WWHGD Successfully Retries Case Alleging Failed Marine Generator
Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial recently served as lead counsel for an international manufacturer of marine generators in a retrial of a products liability wrongful death suit. In the spring of 2003 before WWHGD’s involvement, a St. Louis jury awarded compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages against the manufacturer based on claims that a defect in the generator caused it to leak carbon monoxide into the living quarters of a private boat on the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri in 1999, killing the boat’s four occupants. The verdict was set aside after the Circuit Court of St. Louis reconsidered some of its evidentiary rulings.
In the fall of 2005, WWHGD attorneys Billy Gunn, Bill Buhay, Rick Hill and Lindsay Gatling took over the case and retried it in July 2006. Although our client had previously been found liable for $25 million in punitive damages, the jury awarded no punitive damages in the second trial. The jury awarded $13 million in compensatory damages with less than $8 million being apportioned to our client. The boat owners were held partially liable for the generator’s poor upkeep and the co-defendant, a maintenance company, was faulted for failing to properly inspect and maintain it. The case was ultimately settled for a confidential sum.