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Jury Awards $31 Million for Women Injured in Boat Accident

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San Diego, CA: A $31 million settlement has been awarded to two women who were swept off a boat and injured by the propeller in 2006 and filed a product liability lawsuit.

Nichollette Bell and Bethany Wallenburg were riding in a MasterCraft X-45 wakeboarding craft and were among 12 passengers sitting on the bow when it was suddenly submerged as the driver of the boat went to retrieve a fallen wakeboarder.

Bell and Wallenburg were swept off the boat by the force of water an into the lake. The boat's propeller struck Bell on the head, ripping out an eye and leaving her with brain damage. It also slashed Wallenburg's left elbow and lower back, resulting in muscle and nerve damage. In their lawsuit, the women alleged the boat was defectively designed. They also alleged the driver handled the boat negligently.

The jury found MasterCraft 80 percent at fault and Montz 20 percent at fault. Of the award, $30.9 million went to Bell and $530,688 to Wallenburg.

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