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Old    Brian Klackle (de2ca)      Join Date: May 2006       06-20-2011, 11:48 PM Reply   


When the boat ran over her, the propellers struck Niki Bell three times in the head—slicing into her skull and cutting through her brain and the front of her face. Because of her injuries, Bell requires assistance with acts of daily living for the rest of her life. Bell was awarded $30.9 million for her injuries.

The biggest concern to the plaintiffs and their attorneys is the fact that there are almost a 1,000 X-45s out on the waters of American today and their operators are unaware of this defect which can result in horrific injuries. They hope that the verdict will cause MasterCraft to do the right thing and immediately contact those owners and advise them of this defective condition.

Read the Full Story Here: http://www.dbbwlaw.com/index.php?opt...ask=view&id=71
Old    Jay Wedsted (jbird)      Join Date: Jun 2011       06-20-2011, 11:59 PM Reply   
Not exactly? That story does not mention the fact there were reportedly, and don't quote me, like 15 people in the bow of the boat? I would put 100% liability on driver negligence, not design! He, the driver could not even see that a passenger fell overboard? I do believe he got a DWI also!
Old    Stephen Pliler (stevo8290)      Join Date: Sep 2008       06-21-2011, 12:02 AM Reply   
God bless America and frivolous lawsuits
Old    Tim C (lifetimewarranty)      Join Date: Oct 2008       06-21-2011, 12:04 AM Reply   
DUDE - SERIOUSLY!!!!!! DO YOUR HOMEWORK BEFORE YOU POST!!!!

Did you not see the 2 - or more other strings on this topic yet!?
Old    Hey, You scratched my anchor! (bftskir)      Join Date: Jan 2004       06-21-2011, 1:42 AM Reply   
12 in the bow.
this article makes it clear that Mastercrafts expert said they never tested the boat to determine the 18 person or 2928 lbs limit...no testing of any kind.
They did not have adequate handrails in the bow...nothing to hold on to. etc.
And Mastercraft is held to a higher standard.
Old    Nick Tomsyck (sidekicknicholas)      Join Date: Mar 2007       06-21-2011, 6:26 AM Reply   
While I think the whole thing is stupid and operator error - I can see why MC lost this. To us its clearly the boat owner/girl's fault but to the average joe hearing it from a good lawyer, I don't know if MC ever had a chance.... a sob story and some gory pictures go a long way
Old    Ty (wakeandsnow27)      Join Date: Jun 2004       06-21-2011, 7:20 AM Reply   
http://www.wakeworld.com/forum/showt...highlight=suit

http://www.wakeworld.com/forum/showt...rcraft+lawsuit

http://www.wakeworld.com/forum/showt...rcraft+lawsuit



read for days.

Last edited by wakeandsnow27; 06-21-2011 at 7:23 AM. Reason: additional links
Old    C.I.E. J-Rod (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       06-21-2011, 8:45 AM Reply   
Mastercraft should send a letter to other 1000 X-45 owners.

Dear X-45 Owner,

PLEASE DON'T BE STUPID!

Sincerely,

Mastercraft.
Old    Adam R (wakecumberland)      Join Date: Oct 2007       06-21-2011, 8:47 AM Reply   
The picture above is worth a thousand words. Look how high the bow of the X45 is off the water. If you dunk that boat you overloded it and have no business behind the wheel of a boat.

If the X45 is defective, then the Xstar must be a death trap!

Old    A-dub (behindtheboat)      Join Date: Aug 2006       06-21-2011, 9:34 AM Reply   
Wow, I'm totally against this ruling, but knowing what I have learned developing product and working in a highly regulated industry, to not have any documentation of testing on your product is just bad business. The claims (water through hole, etc) are nuts, but can only be proven nuts when you do the proper testing and have data/results to show. Any business knows and understands this
Old    Small Light (stephan)      Join Date: Nov 2002       06-21-2011, 10:07 AM Reply   
It seems that they were also able to key on the fact that the boat has a capacity for 18 and makes no mention that all 18 can't be in the bow. While common sense, look for future Mastercrafts to feature a sticker in the bow to say "Due to your stupid predecessor, don't put more than 5 people in the bow". I feel bad for the girl, I am not a huge fan of the lawyers.

What really sucks is that if any one of us were in the potential jury pool we would have likely been dismissed for having boating experience.
Old    C.I.E. J-Rod (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       06-21-2011, 10:16 AM Reply   
What were they supposed to test for? Let's see what happens if we overload the boat, put twice as many people in the front as there are seats, and put a jackass behind the wheel? What are there, 6 seats in the bow?

