On Sept. 5, 2011, Plaintiff, and his wife, rented a canoe from Defendant to use at Shaver Lake in Fresno. While boating around the lake the canoe capsized and Plaintiff’s wife drowned. Both Plaintiff and the Decedent had signed written waivers of liability, and had been offered, but rejected life vests before they used the canoe.
Plaintiff, and the Decedent’s son, sued Defendant, which rented the canoe, and Southern California Edison Co., which owned the land and had a licensing agreement with Defendant.
Plaintiff contended that federal and state law required Defendant to equip each rented canoe with one personal flotation device per person on board, and Decedent drowned because the canoe, which Plaintiff and the Decedent rented was not equipped with a personal flotation device.
Plaintiffs claimed that Southern California Edison Co. had contractual and legal duties to ensure that its licensees followed the law.
Defendants claimed that the liability waiver signed by Plaintiff and the Decedent was an absolute bar to Plaintiffs’ claims. Plaintiff and Decedent had expressly, and implicitly, assumed the risk by refusing personal flotation devices and the federal and state laws mandating use of personal flotation devices applied to the user and not the renter of the canoe. Defendants also claimed that Plaintiff was responsible for causing the canoe to capsize.
Southern California Edison claimed that it was not vicariously liable for the acts of its licensee.
Plaintiffs sought wrongful death damages. Plaintiff also sought emotional distress damages from witnessing the Decedent’s drowning.
The Homampour team were able to settle with the Defendants for $2 million policy limits. Southern California Edison, Co. did not contribute any funds to the settlement. Although this allowed the Homampour team to secure a sizable figure for the Plaintiffs, it can not replace the loss of a wife and mother.
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