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ARTICLE ID 8322

$________ Product liability - Dangerous design - Failure to include barrier guide - Pressperson's right hand degloved in printing press- multiple fractures - Contribution claim against employer - Comparative negligence.

Livingston County, Illinois

The plaintiff suffered a serious injury to her right hand when it became caught between the rollers in a printing press. The press did not have a barrier guide and the plaintiff argued this made the press unreasonably dangerous. The defendant raised a function of the risk defense and sought contribution from the employer alleging that the press had been altered by the employer after purchase.

On March 11, ________, the plaintiff’s right hand and arm became caught between the rollers on a printing press at her job. The right-handed decedent suffered a degloving injury to her hand as well as multiple fractures. She underwent seven surgeries to repair her hand which were not successful and she also underwent approximately three additional cosmetic surgeries to improve the function and appearance of the hand.

Essentially the plaintiff former assistant pressman was left with a hand that was merely a "helper hand" and could not function.

The plaintiff brought suit against the manufacturer of the press alleging a defective and unreasonably dangerous design. The plaintiff alleged that the press failed to include a barrier guide to cover the in-turning rollers located on the press area where it was reasonably foreseeable that a worker would have his or her hand present. Following the incident, the plaintiff was unable to return to her job as an assistant pressperson.

The evidence revealed that the plaintiff was later killed on September 22, ________ in an unrelated automobile accident and the suit was continued by her estate on her behalf.

The defendant manufacturer, Toshiba, maintained that the press was not defective in design or unreasonably dangerous. The defendant asserted that the decedent-operator assumed the risk inherent in operating the machine and was required to exercise due care while around the machine. The manufacturer contended that the decedent was responsible at least partially for her own injuries. The manufacturer additionally contended that the decedent’s employer, R.R. Donnelly was liable under a theory of contribution to the defendant since they had made changes to the press while it was in its possession.

The jury returned a verdict in favor of the decedent and against the defendant manufacturer and the decedent’s employer. The jury determined that the decedent was 15% negligent and that the defendant manufacturer was 50% negligent. The jury then also determined that the decedent’s employer was 35% liable. The jury was only permitted to assess damages from the period of time ranging from ________ when the accident occurred to ________ when the decedent died in the automobile accident. The verdict consisted of $________ for medical expenses, $________ for disfigurement, $________ for disability, $________ for lost earnings and $________ for pain and suffering.

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