Where do you draw the line with your testing? Unless a boat is completely 100% unsinkable, there will be more lawsuits.
Old    A-dub (behindtheboat)      Join Date: Aug 2006       06-21-2011, 10:37 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by jarrod View Post
What were they supposed to test for? Let's see what happens if we overload the boat, put twice as many people in the front as there are seats, and put a jackass behind the wheel? What are there, 6 seats in the bow?

Where do you draw the line with your testing? Unless a boat is completely 100% unsinkable, there will be more lawsuits.
Not sure where you draw the line, but you at least perform preliminary testing and have results and data to show you did something, even if it wasn't that much. Say like, testing on the actual capacity rating.....
Old    Jeremy (wake77)      Join Date: Jan 2009       06-21-2011, 11:41 AM Reply   
^So we should always take the word of "a former employee"? Wonder how much he was paid for his "expert" testimony?

I don't see how bow design played such a huge factor in determining damages. Take for instance the X-2. It has a pickle-fork nose, yet no bow ladder. Hence "no holes" for water to enter. But overloaded, the bow will still swamp and if someone falls overboard, the same type of injuries can occur. Take for instance, a non-pickleforked, traditional bow on a v-drive. If overloaded, the bow will still swamp and same type of injuries can occur. I can swamp the nose with no-one in the bow (and have done it a couple of times in my younger days). So I guess no more open bow riders.
Old    C.I.E..... Evan (guido)      Join Date: Jul 2002       06-21-2011, 11:42 AM Reply   
This is just the start of a long battle. This will be appealed.
Old    Scott (chexi)      Join Date: Jul 2009       06-21-2011, 12:12 PM Reply   
"The biggest concern to the plaintiffs and their attorneys..." No the biggest concern of the plaintiffs' attorneys is losing on appeal and not getting their windfall.
Old    Matt (ncsuuh)      Join Date: Jan 2007       06-21-2011, 12:22 PM Reply   
Should be appealed. I sent Roger A. Dreyer an email.
Old    A-dub (behindtheboat)      Join Date: Aug 2006       06-21-2011, 12:26 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by wake77 View Post
^So we should always take the word of "a former employee"? Wonder how much he was paid for his "expert" testimony?

I don't see how bow design played such a huge factor in determining damages. Take for instance the X-2. It has a pickle-fork nose, yet no bow ladder. Hence "no holes" for water to enter. But overloaded, the bow will still swamp and if someone falls overboard, the same type of injuries can occur. Take for instance, a non-pickleforked, traditional bow on a v-drive. If overloaded, the bow will still swamp and same type of injuries can occur. I can swamp the nose with no-one in the bow (and have done it a couple of times in my younger days). So I guess no more open bow riders.
You won't believe this, but I agree with you on most everything. I dipped the tip of my closed bow boat more than any open bow I've driven/owned. I can also say from experience that you can't even put 2 normal size adults in a Prostar 197/X-7, yet I wouldn't recommend anyone putting their children up there either just to be safe as a ripple from the wrong direction can come over the bow when there is 20lbs up in it. This is also an argument to how safe open bows are in general, something we don't want non-knowledgeable orgs or politicians getting their hands on. I like open bows, I prefer them, I want them to stay around. And again, although it seems as if I don't, I agree bow design likely didn't have much of a part in this, any bow would have had the same issues. The only way to prove that, however, is through testing or evaluations with recorded information. Also, we know and understand that with an inboard or vdrive, you have to be conscious that the bow can get swamped, it's something everyone learns. Nowadays people aren't as understanding of, "That's just something that happens". They want to know why, and how it could be prevented, and why nothing was done about it. This is way out there, and I hope I'm wrong, but this could be very detrimental to open bows in general. Yet, I don't get how cabin cruizers can have people on the front decks just laying on them while the boat is moving, as they only have a rail to "keep" them in.
Old    Scott (chexi)      Join Date: Jul 2009       06-21-2011, 12:33 PM Reply   
No, nowadays all people care about when they screw up is who has the deep pockets and how much they can get out of those deep pockets.

