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ARTICLE ID 30881

$________ - PRODUCTS LIABILITY - FINGER IS AMPUTATED BY TABLE SAW DESIGNED AND MANUFACTURED BY THE DEFENDANT - AMPUTATED RING FINGER - SEVERED FLEXOR AND EXTENSOR TENDONS ON MIDDLE AND PINKIE FINGERS - SUBSEQUENT TENDONITIS IN ELBOW.

U.S. District Court in Boston, Massachusetts

The plaintiff claimed that the defendants’ saw was defectively designed and manufacture, causing the amputation of the plaintiff’s finger and other injuries. The plaintiff brought suit against the designer/manufacturer of the saw as well as the retail outlet where the plaintiff purchased the saw. The defendants claimed that the saw was not defective, nor were the warning labels inadequate. The defendants also asserted that the plaintiff was at fault for removing the guard from the saw. The plaintiff made a pretrial demand of $________ which the defendants declined and did not counter offer.

The plaintiff was a locksmith who was using the subject saw to dismantle a door. The plaintiff turned the saw off and removed the say from the door. The plaintiff then turned back to the saw whereupon his hand came in contact with the blade which was still spinning several seconds after the plaintiff had turned it off.

The plaintiff’s fingers were severely lacerated and his ring finger was severed. The plaintiff was taken to an emergency room and later to another hospital where reattachment surgery was performed on the severed finger.

Over the following two years, the plaintiff underwent five additional surgeries on the reattached finger as well as the flexor and extensor tendons of the middle and pinkie fingers. The reattachment was ultimately unsuccessful and the ring finger was eventually surgically amputated. The plaintiff has limited use of the other injured fingers. Upon returning to work, the plaintiff developed tendonitis in his left elbow which was attributed to his overcompensating for the limitations of his injured hand, and he underwent surgery to repair the tendonitis.

At trial, the plaintiff presented an expert engineer who testified that the defendants could have applied a brake to the saw which would cause the saw blade to stop spinning almost immediately upon being turned off. The plaintiff’s expert testified that such a brake would have prevented the plaintiff’s injury. The plaintiff also presented a witness who testified that he had developed a braking system for power saws and that it had been marketed to the defendants, but that the defendants felt it was too expensive to manufacture the saws with such a braking system.

The defendants contended that the saw was not defective simply by not having an aggressive braking system. The defendants claimed that an aggressive braking system would, in fact, make the saw more dangerous. The defendants claimed that the braking system proposed by the plaintiff’s expert would cause the saw’s arbor nut to come loose, creating a greater hazard as the blade could wobble or even dislodge entirely. The defendants presented testimony from an expert engineer who stated that the defendants tested the proposed braking system, but discarded the technology because it caused the nut holding the blade to the saw to become loose. The plaintiff cross-examined the defense expert and elicited testimony that the testing was performed because of a similar lawsuit for injury from a spinning blade. Furthermore, the defense expert allowed that, under testing, the arbor nut did not come loose on competitors’ saws even with the braking system and, in fact, the braking system caused the nut to tighten on the other saws.

The jury concluded that the defendants breached the warranty of safety and found in favor of the plaintiff. The jury also found the plaintiff comparatively negligent by 49%. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff wife on her loss of consortium claim. The jury awarded the plaintiffs $________ broken down as follows: $________ to the plaintiff husband, $________ to the plaintiff wife, and ________ in prejudgment interest.

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