A 38-year-old builder lost his thumb when a mortar-style firework exploded in his hand. The rocket part of the firework had inadvertently been placed in the mortar upside down, This caused the rocket to remain in the mortar for the initial “lift” phase and caused the mortar to tumble on its side – pointing directly at Marks’ young daughter. He immediately, and without hesitation, grabbed the mortar to redirect it when the second phase exploded. The tube shattered blowing off the plaintiff’s right thumb. Phantom denied liability based upon the fact that the firework had been mishandled.
Attorney Jack Hamilton took the case and discovered that there are firework regulations (which applied in this case) that require the mortar of these types of fireworks to withstand an explosion inside the mortar – even if the rocket part is placed in upside down. Since the mortar shattered, injuring the plaintiff, we were able to prove that the mortar was defective. Phantom ended up paying $600,000 to settle the case – one of the largest amounts for a case involving the loss of a thumb on record in Florida.