BERNARDINO SANTOS-RODRIGUEZ, G.S.G.; F.A.S.G.; GREGORY SANTOS; MILAGROS LÓPEZ, Plaintiffs, Appellants,
SEASTAR SOLUTIONS, f/k/a/ TELEFLEX CANADA LTD., Defendant, Appellee, RAÚL VIERA-TORRES; MARCELO COLÓN-TORRES; COOPERATIVA DE SEGUROS MÚLTIPLES DE PUERTO RICO; UNKNOWN ENGINES MANUFACTURER CORP.; UNKNOWN CONTROLS MANUFACTURER CORP.; UNKNOWN DISTRIBUTOR CORP.; JOHN DOE; RICHARD ROE; INSURANCE COMPANIES X, Y AND Z; SEA FOX BOAT COMPANY, INC.; YAMAHA MOTOR MANUFACTURING CORPORATION OF AMERICA, Defendants.
FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
PUERTO RICO [Hon. Marcos E. López, U.S. Magistrate
A. Del Valle-Cruz, with whom Humberto
Guzmán-Rodríguez and Guzmán &
Rodríguez were on brief, for appellants.
Salvador J. Antonetti-Stutts, with whom Aura
Montes-Rodríguez, Christian Echavarri-Junco, Nayuan
Zouairabani and O'Neill & Borges LLC were on brief,
Torruella, Thompson, and Barron, Circuit Judges.
TORRUELLA, Circuit Judge.
Bernardino Santos-Rodríguez ("Santos") was
injured in a boating accident when a corroded rod end that
was part of the boat's steering mechanism failed. Santos
and several relatives sued Defendant Seastar Solutions
("Seastar"), the manufacturer of the boat's
steering mechanism, alleging a design defect and a failure to
warn. Santos appeals from the district court's grant of
summary judgment in favor of Seastar. We affirm.
The Boating Accident
25, 2010, Santos was riding in a twin-engine boat in a bay
near Guayama, Puerto Rico. Raúl Viera-Torres
("Viera") owned the boat, which was equipped with a
hydraulic steering system manufactured in 2002 by Seastar
(then known as Teleflex Canada Ltd.). The rod connecting the
steering system to the right motor had a ball-joint at the
end, which broke while the boat was in motion, resulting in a
loss of steering and ejecting Santos from the boat. Santos
sustained extensive injuries, resulting in paraplegia. None
of the other plaintiffs, all relatives of Santos, were in the
boat. Subsequent examination revealed that the rod end failed
because of corrosion.
The Instruction Manual and the Boat's
steering system's instruction manual (the
"Manual") informed owners that "[b]i-annual
inspection [of the steering system] by a qualified marine
mechanic is required" and instructed them to
"[c]heck fittings and seal locations for leaks or damage
and service as necessary." The Manual did not include a
specific warning about corrosion of the rod end.
boat's owner, Viera, acquired it second-hand. He did not
perform maintenance on the boat, did not keep a maintenance
log or request maintenance documentation from the previous
owner, and did not read the Manual or any of the warnings
affixed to the steering system. Viera hired third-party
mechanics to maintain the boat, but none of those mechanics
ever brought the corroded rod end to Viera's attention.