An Indiana woman has been awarded $157 million in a wrongful death lawsuit she filed against the manufacturers of a tree stand that malfunctioned, killing her husband three years ago.
The substantial default judgment, reached by jurors in about an hour, no one representing the defendants — L & L Enterprises in Hattiesburg, Miss., Ol’ Man Tree Stands in Jay, Fla., and TSR Inc. in Pace, Fla. — showed for the trial.
Carol Simonton filed the civil tort in February 2006, about four months after her husband, Timothy Simonton, was found hanged to death in Parke County, IN.
Timothy Simonton, 42, an avid hunter and camper, was sitting in a tree stand scouting for deer the afternoon of Oct. 15, 2005. His family worried when he failed to return to their campsite.
His stepson found Timothy Simonton, hanging in the tree.
In the lawsuit, Carol Simonton requested $6,000 for funeral expenses, which can be reimbursed under Indiana’s wrongful death act. The complaint also sought $1.5 million in lost wages, which was reached by figuring Timothy Simonton’s annual salary of $50,000 for 30 years.
A news release issued July 17, 2007, by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said that TSR Inc. recalled about 9,000 Ol’ Man tree stands and about 500 replacement pin sets because the locking pins could unexpectedly fall out.