I have always considered open bows to be used only for when the boat is at rest. I suppose if you have very smooth water someone can ride up there... but it's really a crappy place to ride. If there are any waves at all, the passengers in the bow are going to get soaked. There's a reason we say, "the bow is for b!tches"... and it's no because the bow has the best seats...
Old    Adam Van Dyke (lfadam)      Join Date: Nov 2008       06-21-2011, 12:42 PM Reply   
chexi, Im going to disagree. I feel like a competent wakeboard boat driver should be able to keep their bow passengers dry, even with a weighted boat. If they are unable to do so and are dunking the bow, then its a dangerous situation like this ridiculous lawsuit and the driver is at fault for driving a boat beyond their capabilities. Driver+passengers are 100% at fault IMO. Its a shame that frivolous lawsuits are ruining our country.
Old    Hey, You scratched my anchor! (bftskir)      Join Date: Jan 2004       06-21-2011, 4:07 PM Reply   
no appeal will change the fact that Mastercraft did not test the boat. Mastercraft rated it at 18 people but did no testing(or didn't document it) to determine that number/weight. I am sure that they will test it now. Mastercrafts current lawyers are the idiots that allowed them to rate with no test/documentation. Those documents might have gotten them off the hook.
Old    Brett Yates (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       06-21-2011, 4:13 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by bftskir View Post
no appeal will change the fact that Mastercraft did not test the boat. Mastercraft rated it at 18 people but did no testing(or didn't document it) to determine that number/weight. I am sure that they will test it now. Mastercrafts current lawyers are the idiots that allowed them to rate with no test/documentation. Those documents might have gotten them off the hook.
I might agree with you that is completely ridiculous and stupid that Mastercraft didn't actually test how many people could fit in the boat.

Lawyers are the absolute scum of the earth and may be responsible(both directly and inderectly) for 75% of the problems in our screwed up country. It is getting really hard to hold my head up high when I say that I am american.
Old    Bill K (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       06-21-2011, 5:08 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by bftskir View Post
They did not have adequate handrails in the bow...nothing to hold on to. etc.
Adequate for 12 people? Or for 2 -4 people?? It sure looks to me like there is hand rails in there. Might be tough to find a handle with 24 other hands doin it too.


Last edited by bill_airjunky; 06-21-2011 at 5:15 PM.
Old    Hey, You scratched my anchor! (bftskir)      Join Date: Jan 2004       06-21-2011, 5:53 PM Reply   
The handrails are just a quote from the article the OP referred to start this thread

I guess Mastercraft should have specified how many could be up in the bow..2,4,6,8? but they never tested to find out and didn't limit it. I really can't believe they exposed themselves to liability like this- not testing the boat in any way including to set the 18 person OR 2928 pounds limit. 2928? pretty precise for no test or documentation...how did they come up with that?

"Dreyer argued that the design is not safe based on the combination of factors: a miscalculated capacity label indicating 18 people or 2,928 pounds, which the Defendant's expert admitted to under cross examination was in error; an oversized bow; a hole in the anchor locker; the reverse sheer; and, the lack of adequate handrails in the bow. He was also critical of MasterCraft for not testing the boat and supplying no documents about the design or testing of the X-45"

Also from the article this tells a little bit more too...

"When the boat ran over her, the propellers struck Niki Bell three times in the head—slicing into her skull and cutting through her brain and the front of her face. The 27-year old lost her left eye and part of her frontal lobe. Because of her injuries, Bell requires assistance with acts of daily living for the rest of her life. Bell was awarded $30.9 million for her injuries".

The other passenger, Bethany Wallenburgh, was able to grab the windshield before being washed out of the boat, as a result she went into the water feet first. She was awarded $530,688 for injuries caused when her leg, elbow and lower back were struck by the propeller.
Old    Tdc_worm C (tdc_worm)      Join Date: Sep 2002       06-21-2011, 8:11 PM Reply   
i am going to play a little devil's advocate here. keep in mind i am no attorney or litigator and welcome those with knowledge to help us keep the process correct here:

1) subpenaed expert witness: the jury (just like the rest of us keyboard warriors) did not have the capacity to determine design flaw. neutral expert witness (i.e. nautical and ergonimic engineers) are called upon to determine that based on the body of evidence. if they make a compelling, scientific argument one way or the other, then the jury will take that into consideration when they assign negligence.

2) burden of proof: the burden of proof typically lies with the accuser. if the testimony of a neutral expert witness was compelling enough, it begs the question why MC was neither prepared nor able to defend against it.

3) CGA plates: CGA capacity plates are only REQUIRED on vessels under 20' in length. The formula they use is Length x Beam /15. not very scientific. Over 20' in length, it is not required, and as such, not enforceable by law and only a manufacturer's RECOMMENDATION. (my Calabria ProV did not have one from the factory). would love to actually here the truth on this....

4) Picklefork design: First, let me qualifiy this by opining that the PF design has merit and has evolved in to a viable, effective option with staying power. The first PF deisign on the 03-current XStar (i have 8 years experience w/ this boat) combines a low sloping bow w/ a wide design that can place a bow point closer to the water when it lists. if the 2006 X45 is at all similar (isnt the current X45 in its second iteration?) then it requires more driver input to ensure that the bow does not swamp than a traditional bow, or a PF bow with more of a tri hull design. We can split hairs here all day...I have several years experience on PFs, not MC bashing. the X2 and ZR2, in my opinion, do not exhibit the same behavior as the XStar. i know its not apples to apples, just trying to illustrate that MC does manufacture a boat that may require more that average driver input.

