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Thu 22nd Dec | 2022

Clark Fountain Obtains Confidential Settlement After Client Suffers Partial Amputation

Personal Injury Product liability BY

Following the phenomenal Jury Verdict against a major boat manufacturer, attorneys Donald R. Fountain, Ben J. Whitman, and Shana P. Nogues, and Georgia Trial Attorneys Drew Ashby and Max Thelen have successfully secured a significant confidential settlement for a client that suffered a partial foot amputation as a result of a defective boat.

In the summer of 2020, our client, an experienced boater, and his wife purchased a slightly used vessel from a local boat dealership in Central Georgia. In the days following their purchase, our clients towed the boat to a nearby lake to enjoy a day of water skiing and wakeboarding with their young children.

On their way back to the dock, the boat’s engine suddenly began to overheat and release smoke from the motor before coming to a stop.

To determine the cause of the problem, our client entered the designated walkway and opened the motor hatch cover held open by hydraulic gas springs to investigate further. 

While standing above the motor looking down, a wake from a passing boat rocked our client’s boat causing the motor hatch cover to violently slam down on his foot like a guillotine, locking in place and trapping his foot.

As a result, our client suffered significant fractures to multiple toes that required emergency surgery and pain management treatment. Despite numerous surgical attempts to save our client’s toes, they were unable to restore blood flow to the affected area, and partial amputation of the foot was required to save the remainder of the foot and lower leg.

Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather, Littky-Rubin & Whitman and Ashby | Thelen | Lowry were retained to investigate the cause of the unexpected and violent slamming shut of the motor hatch. The team established several safer alternative designs that were sufficient to maintain the motor hatch in an open position, were technologically available and in use by other boat manufacturers.

The defect presentation convinced the boat dealer and manufacturer that it was advisable to settle the case before trial. The significant confidential settlement will provide future medical treatment and compensation for his debilitating injuries.

Although the public is very aware of the stringent design and testing safety standards that apply to motor vehicles and other forms of public transportation, most people do not realize that boats designed for personal and recreational need only satisfy a few basic minimum safety requirements.  In fact, many boats are designed without any licensed professional engineer oversight or design approvals.

About Clark Fountain

Based in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather, Littky-Rubin & Whitman has been representing clients in all areas of personal injury litigation, including automobile and trucking crashes, product liability, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and negligent security law for nearly four decades.

The prestigious plaintiff personal injury firm has a longstanding history of successfully litigating complex cases and its phenomenal track record of obtaining record-setting verdicts and settlements for their injured clients in Florida and throughout the United States.