U.S. sued for $40M over death caused by camper rented from Fort Campbell

Monday, July 15, 2013 at 6:21pm

A Clarksville woman filed a federal lawsuit against the United States in U.S. District Court in Nashville Monday for $40 million on behalf of her minor children for losses suffered by the death of their father.

James F. Wall II, along with four others, died of carbon monoxide poisoning in 2011 when the camper he had rented from Gear-To-Go, a Moral, Welfare and Recreation facility of Fort Campbell, failed to have batteries in the carbon monoxide detector.

MWR facilities are run by the military to contribute "to the Army’s strength and readiness by offering services that reduce stress, build skills and self confidence for Soldiers and their families," according to a description on the Army MWR website.

Plaintiff Lisa Wells named the U.S. as the defendant in the case, claiming the individuals responsible for Wall’s death were acting as employees of the United States Army.

Wall and four others died while sleeping in the camper that night, which they had taken to the Bikers Who Care event at the Clarksville Speedway in September 2011. It was later determined their deaths were caused by carbon monoxide from the vehicle’s generator.

“If the defendant’s employees had installed batteries in the carbon monoxide alarm/detector,” the suit reads, “the alarm would have sounded and alerted the occupants of the camper to the presence of carbon monoxide, and the occupants would have exited the camper.”

According to Wells, the lack of a functioning carbon monoxide detector violated the National Fire Protection Association standard for leased vehicles and constituted negligence.The Gear-To-Go website calls it “one of the best-kept secrets on Fort Campbell.”

The facility offers a variety of rental equipment for recreation and parties, including boats, cotton candy machines and inflatable structures.

Calls were not answered at Gear-To-Go.