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Yamaha is defendant in PWC crash lawsuit

Opening arguments took place last week in Palm Beach County, Fla., in a lawsuit against Yamaha brought by parents of a teen who died and another who was gravely injured in a 2005 accident involving a WaveRunner.

During opening arguments, a lawyer representing Samantha Archer, who sustained brain damage and suffers a multitude of physical problems, said he will seek nearly $7 million for past and future medical bills. That does not include the millions he and lawyers representing Jaysell Perez's parents will seek for pain and suffering after the teen's death, The Palm Beach Post reported.

Yamaha, the WaveRunner's manufacturer, set the stage for the accident by ignoring years of warnings about flaws in the steering system, lawyer Robert Baker said.

In March 2005, having celebrated Easter Sunday collecting colored eggs on Dr. Eugene Holly's waterfront lawn, Archer and Perez allegedly falsely assured Holly that they knew how to operate his WaveRunner and took off.

Five minutes later, 14-year-old Perez was dead and 15-year-old Archer was gravely injured when the WaveRunner collided with a boat.

A lawyer representing Yamaha acknowledged the stakes.

"They will ask for millions and millions and millions and millions of dollars," Rick Mueller told the newspaper.

Lawyers for Archer and the Perezes said the request is justified.

"The girls turned right in front of a boat. You know why?" said David Kleinberg, who represents Archer. "They couldn't steer."

Mueller, who gave an abbreviated version of an opening statement he will resume today, agreed that the accident was avoidable.

If the girls had not told Holly that they knew how to operate a water scooter, Mueller said, Holly would not have let them take it out on the Intracoastal Waterway, which was crowded with holiday boat traffic. Further, Mueller said, Archer was not 16, the legal age to drive water scooters in Florida.

"Sadly and regrettably, an underage, unlicensed, untrained and inexperienced young girl was out in an environment, a very congested waterway. That's why the accident happened," he told the newspaper.

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