Federal jury orders Coleman Co. to pay $10.1 million in damages

Federal jury orders Coleman Co. to pay $10.1 million in damages

A federal jury has ordered Coleman Co. to pay a Florida woman $10.1 million in damages in connection with a malfunctioning propane heater that killed her husband Pedro and his teenage son Rolando.

In November 1999, Pedro Covas and his 16-year-old son Rolando died on a hunting and camping trip after their Coleman Focus-5 heater allegedly malfunctioned in their tent while they were sleeping. The unventilated tent filled with a deadly carbon monoxide gas that killed both the father and the son.

The product liability suit was filed against Coleman in June 2000, and after a nine-day trial, the jury decided on June 23 that Coleman Co. was 75 percent negligent for the death of Pedro and Rolando. The jury found Pedro 20 percent liable and Rolando five percent liable, resulting in the $4 million award for past and future pain and suffering caused by the loss of the woman’s son and $1.5 million for the loss of her husband.

Pedro had two surviving sons aged three and eight at the time of his death, and the jury awarded them just under $4 million for the loss of their father. The remaining $1 million was awarded to cover the loss of Pedro Covas’ financial support to his family.

A Coleman spokeswoman said the company was planning on appealing.

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