Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Equipment maker not responsible for 2009 carbon monoxide deaths in Utah

Coleman is off the hook despite absence of carbon monoxide warning, jurors say.

First Published Dec 24 2012 02:24 pm • Last Updated Apr 08 2013 11:33 pm

A federal jury found that a camping equipment manufacturer was not responsible for the deaths of two people in 2009 who suffered carbon monoxide poisoning while using a propane heater in a tent while camping in Utah.

Steven Dowdy, 28, and Darian Thomlinson, 10, both of Colorado, died while attending a paintball event near Monte Cristo in northern Utah. They were with a group camping near Ant Flat Road in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest and were found dead in their tent around 8 a.m. on June 21, 2009. Investigators said carbon monoxide from a propane radiant heater and a propane lantern used in the tent overnight caused the deaths.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Their families filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court in March 2011 against the Coleman Company, which made the heater and lantern. It alleged the company’s products were defective because they produced large quantities of carbon monoxide and it knew but failed to warn that they should not be used in enclosed areas like tents, campers and cabins.

Unlike competitors’ products, the Coleman heater lacked a built-in safety shut-off device in the event emissions reached toxic levels, the complaint said. The lawsuit also claimed that Coleman had failed to provide warnings or recall the devices despite the defects.

After an eight-day trial this month, the jury found in favor of the company after deliberating for more than seven hours. It said the heater was not defectively designed or unreasonably dangerous, though the company’s warning about its use was inadequate and it was negligent in not providing consumers with a post-sale warning about its use in closed spaces.

Despite that, the jury found the inadequate warning and failure of the company to provide additional use instructions was not to blame for the two campers’ deaths.

brooke@sltrib.com




Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.