Lawsuit points to builder in propeller accident

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A trial is under way in Reno, Nev., in the case of Robin Listman vs. Outboard Marine Corp., in which the plaintiff is suing for injuries from a propeller accident in 2001.

Listman was on Pyramid Lake in Washoe County, Nevada, on Aug. 18, 2001, boating with her in-laws on their 19-foot Four Winns 1995 boat powered by an OMC Cobra sterndrive.

A floating toy that belonged to her son blew into the water. The owner of the boat said he would help her retrieve the toy. He drove to the toy, the wind blew it behind the boat, and Listman stepped onto the swim platform to retrieve it and fell in, according to the Propeller Guard Information Center, which is covering the trial.

The owner put the boat in reverse and the propeller seriously injured Listman. She lost a portion of her right leg.

The case was filed in August 2003. In July 2008, summary judgment was issued in favor of Outboard Marine. However, in August 2009 the summary judgment was vacated and a decision was made to allow the case to proceed to trial after it was remanded by the state Supreme Court.

A mistrial was declared last year. Early this year, OMC unsuccessfully argued that the propeller accident took place on American Indian lands and that the court did not have jurisdiction, according to the center.

Click here to watch the trial on the Courtroom View Network


26 comments on “Lawsuit points to builder in propeller accident

  1. Capt'n Bald Bob

    Sounds like this lawsuit is a “Zombie Lawsuit” that keeps rising from the dead. And attacking the dead. Isn’t OMC out of business?

  2. Capt'n Bill

    So, does this mean we will soon see Ambulance Chasers encouraging people to sue Auto Manufacturers in cases where someone accidentally backed over someone? Is there no such thing as individual culpability? Are we not responsible for our own actions?

    Give me a break!

  3. marty

    I am so sick and tired of STUPID people filling law suits because they can’t except responsibility for their actions. If yopu want to sue somone file against the operator that stareted the motor and engaged the drive with you standing on the transom. Some people are alive only because it is illegal to shoot them.

  4. Caribou2u

    It’s too bad that OMC was forced to have to try a last ditch idea like “the accident happened on American Indian lands so the court has no jurisdiction.” Ms. Listman should be suing the driver of the boat, if anyone. Do they not know that propellers are dangerous? Consumers want to have their cake and eat it too…they want the fun, but refuse to take responsibility for the safe operation and the inherent dangers. Don’t tell me the driver didn’t know that putting a boat in gear while there is a person in the water close-by could chop off, mangle, drown, maim or kill someone? It’s not the court’s fault, OMC’s fault, or Four Winns’ fault if people can’t use common sense.

  5. boatgirl

    someone please help me to understand how anyone but the driver of the boat is responsible here!!!! Boat should have been put in neutral the second she fell in.

  6. Pablo Cruise

    It boggles the mind that the boat/engine/propeller manufacturer may be held liable for this type of accident. It certainly appears by the facts provided that this is clearly operator error. Did OMC manufacture their boat and it’s related parts contrary to current legal standards? It appears that the government wants to protect us from all evils except the government.

  7. vissionquest

    At some point if products can not be sold to idiots, we are going to need standardized testing for idiots before they buy anything.

  8. marky maypo

    there has to be a company out there building prop guards, that wants them mandated that all boats must have them, providing instant income for that company. I smell corruption of the justice system, AGAIN!

  9. steve mika

    how can a manufacturer be liable for someone elses stupidity.if the laws made it where you cannot sue if you do not use common sense,we would all see a reduction in our insurance rates.but since they dont maybe the propeller company should have had a sticker saying, if you are stupid and ignorant and do not posess common sense please do not buy our product or use it in any way. we have gone to far on political correctness. take responsibility for your actions and mistakes.

  10. Brett Shields

    How many billions of dollars are wasted annually because of bogus lawsuits. Time to change the rules and make “stupid” a criminal offense.
    I just got hit from behind by a saloon door closing in our marina kitchen. Should I sue the hinge manufacturer, door manufacturer, carpenter that installed it, The marina, the principals of the marina, and the person to whom I was conversing with that made me stop and talk in front of the door!!!!!!. I hope the plantiffs loose their tail. Their bottom feeders must not be real busy to take this case!

