A Salem man and woman are suing Dick's Sporting Goods for more than $455,000 after a pair of kayaks they purchased at the Salem store capsized in the Santiam River.
When Bryan Orrio and Keeley McCallum bought two $500 Old Town Trip 10 kayaks from Dick's on May 6, 2016, the floor models they were sold were "dangerous" and "defective," according to a complaint filed in Marion County Circuit Court.
Representatives from Dick's Sporting Goods did not respond Monday to requests for comment.
While purchasing the kayaks, Orrio asked a store employee, who claimed to be a seasoned kayaker, what the purpose of a Styrofoam-like square at the front end of the kayak served.
The employee allegedly said it was packing material and, with the help of another employee, proceeded to remove the squares from each kayak with a screwdriver and a knife.
According to the lawsuit, the material was necessary for keeping the kayaks safe and afloat.
Orrio, a former Marion County deputy district attorney, and McCallum decided to try the kayaks for the first time and launched into the Santiam River near Mehama.
As they began to paddle, water poured into the kayaks and the vessels started to sink, the complaint states.
McCallum scrambled to salvage items sent adrift in the river and navigated her sinking boat back to the shore.
Orrio's kayak took on water much faster as the current pulled the vessel into Class II rapids. According to the complaint, he was "forced to swim and struggled against the current to pull the kayak and oar to the mossy rocks on the opposite shore."
The weight of their water-logged kayaks required a tremendous amount of exertion, the pair's attorney said. The exertion and struggle to recover their capsized kayaks injured both.
Orrio sustained a herniated disc with a fragment, a disc protrusion, lumbar strain and an injured shin. McCallum strained her neck, back, right shoulder and right knee, and experienced headaches, altered shoulder movement, torn tendons, shoulder pain, stress fractures in her vertebrae.
Their injuries are permanent, according to the complaint, which alleges the kayaks were sold in "unreasonably dangerous condition."
It also stated the store employees were negligent in removing the Styrofoam-like material from the kayaks.
Orrio incurred more than $4,000 in medical expenses and said he expects to spend $60,000 on future medical care relating to his injuries. He requested Dick's Sporting Goods pay $64,573 in economic damages and $250,000 in non-economic damages for his pain, suffering, emotional district and disruption in normal activities.
McCallum spent more than $10,000 for medical care and expects to pay another $5,000. She also requested $125,000 for the emotional distress, pain and suffering the incident caused her.
The pair requested Dick's pay a total of $455,199, which includes the cost of the kayaks, for their employees' negligence.
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