Having represented marinas and lake repair facilities, attorney Doug Landau was interested in the recent Trial magazine case report from the Richmond Circuit Court. While Landau was successful on behalf of marina clients in injury and disability claims, the defendant marine repair facility was not so fortunate in this March 20, 2020 case.
The facts of this case:
A customer took his Polaris Jet Ski to the marine repair facility. The technician drained gasoline from the watercraft, but replaced the fuel cap in such a way that it allowed gasoline to spill into the jet ski’s bilge. When the customer got the jet ski from the repair facility, he turned the engine on and it exploded. The customer was thrown more than 20 feet in the air, and knocked out cold. His injuries included a spinal fracture in his lower back. The 67-year-old patient was put in the hospital for several weeks.
The customer had $140,000 in medical bills in addition to $187,000 in lost income. While he was able to return to his job as a self-employed hairdresser, Virginia allows for a loss of earning capacity claim, separate and apart from lost earnings. The hairdresser claimed he could not longer work as many hours due to reduced stamina and the nerve damage in his foot.
The lawsuit maintained that the marine repair technician negligently maintained the jet ski by allowing the fuel to leak into the bilge. He also alleged that the marine repair folks failed to clean up this field fuel. This led to a build up of fuel vapors, which ignited when the customer started up the jet ski. The parties settled for $2 million. The injured victim was represented by Landau’s friends Rob Stoney, Chidi James and Julie Porto of Fairfax, Virginia and Mike Kernback of Manassas, Virginia. Lawyer Landau is currently working with experienced injury trial lawyers Stoney, James and Porto on other cases in Northern Virginia.