Defense Verdict on Behalf of Pontoon Boat Rental Company – Okaloosa County

Pensacola partner Grayson Miller and Miami partner Gene Kissane obtained a defense verdict following a 5+ day jury trial in Okaloosa County in northwest Florida last week.

Plaintiff brought Negligence and Unseaworthiness causes of action against our client who was a local pontoon boat rental company. Plaintiff and her group of friends rented a pontoon boat from our client, and Plaintiff fell on the front of the boat and injured her left shin on the corner of an allegedly missing piece of the metal rub rail on the front of the vessel which resulted in a 6 cm laceration to Plaintiff’s left shin. Plaintiff later contracted vibrio vulnificus bacteria, commonly referred to as “flesh-eating bacteria,” in her left leg open wound from the gulf waters which led to three surgeries on her left leg. Plaintiff ended up in-patient at the hospital for 6 weeks immediately following the accident and had to have three surgeries on her left leg to try and remove the infected areas to save her left leg.

Just for Plaintiff’s initial 6 weeks of care to treat her vibrio bacterial infection, her medical bills were almost $200k. Plaintiff later had right knee and low back surgeries which both her treating physicians and retained medical experts causally related back to the original vibrio infection because of an altered gait.

By trial, Plaintiff boarded ~$450k in past medical bills and $150k in future medical bills in the form of a future lumbar fusion. In closing argument, Plaintiff asked for approximately $6.5 million dollars. The Parties retained 9 experts. The jury deliberated for approximately 4 hours before returning a defense verdict finding no negligence by CSK’s client nor the vessel unseaworthy.

Grayson Miller
(850) 483-5910

Gene Kissane
(305) 350-5345

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