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The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. Your trusted legal advisors since 1976

9 Troops Killed In Amphibious Tank Incident, Families Sue


The families of 9 troops are suing the manufacturer of an amphibious tank that sank killing 9 troops and one sailor. According to the plaintiffs, the company that manufactured the amphibious tank knew about dangerous design defects prior to the accident. The plaintiffs say that the device was impossible to escape once it was underwater, trapping anyone inside.

Among the allegations of an ensuing investigation was that the troops were not trained adequately in the use of the amphibious tank, the tank was 35 years old and poorly maintained, and commanding officers exercised poor judgment in authorizing the exercise. The investigation led to the discipline of at least 12 officers and relieved a two-star general who oversaw the training exercise.

The Marine’s admission could hurt the wrongful death lawsuits filed by the families of victims. In the remainder of this article, we’ll explain why.

Assigning liability 

When you buy something new and it doesn’t work, that’s the manufacturer’s fault. If you’ve had the product for the past 35 years, that’s your fault. Essentially, the company that manufactured the amphibious tank is going to blame the military for failing to maintain the amphibious tank in working condition, allowing under-trained Marines to man the tank, and using poor judgment when conducting the exercise. These are fairly strong arguments.

While the families can maintain that the vehicle had a dangerous design defect, the Marines would have had decades to examine that design defect, determine the vehicle was unsafe, and either refit the vehicle, or decommission it.

Dangerous design flaw 

The plaintiffs will maintain that the device was intrinsically dangerous and that such fatalities were inevitable. They will need to downplay the role of commanding officers in authorizing the exercise, the Marine’s failure to perform maintenance on the device, and the failure to adequately train the Marines in the proper use of the device.

So, when does the liability fall on the manufacturer and when would the liability fall on the owner of the vehicle? By law, the division of responsibilities requires the product manufacturer to produce safe products for the public. If someone is injured in the anticipated use of the product, then the plaintiff can sue and recover damages. Nonetheless, the plaintiff has a duty (for example) to ensure that their car is in roadworthy condition. If their car is not in roadworthy condition, and it causes an accident, the plaintiff—not the manufacturer—would be responsible. In this case, it sounds like the Marines are responsible.

Talk to a Tampa Personal Injury Attorney Today 

If you’ve been injured due to the failure of a manufacturer to place a safe product into the stream of commerce, you can file a lawsuit to recover damages. Call the Tampa personal injury attorneys at The Matassini Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your injuries in more detail.


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