In 2009, a man was paralyzed after he fell from the upper deck of a luxury yacht, the Bad Influence II. The man and his wife filed a personal injury lawsuit against Brunswick Boat Group, who manufactured the yacht, and RQM LLC, which chartered the yacht for a corporate event.

Jury Question at Center of Federal Lawsuit by Boatmaker

During the original trial, the jury sent a handwritten note to the judge asking, “Can we find fault with RQM, without finding fault with Brunswick?” The boatmaker filed a federal lawsuit last week, arguing that the defendant’s lawyer, as well as the judge’s clerk, had violated the company’s right to due process because they were never informed of what the note said. Instead of authorizing a settlement of $25 million to the defendant, Brunswick says they would have considered alternate outcomes because the note appeared to be advantageous to the boat manufacturing company.

Judge Says Settlement Stands

The judge, however, says that all parties involved in the lawsuit were made aware of what the note said and they had the opportunity to respond to the question the jury asked. This happened 10 minutes before the settlement was reached.

The defendant's lawyer said, “The overall impact of Judge O'Hara's ruling vindicates Mark and validates what he has been saying all along, that he represented his client appropriately and within the rules and ... ethics of the profession.” The attorney for the federal case filed by Brunswick, though, said the judge’s “ruling ignored the extensive factual record in this case that had been developed for more than a year.”

The settlement had previously been thrown out of court by another judge last May, ruling that the company’s due process was violated. That judge later recused himself from the case.

Appeal Unknown at This Time

It is not known if the verdict in the federal lawsuit will be appealed. Brunswick sought unspecified damages in the suit. The defendant, as it stands now, has accepted the settlement from Brunswick, who cannot back out of the settlement without a judge ruling it is null.

If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence –- such as a design flaw in a product –- you have a right to seek compensation for your losses, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, disability, loss of enjoyment of life and much more. An experienced local attorney can help you determine the best course of action for your circumstances.