$350,000 Settlement for Finger Amputations
- Date: Fall 2015
- Settlement: $350,000
- Practice Areas: Product Liability
The firm represented a middle-aged man who sustained partial finger amputations when a co-worker turned on a large industrial meat blender while our client was cleaning the machine. It was alleged that the product was defective because even though the manufacturer had an electronic interlock system on the machine, it could easily be disabled. It was alleged that a solid guard should have been welded on the machine to prevent exactly what happened in this case. The large industrial machine had no identifying markers and no product identification plate. To this day it is not clear when the machine was manufactured but it is believed to have been manufactured in the 1970s. The product was bought at a foreclosure auction by an earlier company which went bankrupt and came with no identifying paperwork or trail. After scouring the internet, government and industry databases, the firm started reaching out to second hand sellers of large kitchen machinery to see if anyone could identify the manufacturer of the subject machine. After hitting numerous dead ends, the firm retained an expert in second hand kitchen equipment dealer who indicated that he was not able to definitively identify the manufacturer, but based on his extensive experience he could provide a list of all of the possible companies that manufactured this type of machine. That expert reached out to internal and other industry contacts, and provided pictures of the subject machine to see if he could find anyone who could identify the manufacturer of the machine. That search led to one individual from California who actually worked on the assembly line in the company alleged to have manufactured the machine back in the 1970s, and he indicated that he is certain of the identity of the manufacturer of the machine as he actually built these machines with his own hands. The firm retained that factory worker as an expert and he provided a list of features on the subject machine unique to the particular alleged manufacturer. During litigation, the engineers from the now identified manufacturer provided their own lists indicating why the machine was not manufactured by their company and refuting the claims of the expert who the firm retained. The firm was able to secure old product manuals from the 1970s and early 1980s which suggested the expert hired by the firm was correct, and after extensive and detailed depositions into the minute features of this product, the engineers for the company admitted that many of their distinctions were incorrect, and the case settled shortly thereafter for $350,000 against the manufacturer of the machine and another entity.