ASSUMPTION THE JURY WILL NOT FOLLOW ITS INSTRUCTIONS

Moving Defendant cites no authority, statistics, or evidence of any kind for its claim that it will be deprived of “fair and unbiased deliberations on the issue of liability” simply because the jury will learn of the Injuries. This argument is counter-intuitive, in that it assumes that every case Involving disputed liability and significant damages will result in a plaintiff’s verdict simply because of the damages. This is both contrary to everyday experience with these kinds of cases, and also insulting to the jury.

1. Moving Defendant does not explain what it is about this case, as opposed to any other brain damage case, or perhaps a spinal cord injury case, that will cause the jury to ignore its oath and decide liability purely out of sympathy. The jury will be instructed pursuant to CACI 5000 as follows: You must not let bias, sympathy, prejudice, or public opinion influence your decision. Plaintiffs respectfully submit it would be inappropriate to assume that a properly-instructed jury will not follow the law.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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The following blog entry is written to illustrate a common motion filed during civil litigation. Reviewing this kind of filing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this brain injury/boating accident lawsuit and its proceedings.)

THE DAMAGES PHASE WILL NOT BE AS EXTENSIVE AS PLAINTIFFS BELIEVED AT THE TIME OF THE MOTION TO DESIGNATE THIS CASE AS COMPLEX LITIGATION

1. While Plaintiffs’ claimed injuries and damages are extensive, the fact is that the medical details of the injuries are essentially conceded. The boat propeller of the subject boat struck Ms. Hall in the head five to six times: she has suffered the loss of an eye, has undergone over a dozen surgeries to date, and sustained significant, permanent brain damage. Based upon materials received to date, it does not appear that the nature and extent of the injuries will be disputed.

2. There may well be a dispute as to Ms. Hall’s future medical and care needs, but this controversy will occupy the testimony of maybe 2-3 physicians / psychologists at trial, as well as two life care planners and two economists. This testimony regarding future medical needs will occupy one day, at most.

3. The same propeller struck Plaintiff Black in the lower body, causing three separate, deep lacerations of her left buttock and three strikes on her left elbow. As with Plaintiff Hall, these injuries are objective and easily-documented.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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The following blog entry is written to illustrate a common motion filed during civil litigation. Reviewing this kind of filing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this brain injury/boating accident lawsuit and its proceedings.)

4. The subject boat was defectively designed to accommodate the capacity of persons advertised as foreseeable and appropriate for use. There were inadequate and insufficient warning stickers and/or informational signs alerting consumers to the dangers of sitting in the bow of the boat. The product liability defendants knew of the boat’s propensity to take on water under certain conditions, and took no affirmative steps to warn, caution or advise prospective users. To the contrary, the boat was marketed by the manufacturer and the retailer as capable of safely carrying large numbers of people during normal operations.

5. The product liability defendants both failed to properly train, notify, educate, advise or otherwise communicate to prospective purchasers and users the risks inherent in the design of the boat.

6. Despite all of their knowledge, the product liability defendants failed to do any safety testing or load testing to determine the accurate and appropriate maximum number of passengers on the boat.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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The following blog entry is written to illustrate a common motion filed during civil litigation. Reviewing this kind of filing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this brain injury/boating accident lawsuit and its proceedings.)

1. Defendant National not only manufactured the subject boat, but designed, marketed and distributed it to retailers across the nation. National was wholly responsible for decisions relating to the types of warnings, cautionary signs and advisories posted in the boat, and for information distributed to boat purchasers in the boat’s Owner’s Manual.

2. Defendant National, Inc. operated a number of retail sales outlets, and was an authorized dealer in National products. National personnel sold the boat to Defendant White based on his representations about what type of boat he wanted and the uses for that boat. National personnel were also responsible for acquainting Mr. White with the boat, including a basic review of how to operate the boat. National personnel also attended training conducted by National regarding general knowledge of the boat and ways to market the boat. National personnel also advised customers as standard operating procedure that the capacity signs posted in the subject boat were informational only, and that so long as there were sufficient life jackets on board, the operator was not limited to the number of passengers displayed on those capacity signs. National personnel and employees of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the organization that “certified” the subject boat’s occupancy, have also testified that the occupancy stickers were not warning labels, but informational only.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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The following blog entry is written to illustrate a common motion filed during civil litigation. Reviewing this kind of filing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this boating accident/brain injury lawsuit and its proceedings.)

