Jet Ski Verdict Upheld

I love to ride a jet ski. In fact, I have had a Yahama Waverunner since 1999 and my beautiful wife just bought me the Mac- Daddy Seadoo (which will go 80 MPH and will rock your world).

So it was with more than my usual “I-love-torts-so-I-will-read-dang-near-court-opinion-on-the-subject” attitude that I picked up the opinion in Ford v. Polaris Industries, Inc., A106375 (Cal. App. 4th Div. 4 May 18, 2006). The facts: “Susan Ford sustained severe orifice injuries after falling off the rear of a twoseater Polaris personal watercraft. The jet-powered nozzle propelled a high-pressure stream of water that tore apart her internal organs. Today she uses a colostomy bag, urinates through a catheter, and her lower right torso and leg are numb from nerve damage. Susan and her husband sued the manufacturer and distributor of the watercraft on a strict products liability theory.”


The issues: (1)”whether the doctrine of primary assumption of risk applies to the manufacturer of the personal watercraft so as to preclude the injured jet skier from raising a defective design claim;” and (2) the “propriety of instructions in a strict products liability case where the plaintiff alleges that the personal watercraft was defectively designed and caused her injury.”

The holding: verdict for the plaintiff affirmed.

This opinion does a nice job discussing the law of primary assumption of risk. Read it here.

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