The Hartman Law Firm, LLC | October 13, 2023, at 09:23 a.m.
Garden City Beach, SC – East Coast Umbrella Inc., the manufacturer of the umbrella that fatally injured Tammy Perreault in Garden City last year, has refuted all claims of negligence in a lawsuit filed by her husband, Michael Perreault. The tragic incident, which took place on August 10, 2022, saw Tammy Perreault being struck in the chest by a wind-propelled umbrella. The event garnered significant media attention, and her death was deemed accidental by authorities.
However, Michael Perreault initiated a lawsuit on August 15, alleging that the company sold a product with a “spear-like” design. In their defense, presented on October 2, the North Carolina-based company outlined 13 potential defenses, primarily emphasizing the lack of evidence to establish their liability. They also suggested that the incident might be viewed as an “act of God,” which could exempt them from responsibility.
In his legal complaint, Michael Perreault claimed that the umbrella did not have adequate safety measures to remain fixed in the sand and that the company failed to provide any warnings about potential risks if the umbrella was not properly anchored. He further accused East Coast Umbrella of producing a design that was “dangerously flawed, insufficient, unsafe, and defective,” particularly pointing to its “spear-like” tip.
Michael Perreault emphasized that they were unaware of the umbrella’s alleged defects when the accident occurred, holding these defects responsible for his wife’s demise. The lawsuit states that he has suffered immense emotional distress, anxiety, and grief due to the loss of his wife and seeks compensation for the same.
While Michael Perreault and his lawyer, Ian Maguire, chose not to comment on the matter, East Coast Umbrella Inc. defended its products, stating they adhere to industry standards. They also proposed that the mishap might have resulted from misuse of the umbrella.
Michael Perreault has requested a jury trial and is pursuing damages. East Coast Umbrella aims to transfer the case to a federal court, citing the significant amount of damages sought and the different states of residence for the plaintiff and the company.
In a related development, Michael Perreault settled with Beach Services Ltd., an umbrella rental firm, in July. The specifics of this settlement remain undisclosed.
Following Tammy Perreault’s death, Horry County has refrained from altering its beach shading regulations. The county permits only umbrellas measuring 7 to 9 feet in diameter during the peak summer months and prohibits large tents or wind-driven shading devices.
From 2010 to 2018, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that approximately 2,800 individuals received treatment for injuries caused by wind-driven umbrellas.
The Hartman Law Firm, LLC is very sorry to the loved ones who are having to go through this challenging time. If you have been the victim of a car accident or a wrongful death, please call for a free 20-minute consultation.