Indiana Jury Awards $157 Million in Tree Stand Death

February 20, 2009

Jurors in Indiana have awarded a Lafayette woman $157 million in a lawsuit against the makers of a tree stand that malfunctioned, resulting in her husband’s death.

Jurors deliberated for about an hour before reaching the verdict in Tippecanoe Superior Court.

Carol Simonton filed the lawsuit in February 2006, about four months after her 42-year-old husband, Timothy Simonton, was found hanging from a tree where he had been scouting for deer.

Simonton’s attorney, Mike Phelps of Bloomington, said he suggested a $100 million award during closing arguments in the trial. He said he did not know how jurors reached the $157 million amount.

The complaint had sought $6,000 for funeral expenses and $1.5 million for lost wages based on what Timothy Simonton would have earned over 30 years.

No one representing the defendants — L & L Enterprises of Hattiesburg, Miss., Ol’ Man Tree Stands of Jay, Fla., and TSR Inc. of Pace, Fla. — showed up for the trial.

Tim Carley of Hattiesburg, Miss., who was listed as a registered agent for L & L Enterprises on the online court system, said he was unaware that the company had been sued and hadn’t been involved with the company for about a year.

The Associated Press left a phone message seeking comment from Ol’ Man Tree Stands and TSR Inc.

TSR Inc. recalled about 9,000 Ol’ Man tree stands and about 500 replacement pin sets in 2007 because the locking pins could unexpectedly fall out, resulting in a fall, according to a news release from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The recall also was mentioned on the company’s answering machine.


Information from: Journal and Courier,

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