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Products Liability - Alleged defective table saw - Severe lacerations and multiple fractures to three fingers on left, non- dominant hand necessitating three surgical interventions.

Morris County

The plaintiff wood worker in his early 30’s contended that the p 7 3 table saw manufactured by the defendant was defective because it did not incorporate a guard that could be safely used for a dado cut. The plaintiff contended that the splitter guard which was on the machine to prevent kickbacks after the wood passed through the blade, could not be used with a dado cut where the blade is elevated into the work piece and that the entire guard, including the splitter portion, would be required to be removed before the dado cut was made. The plaintiff contended that as he was using the saw for a dado cut without a guard, a work piece kicked back, resulting in his left hand contacting the rapidly rotating blade.

The plaintiff’s expert engineer maintained that the defendant should have incorporated a Uniguard which would have a splitter component which could be moved away from the workpiece while leaving the guard intact. The plaintiff’s expert further maintained that the literature accompanying the machine should have contained a greater amount of information regarding the availability and desirability of a Uniguard, which is offered by the defendant as optional equipment.

The defendant’s engineer maintained that the splitter guard supplied with the machine complied with ANSI and was appropriate.

The defendant further maintained that it had information in the manual regarding the Uniguard which was sufficient for an experienced woodworker such as the plaintiff.

The plaintiff contended that he suffered severe lacerations and multiple fractures to three fingers and required three reconstructive surgeries. The plaintiff contended that he will permanently suffer a very substantial cosmetic deformity and loss of use of the hand. The plaintiff contended that he has difficulties with everyday activities around the home and with playing with his children. The plaintiff, who owned a cabinetry business, indicated that although he can no longer engage in actual woodworking, he has been able to continue running the business and the plaintiff made no income claims.

The jury found that the saw was not defectively designed.

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