In recent months Thompson Coburn has continued its longtime litigation work on behalf of Yamaha Motor Corporation USA, with two successful case resolutions in August.
In the first case, a federal judge in South Carolina granted summary judgment to Yamaha in a personal injury case brought by a woman who was injured while riding a Yamaha VXS WaveRunner®. In 2012, the woman was the fourth passenger on a three-person personal watercraft (PWC). The product carried a warning to wear protective clothing. She did not read the warnings and was not wearing protective clothing. She fell off the craft upon acceleration by a 10-year-old operator and sustained severe orifice injuries. The plaintiff sued in strict liability and negligence and sought punitive damages from Yamaha.
The judge excluded the warnings opinions of the plaintiff’s expert due to a lack of “specific relevant research or studies” to support the opinions. She also noted that, because the plaintiff ignored the warnings, a different warning would not have made a difference. The judge, having eliminated the failure to warn claim, deemed the warnings adequate as a matter of law. As such, the design defect claim was dismissed as well.
The ruling was covered by South Carolina Lawyers Weekly and the BNA Product Safety and Liability Reporter.
In the second case, Yamaha successfully settled a wrongful death suit on the first day of trial in Florida. The plaintiff, a tourist from Rhode Island, sustained a severe head injury after falling from a rented Yamaha WaveRunner® driven by his wife. Two weeks later, after surgery on his facial injuries, he died. During expert discovery, motions filed by Thompson Coburn led to the exclusion of key biomechanical opinions against Yamaha. The plaintiff settled with Yamaha for a significantly small amount of money, which left the rental company as an unprepared co-defendant. It settled with the plaintiff later that same day.
Although we would like to hear from you, we cannot represent you until we know that doing so will not create a conflict of interest. Also, we cannot treat unsolicited information as confidential. Accordingly, please do not send us any information about any matter that may involve you until you receive a written statement from us that we represent you (an ‘engagement letter’).
By clicking the ‘ACCEPT’ button, you agree that we may review any information you transmit to us. You recognize that our review of your information, even if you submitted it in a good faith effort to retain us, and, further, even if you consider it confidential, does not preclude us from representing another client directly adverse to you, even in a matter where that information could and will be used against you. Please click the ‘ACCEPT’ button if you understand and accept the foregoing statement and wish to proceed.