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Opening Statements Begin In Gratton Lawsuit Trial

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Opening Statements Begin In Gratton Lawsuit Trial

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Old 01-23-2015, 02:35 PM
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More information released :

http://keysnews.com/node/62584
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Old 01-23-2015, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by SHARKEY-IMAGES View Post
More information released :

http://keysnews.com/node/62584
Powerboat lawsuit settled
BY ADAM LINHARDT Citizen Staff
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A wrongful death lawsuit filed by the widow of a man killed during the 2011 Key West World Championship powerboat races was settled Tuesday as the trial was under way, said an attorney representing the widow.

The estate of Page Motorsports throttleman Joey Gratton, 59, settled its civil lawsuit against Super Boat International (SBI) and its president, Key West resident John Carbonell, among others, said attorney Michael Allweiss of St. Petersburg. Allweiss represents Gratton's widow, Priscilla.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but under the agreement SBI assumes no admission of liability which is typical for such resolutions, Allweiss said.

Gratton's lawsuit alleged that race organizers used rescue personnel unfamiliar with the cockpits and emergency hatches on the boats. SBI previously argued the lawsuit should be dropped based on waivers signed by racers who participate.

"Winning this case to us means that we proved this was a simple accident, it should have been a simple rescue and had they used trained, professional rescuers Joey Gratton would be alive today," Allweiss said. "Speaking with jurors after the case, they saw that clearly and agreed with that. I believe we would have gotten a very strong verdict based on our conversation with them (jurors)."

The jury trial began last week at the Broward County state courthouse in Fort Lauderdale and was expected to last at least two weeks. Many experts such as SBI truck driver Mike Lee felt the lawsuit was unwarranted and the waiver covered everything. His expertise was well noted on offshore powerboat websites in his pen name "Chaser." Despite long winded posts that clearly lacked common sense he was noted as the "right hand man to god himself" which is odd being a truck driver as that would make him a passenger in the truck if he was indeed on the right side. Shortly after the verdict, his alter ego has vanished from OSO and certainly not missed!

Gratton drowned during a deadly week of racing during the 2011 championships. The twin-engine, 38-foot Douglas Marine Skater catamaran he was driving overturned on the first turn in the final lap of the second race on the 6.1-mile course, trapping Gratton in a rescue harness that was secured to the boat.

Steve Page, the boat's owner and driver, escaped major injury. He gave emotional testimony last week that he was pleading with rescuers to cut Gratton out of his harness after the crash, Allweiss said.

His testimony, among others for the Gratton side, presented an "avalanche of evidence," Allweiss said.

"We made a demand and within a couple of hours they accepted the demand without any negotiation or haggling," Allweiss said. "Short of a jury verdict, I don't know how else you define victory."

William Milliken of Coral Gables is the lawyer representing SBI. He confirmed the settlement was reached, but declined to comment further.

Gratton was one of three men to die in the 2011 powerboat races in Key West.

Throttleman and owner Robert "Bob" Morgan, 74, of Sunrise Beach, Mo., and driver Jeffrey "J.T." Tillman, 47, of Kaiser, Mo., were killed when their four-engine, 46-foot catamaran called Big Thunder caught air and flipped over on its third lap in Key West Harbor.

William Tillman, a relative of Tillman, filed a lawsuit against SBI in November 2013. That lawsuit also accuses race organizers of using untrained rescue personnel.

That case remains pending, also in Broward County.

No criminal charges have been filed in either incident. The deaths of all three men were ruled accidental by medical examiners.

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Old 01-24-2015, 10:42 AM
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I did find it interesting, in 2003 Key West, High Risk Skater rolled. Crew were thrown from the boat. A remarkable response by the divers by air and by sea.
Have a look and see how different this rescue went compared to Joey's ....
I can't say for sure this was a last lap or the racers seen after the accident just didn't appear to be at racing speeds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYMBIZw00Ns
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Old 01-27-2015, 03:03 PM
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Throttleman and owner Robert "Bob" Morgan, 74, of Sunrise Beach, Mo., and driver Jeffrey "J.T." Tillman, 47, of Kaiser, Mo., were killed when their four-engine, 46-foot catamaran called Big Thunder caught air and flipped over on its third lap in Key West Harbor.
William Tillman, a relative of Tillman, filed a lawsuit against SBI in November 2013. That lawsuit also accuses race organizers of using untrained rescue personnel.


Weren't there issues with Bob and JT's incident in that the rescue boat wasn't sure where to take the rescued crew, (BOTH in critical condition) was told to go one place, or they returned to the USCG post and were told to take them to another dock, all while doing CPR on Bob? (or possibly both of them?)
I don't see that case going any better for SBI.
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Old 01-27-2015, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by klaatutooyou View Post
There was an " accident " with the boyz up north a few years back where that was the problem.they found the alterations were safe prior to the race tho.

that one was the old dirty duck boat .lots of power went in it as well .started out with 525,s.

I don't know if that went to court or not .

I doubt it came up tho . seeing as how the settlement shut the door on any more evidence either direction.
Yes that one went to court. I don't know anything about it except there was a suit brought against MTI. In which MTI was found 100% innocent of any responsibilty. I think it ended about a yr or so ago but not sure on the date.
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Old 01-27-2015, 04:15 PM
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good .
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Old 01-29-2015, 11:35 AM
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seems that it is still the same how much do you win today?????? vesus 25 or even 35 yrs.ago offshore is not professional nore will it ever be unless you get paid more than dirt track moto cross drivers and that is not to detract from them but we haven't come a long way baby you all have the bug and you gotta race cause it's easy to get qualified money no problem it is sad and just one more point just because you have a five point restraint doesn't mean you have to use it case TG didn't like them so who or how are you gonna patrol that.
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