  11. Captain Kman

    So, if I owned a propeller driven aircraft, and I accidently drove it in to someone, that would mean that one, the airplane mfg. should be at fault, and two, that a propeller guard should be installed on the airplane. Too many stupid people are watching Harry’s Law and thinking that is real life.

  12. jpresley1

    If I get in an accident when I am driving drunk maybe I will sue the state for not having wider lanes on the road.

  13. Doug Reimel

    Hello everyone

    This is just the expected results of people being raised that there are no consequences for their actions. They are raised to think they will never be responsible. I have heard this before some place.

  14. MataO

    Let me see. . . Person falls in water behind boat. Driver puts boat into reverse. Runs over person. Shame on you OMC for making boats with reverse.

  15. Tommy Gun

    LoL! I have to agree with you all! At some time sociaty needs to amplify our sentiments and make people take responsibility for thier actions.

    Do you think the plaintiffs are Democrates or Republicans?

  16. Dale

    @ Capt’n Baid- yup, OMC is dead but the company that carried the insurance policy on them is still alive and kicking…. at least for now.

  17. john ennis

    Have you been injured in a boating accident thru the fault of the boat owner and have unable to collect? Call 1-800- Attorney John and I will seek your monitary award from the all the firms who made the boat guilty or not” Justice be dammed Attny John is on the side of his and your wallets.” Again that’s 1-800 Attny John..operators standing by to take your calls . Coming soon billboards on all major waterways.

  18. Aussie Marty

    From my memory, OMC are no longer around as I believe they are bankrupt. That being the case how do you get blood out of a stone
    No matter how I think about it or what ever scenario you want to look at how is it that the driver is not the one responsible for this?
    Oh yes I get it he has no money, but then again I assume neither has OMC since they are bankrupt

  19. john

    Apparently the actions of any and all involved hold no weight when accidents happen. We are no longer responsible for our own actions, income or heathcare. If we as a society cannot halt the frivolous law suits that increase the costs of daily living to a point where more than 30% of our population would be deemed “below the poverty level”, what benefit do we bring to society as a whole? This case proves without a reasonable doubt that the operator of the vessel was clearly not capable of running a boat. What case will be next? the squirrel population suing the car companies because they need to run out in front of the cars to get a nut?

  20. Ding

    Many of you have made your comments and I appreciate them all. You have the legal right to express your feelings. However, the OMC legal suit is not solved by our comments. What really should happen is for all of us, collectively, to begin taking back control of our country and our legislative/judicial system. Let’s all start demanding our politicians make legal changes that are sensible. We also should not vote for any lawyers that are running for public office. They are only doing so to make money for their profession. Same for bankers, etc. So, who do we want to run our country anyway? I suppose by having the pols sign an agreement to not enact laws that will financially benefit themselves or their industries. The penalty would be an immediate recall from office and a stiff fine. And, the media should investigate them too. We can make changes, but we need to become proactive instead of just whining on this website. I welcome critiques and thank you for reading my comments.

  21. Rod

    Boatgirl posted: someone please help me to understand how anyone but the driver of the boat is responsible here!!!! Boat should have been put in neutral the second she fell in.

    I agree with your first statement, but your second statement does not go far enough, as soon as the woman fell in the water the engine should have been TURNED OFF. Two problems with your advice, 1) with engine in Neutral, prop is still spinning, you would think it would stop…. but the prop still spins with enough force to injure someone due to drag or friction in the gears. 2) Engine in neutral makes it too easy to accidently engage forward or reverse. By shutting the engine off, there is no chance of accidental gear engagement.

    I theory I would agree with your advice to put engine in neutral, but in reality……. it is better to shut the engine off. Whatever one does though……. backing down with someone in the water right behind the boat was STUPID and CARELESS!! Clearly Operator error unless OMC was there somehow forcing the operator to shift into reverse and hit the woman. Since OMC was pretty much gone before August 2001, they would be pretty hard to blame! I’m sure that 4-WINNS had affixed a decal warning people not to use the swim step with the engine running. If someone is too stupid to obey that warning, how is it the builder’s fault??
    The fault for this “accident” should fall solely on the operator of the boat, assuming that the operator was told that the woman had fallen/jumped in, if he wasn’t told…. then he stil lis mostly at fault, but others would bear the fault of not letting him know.

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