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ARTICLE ID 195918

$________ – Personal Negligence – Machine guarding – Failure to warn – Man sues brother-in-law after angle grinder leaves him blind in one eye superimposed on preexisting blindness in other eye – Wheel of angle grinder breaks, shooting a piece of it into face – Retinal detachment – Blindness in left eye to plaintiff already blind in right eye.

Gadsden Circuit Court

In this personal negligence action, a man sued his brother-in-law relating to an incident that left him blind. The matter was resolved with a jury verdict.

On Feb. 13, ________, the plaintiff, James S. was helping his brother-in-law, the defendant. Larry C., with plumbing repair at his home in Quincy, when the wheel of the angle grinder he was using broke, shooting a piece of it into his face. The blade piece struck the protective glasses James was wearing with such force that the lens actually flexed backwards (i.e., towards plaintiff’s face), and the inside of the lens struck his left eye. The impact caused his retina to detach, causing blindness. The plaintiff was already blind in his right eye. The plaintiff underwent two surgeries in an attempt to reattach his retina, but they were both unsuccessful.

The plaintiff filed suit in Gadsden Circuit Court against Larry C., accusing him of negligence. The plaintiff sought past and future medical expenses, as well as pain and suffering damages. The defendant denied negligence.

At trial, the plaintiff stated that defendant knew that the machine was dangerous due to a previous, similar incident. The plaintiff asserted that, while this was accurate, the defendant failed to warn plaintiff about the incident. This failure to warn was at the center of plaintiff’s case. The defendant asserted that the injury was the result of a kick-back, and that plaintiff had overtightened the blade, causing it to crack.

After the week-long trial, the jury returned a finding for the plaintiff, finding defendant 55% liable for the incident, with plaintiff 45% liable. They awarded $________ in damages from pain and suffering, disability, impairment, disfigurement, mental anguish, and loss of the capacity to enjoy life. His past and future damages from medical expenses totaled an additional $________.

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