The family of a Glen Burnie man who died nearly three years after a boating accident is suing a local dealership, claiming that the business allowed another family member to buy the boat without knowing whether he could operate it safely.
Relatives of Ira W. Webster allege that Jenkins Boat Sales Inc. of Glen Burnie was negligent when it sold a boat to Mr. Webster's brother-in-law, Terry Jones of Glen Burnie.
Mr. Jones bought the 1976 Ebbtide fiberglass boat Feb. 29, 1992. On June 10 of that year, the two men were on the Patapsco River when Mr. Webster went for a swim. The suit alleges that Mr. Webster was hit by the propeller of the boat while Mr. Jones was at the controls.
Mr. Webster, of the first block of First Ave., was treated at University of Maryland Hospital and nearly died twice on the operating table, the suit says.
Charles J. Muskin, who represents Mr. Webster's family, said Mr. Webster died May 31 at his home from a seizure that he believes was the result of complications from his injuries.
The $5 million suit, filed yesterday in Anne Arundel Circuit Court, also names as defendants Johnson Motors Inc., the Cambridge-based maker of the boat engine, and Ebbtide Inc., the Grantsville boat maker.
Albert Anderson, a part owner of Jenkins Boat Sales, said yesterday that he answers all customer questions when he makes a sale and, when a customer appears to need them, recommends boating safety courses.
He said he cannot be held responsible for accidents caused by customers after they leave his shop with a boat.
"If someone buys a car, is the dealer responsible if the driver goes out and gets in an accident? It sounds ridiculous," he said.
The suit seeks $1 million each on individual counts of liability, failure to warn, breach of implied warranty and two counts of negligence.