A jury today awarded $450,000 to three family members, one of whom was seriously burned near Yosemite National Park in 2008 while filling the propane tank of a motorhome leased in Carson.
As reported by the Daily Breeze, the Los Angeles Superior Court panel deliberated for a week before reaching its verdict in the case brought by Dennis Domaille, his wife and daughter. Although the family’s damages were found to be in the millions of dollars, they were reduced by the jury’s finding that the lessor, Cruise America Inc., was only 10% liable. Domaille, now 61, suffered second- and third-degree burns over 45% of his body when a fireball erupted while he was tending to a customer’s leased 2005 Four Winds 28A motorhome.
The accident occurred in 2008, outside the family’s Tioga Gas Mart business in Lee Vining.
The family’s lawyer, John Raders, said he was disappointed with the verdict, but that overall the lawsuit produced good results for his clients because it included a “substantial settlement” with a co-defendant, AmeriGas Inc., before trial.
The jury was asked to determine if the motorhome had a design defect by having a refrigerator burner and ignition directly above the tank filler valve. Prout told jurors the recreational vehicle did not have such a problem and that Domaille, another Tioga Gas Mart employee and AmeriGas were the ones that were primarily negligent.
Domaille, his wife Jane and their daughter, Denise Domaille Molnar, filed the products liability lawsuit against Cruise America and AmeriGas Inc. in January 2010. Molnar also alleged negligent infliction of emotional distress, and her mother claimed loss of consortium.
Raders recommended that Domaille receive $23 million, that $6 million be awarded to Jane Domaille and that another $4 million be awarded to the couple’s daughter.
AmeriGas provided the propane dispensing equipment at their business. The jury attributed 35% of the negligence causing Domaille’s injuries to the company. The jury assigned another 30% to Domaille for his actions and 25% to a Tioga Gas Mart employee.