5) Target population segmenting: I had to go down the subjective road above to get to this point...if the 1st gen X45 behaves like the XStar, it is a boat that could be dangerous in the hands of an inexperienced operator. most design flaws and shortcomings can be overcome with experience. I have no problem handling a current gen XStar, even though it takes more input than i would care to give. however, if the above is true, and said boat is marketed to inexperience and experience alike, you are opening yourself up to potential lawsuits.

i dont have a dog in the hunt. i dont know if the 80/20 split on pecuniary liability is correct. i dont know that 30 mil is the right settlement. what i do know is that it isnt frivolous...i am sure the plaintiffs have germane standing. i am sure that it will go to appeal. and i assume that a responsible company will have an insurance policy that will help them weather this storm...myself and MCs stockholders sure hope that they are responsible.... i guess at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself does a reasonable person, experience or inexperienced, have a reasonable expectation that the vessel they are operating keeps them and their passengers safe? in this scenario and under these conditions, the jury apparently feels that is not the case.

any legal types care to opine?

Last edited by tdc_worm; 06-21-2011 at 8:20 PM.
Old    Jeremy (wake77)      Join Date: Jan 2009       06-21-2011, 8:31 PM Reply   
"I guess Mastercraft should have specified how many could be up in the bow..2,4,6,8? but they never tested to find out and didn't limit it. I really can't believe they exposed themselves to liability like this- not testing the boat in any way including to set the 18 person OR 2928 pounds limit. 2928? pretty precise for no test or documentation...how did they come up with that?"

Dude, do you have an issue with MC or something? What boat manufacturer lists on some sort of plate exactly how many passengers can ride in the bow? 18 lbs or 2928 was not the issue for that boat. If anything, it was a safe estimate. I guarantee you that boat can travel safely with that many passengers + probably another 1,000 lbs, if they are evenly distributed.
Old    Alan Slabaugh (alans)      Join Date: Aug 2005       06-21-2011, 9:00 PM Reply   
No manufacturers that I know do capacity testing on all of their models. Capacity plate ratings are requested by the manufacturers and are compared to the guidelines set forth by the USCG in the form of net tonnage and displacement figures. There is almost no real world testing.
Old    Bill K (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       06-21-2011, 9:21 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by bftskir View Post
I guess Mastercraft should have specified how many could be up in the bow..2,4,6,8? but they never tested to find out and didn't limit it. I really can't believe they exposed themselves to liability like this- not testing the boat in any way including to set the 18 person OR 2928 pounds limit. 2928? pretty precise for no test or documentation...how did they come up with that?
Why would they ever think this would be needed? The USCG doesn't require it. Their insurance company doesn't require it. No one was ever stupid enough to push it till now.

How many people are allowed in the driver's seat??
Old    Shawn B (ShawnB)      Join Date: Oct 2010       06-22-2011, 9:32 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by alans View Post
No manufacturers that I know do capacity testing on all of their models. Capacity plate ratings are requested by the manufacturers and are compared to the guidelines set forth by the USCG in the form of net tonnage and displacement figures. There is almost no real world testing.
There will be now and there will be a cost associated with it. All manufacturers now have to play CYA with their products and prove that the ratings they applied using a known formula actually hold water. Guess who's going to foot the bill?

There was a time when the auto industry didn't do crash testing either even when people were dying in car accidents every day. It's just the evolution of the industry, I guess.
Old    Tommy G (tommyg)      Join Date: Apr 2002       06-22-2011, 11:04 AM Reply   
This means 2 things for boaters:

1) more expensive boats. Figure a nice $10k lawsuit payout/coverage figure added on to every boat to cover lawsuits

2) your new custom boat wrap will be on the interior of your boat, all done in warning stickers. On the steering wheel "don't turn left if there's another boat directly to your left". On the sides "do not jump out of the side of the boat when in motion". On the tower "do not jump up and down on the tower after drinking too much alcohol".

How about if we just put one big warning sticker that says "use common sense and don't do stupid ****, or you might die or get seriously f'd up" ?
Old    Dizzy Jenkins (dizzyj)      Join Date: Jul 2003       06-22-2011, 11:19 AM Reply   
have the boat manufacturers adequately tested how many people can hang by their necks from their towers safely? They should have a plate saying not to do that, otherwise I would never know!
Old    C.I.E. J-Rod (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       06-22-2011, 3:47 PM Reply   
So as two people are departing from the bow, as a driver, how do you not put the boat in neutral?
Old    Jay Wedsted (jbird)      Join Date: Jun 2011       06-22-2011, 8:40 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by jarrod View Post
So as two people are departing from the bow, as a driver, how do you not put the boat in neutral?
Because the driver could not see through the twelve bodies in front of him!

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