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Donald Black, of Valley Park, Missouri, was severely injured in an explosion in July 2010. Mr. Black was filling up his boat with fuel at a marina on the Lake of the Ozarks at the time. He pumped nineteen gallons, which leaked to parts of the hull and cockpit. When he turned on the bilge pump, the boat exploded into flames.
Smokey Dyer, former Lee’s Summit, Missouri and Kansas City fire chief, testified at the trial. He stated that evidence proved that the fuel line had separated at a connection point where the gasoline pump nozzle is inserted and a rubber hose in which gasoline flows. The hose somehow became loose from the metal piece. The problem would be typically found by a mechanic’s inspection.
Mr. Black was in the hospital for several months after the explosion. He had significant burns, was placed into an induced coma more than once, and had his heart stop beating six times. His injuries required him to receive painful skin grafts and reconstructive surgery. Additionally, he will have other health risks associated with his injuries for the rest of his life. He currently has $1.3 million in medical bills.
The boat was built by the former Baja Boats, a Brunswick Corporation subsidiary. Mr. Black sued the Brunswick Corporation and the owners of the marina, Leisure Hotels LLC. Rob Sullivan and Tim Morgan represented Mr. Black. The jury found the marina not to be at fault but found Brunswick Corporation to be liable for damages of $15 million.