Yamaha Motor Corp. USA plans to appeal a jury decision to award $39 million to two Florida families in a case involving a WaveRunner collision that left one teen dead and another injured.
“Yamaha is disappointed by the jury’s decision to find for the plaintiffs in this case involving a Yamaha WaveRunner and will pursue all appropriate legal remedies. The verdict is contrary to, and inconsistent with, other trials involving personal watercraft, and Yamaha believes that sufficient and substantial grounds exist to appeal this matter,” the company said in a statement e-mailed to Soundings Trade Only.
“Yamaha’s top priority is the safety of our customers, and we pride ourselves in the safety and quality of our products,” the company added. “The WaveRunner is a safe watercraft when driven responsibly.”
In June, a jury found Yamaha mostly responsible for a 2005 accident that killed 14-year-old Jaysell Perez and left Samantha Archer injured for life, according to a report in the Palm Beach Post. The jury also found 1 percent blame for both Archer and retired neurosurgeon Eugene Holly, who let the girls take out his WaveRunner.
Nicolette Archer, who took the girls to the party and gave them permission to ride, was held 10 percent responsible, the Palm Beach Post reported.
Attorney Robbie Baker, of Baker, Zimmerman & Perez, along with co-counsel David Kleinberg and Eric Ansel, accused Yamaha of failing to correct what it said was a known steering defect with the personal watercraft and then failing to adequately warn people that an operator could not steer without throttle.