THERE WILL BE A DAMAGES TRIAL REGARDING DEFENDANT WHITE

Irrespective of Mr. White’s Insurance situation the fact is that Mr. White remains a defendant, and the jury will in all likelihood find him liable to some extent. This guarantees a damages trial no matter what happens with the product liability defendants.

There will therefore be two trials under any circumstances. Another factor to consider is that there will be additional time necessary to prepare for and begin a second trial on damages, even if it is only as to Defendant White. Plaintiffs obviously do not know in advance when the jury will complete deliberations, and therefore will not be able to schedule their physicians and other damages experts to appear at the drop of a hat. Most of the damages trial witnesses are physicians and other professionals whose calendars will need to be consulted in order to arrange the proper order of witnesses. This process will certainly increase the time needed to try this matter to conclusion, rather than saving any time.

THERE WILL VERY LIKELY BE A DAMAGES TRIAL AS TO THE PRODUCT LIABILITY DEFENDANTS

Plaintiffs allege defects in manufacture and design of the subject boat, including failure to warn, as to Defendants National. The subject boat was defectively designed, in that it specifically allowed users to carry 18 persons on board, which was clearly excessive.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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The following blog entry is written to illustrate a common motion filed during civil litigation. Reviewing this kind of filing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this boating accident/brain injury lawsuit and its proceedings.)

5. Moving Defendant never explains what it Is about this Individual case and these individual plaintiffs that will create a substantial risk the jury will ignore its oath and Instructions by awarding damages in the absence of liability. This Court, not to mention civil trial courts across the State, has tried catastrophic injury cases without habitual bifurcation. Plaintiffs are not aware of a single appellate case mandating bifurcation due to the significance of the individual plaintiff’s injuries.

6. As a practical matter, the jury will hear evidence in any liability phase regarding how Plaintiffs Hall and Black were injured as a result of the alleged design defects. At the very least, the jury will have to be told that both sustained injury as the result of a propeller impact, which will certainly create an image for the jury as to the injuries each Plaintiff likely sustained. This will also require testimony from retained biomechanical experts to explain the mechanism of injuries for each Plaintiff, and from other experts regarding the design and engineering defects that led to such injuries. Such testimony will necessarily depend to some extent on evidence of injuries sustained. Piquing the jury’s curiosity about such a core matter without permitting evidence of such injuries can only restrict the ability of the injured parties to plead their case.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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The following blog entry is written to illustrate a common motion filed during civil litigation. Reviewing this kind of filing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this boating accident lawsuit and its proceedings.)

3. Bifurcation will save little Court time, because the liability phase will be far more extensive. Even the moving Defendant concedes that it “does not dispute that [Plaintiffs] sustained propeller injury as a result of the accident …”

A. While extensive damages experts have been disclosed, Plaintiffs have been engaged in the process of winnowing the number of medical professionals who will be needed to provide testimony at trial. Expert disclosures are always over-inclusive, because of the need to cover all bases In the event that any of the physicians are on call or engaged in emergency procedures during the time they would otherwise have to testify.

B. Realistically, Plaintiffs’ medical presentation for all plaintiffs will not last more than 3-5 days, especially since there is no apparent dispute about the nature and extent of the injuries. It appears there will be some dispute regarding future medical and care needs, but this testimony will not take more than 1 day of the 3-5 days needed for the damages presentation.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

Continue reading

The following blog entry is written to illustrate a common motion filed during civil litigation. Reviewing this kind of filing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this boating accident lawsuit and its proceedings.)

Plaintiffs Betty Hall and Susan Black’s Opposition to Defendant National, Inc.’s, Motion to Bifurcate Liability From Damages at Trial
INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY OF PLAINTIFF’S POSITION

Plaintiffs respectfully oppose the motion to bifurcate liability and damages.

1. Irrespective of whether any of the product liability defendants avoid liability in this matter, bifurcation will not save Court time. There will be a damages trial as to Defendant David White under any set of circumstances. The interpleader complaint pertaining to the White insurance policy limits has been dismissed. At the very least the likelihood is very high that a reasonable jury will find Mr. White at fault to some degree in this matter. Absent a defense verdict as to White a damages phase of the trial is virtually guaranteed irrespective of anything that happens with the product liability defendants.

2. Through discovery, Plaintiffs have amassed significant evidence showing that the subject boat was defectively designed. This includes failures to warn of the exact type of occurrence involved herein.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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