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Unusual settlement in boat propeller death case

May 26, 1998
Web posted at: 10:15 p.m. EDT (0215 GMT)

From Senior Washington Correspondent Charles Bierbauer

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- When Kathee Lewis was killed in a boating accident in 1993, her family decided it had to bring the manufacturer of the boat engine, Brunswick Corp., to court.

The Lewises lost at every court level, but kept going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, only to accept a settlement before hearing the justices' decision.

Settlements after the Supreme Court has heard arguments are extremely rare.

The Lewis family had sued to recover damages for Brunswick's failure to install a protective guard on the engine propeller that killed the Oklahoma teen-ager. The case was being closely watched by manufacturers whose products involve a potential risk to consumers.

Sources indicated the settlement was about $700,000.

The agreement prevents the Lewis family from discussing details of the settlement, but Kathee's mother, Vicky Lewis, told CNN that time was a major factor in agreeing to settle.

"If we wait for a ruling, and if the court rules that we could sue, we could be looking at at least another three years in court," she said. "It's been five years, and we wanted some closure."


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