Mingo teen settles for $4.5 million

Williamson Daily News

Friday, January 18, 2002

Mingo teen settles for $4.5 million

A civil action filed as the result of a fall by 15 year old James Todd Jarrell of Lenore has been settled for $4.5 million. The young man was repelling using defective equipment.

The settlement against four defendants was reached late Wednesday afternoon, according to State Sen. H. Truman Chafin, couple for James Todd Farrell. The suit was filed by his mother, Jo Ann Jerrell, in Mingo County Circuit Court.

Defendants were identified as Omega Pacific, a Washington state corporation; NTR, a Georgia corporation; Mountain State Outfitters, a WV corporation, and Blue Water Ropes, Inc., a Georgia corporation.

The suit alleged that Omega equipment was defective and that NTR Inc. and Blue Water Ropes Inc., and the other defendants were negligent in distributing and/or selling same to Jarrells.

Chafin said the doctrine of strict liability was claimed by plaintiffs, who maintained the equipment was inherently dangerous. The defective condition of the repelling equipment caused young Jarrell to fall a great height, plaintiff’s complaint stated. As a result, his suit contended, he will suffer damages associated with the life of a paraplegic, including significant future costs associated with his care.

The trial was set to begin in February before Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury.

Letitia A. Neese and Christopher J. Heavens were co-counsel with Chafin for the plaintiffs. John R. McGhee, Jr. of Kay, Casto and Chaney; W. Randolph Fife of Steptoe & Johnson, and James M. Brown of Brown & Levicoff represented the defendants.

The settlement occurred during mediation conducted by Attorney Robert Allen of Allen, McGuthrie and McHugh of Charleston.

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