More litigation regarding poison gas in the Holiday Inn pool
Last month the Court of Appeals held that the Holiday Inn Express in Ludington had insurance coverage for a substantial injury verdict rendered against it. This month, the court set aside the verdict in Bronkema v. Ferwerda Enterprises, Inc. The case arose when a maintenance man, hurrying with repairs so that he could return to jail after work release, did not successfully accomplish his repairs and allowed poison gas to injure the Bronkema family. The trial judge had directed a verdict in favor of the family on the issue of Holiday Inn negligence, but the judge threw out the case against the pool component manufacturer, whom the Holiday claimed failed to adequately inform it about proper safety measures.
The Court of Appeals majority held that the trial judge was mistaken in not allowing the jury to decide whether the Holiday Inn was negligent. It suggested that under the facts, the jury could reasonably have determined that the maintenance man's activities were reasonable. The majority also decided that the judge should have allowed the Holiday Inn to have a trial with regard to the negligence of the pool component manufacturer, even though the Holiday Inn failed to identify an expert qualified to testify against the manufacturer. The dissenting judge disagreed with the majority judges on aspects of both of these holdings.
All three judges agreed that the Court did not err in admitting into evidence a 2-hour long "day in the life" video that presented evidence of the childrens' related injuries. The Court noted that some of the religious images in the tape should have been excised, and other short segments were cumulative, but that "on the whole" the video was relevant and not "unduly prejudicial." It gave a representative sample of the childrens' injuries on a daily basis and its admission was "within the range of reasoned and principled outcomes."