High-speed Boating Death Allegedly Under the Influence — Defense Verdict

An innocent 13-year-old was injured and drowned in his mother’s presence when the boat he was in T-boned another boat at a high rate of speed on Lake Lanier. The defendant admitted to drinking beer earlier in the day, but defended on the correctness of his operation and lack of alcohol involvement, although beer was found under the cushions of his boat. A former director of the National Safety Transportation Board advanced the plaintiffs’ theory — the defense responded with an all-out marine accident reconstruction, which convinced the jury the accident was the fault of the other boat operator. On a related legal claim, the jury (illegally) found monetary compensation for the mother’s emotional distress in watching her child become injured and drown. However, 75 percent of same was assigned to the other operator. The case was tried to verdict, with the plaintiffs never lowering their multi-million dollar policy limits demand and without an offer of any type ever being made.

This case was tried by partners Steve Cotter and Joe Angersola.

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