Sunday, September 06, 2009
Follow up: the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals amended its decision on October 21, 2009 but did not change its ruling, its amended holding states: "substantial evidence supports the district court’s conclusion that Graske breached a duty of reasonable care if Doyle was seated on the bow cushion when the boat came on plane." Nebraskan vacationers went fishing in the Grand Cayman Islands. The defendant's boat had an air cushion hull and when defendant accelerated the steering failed, causing the boat to turn sharply left. Plaintiff flew off the boat and suffered severe head trauma when the boat struck him. Defendant removed case to federal district court under admiralty jurisdiction and after taking consideration of plaintiff's 10% contributory negligence awarded plaintiff over $3 million plus $750, 000 loss of consortium damages. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirms damage verdict but noting ambiguous law and precendents from other circuits reverses loss of consortium award.Daniel Doyle v. Leland Graske U.S. Court of Appeals Case No: 08-3144 District of Nebraska - Omaha 083144P.pdf 09/02/2009 . "Substantial evidence supported the district court's determination that defendant breached a duty of reasonable care to plaintiff by bringing his boat to planing speed when plaintiff was in a position of danger; neither did the court err in finding that defendant's negligence in operating the boat was a proximate and substantial cause of plaintiff's injuries; there is no well-settled admiralty rule authorizing loss-of-consortium damages for spouses of non-seafarers negligently injured beyond the territorial waters of the U.S., and the district court erred in awarding plaintiff's spouse damages for loss of consortium"