Our client v. Sears Roebuck, Vermont American et. al. $600,000.
This was a case involving the loss of an eye to a man who already was blind in the other eye. Our client resided in Crescent City, California and had a passion for wood working. He had a Sears circular table saw and it came with a metal insert and a plastic guard. He put a Vermont American carbide tipped saw blade on the saw. Carbide is very brittle when contacted by metal but it is very durable otherwise. Our client was using the saw in his garage and heard the telephone ring in his adjacent house. He answered the phone and left the saw running with the plastic guard down. The guard did not completely cover the portion of the saw blade that protruded above the saw insert and table. When he went inside the house he removed his safety glasses, too. Upon his return to the garage he took a couple of steps toward the saw which was on the other side of the room and heard a high pitched clicking sound coming from the saw. He looked at the saw with his good eye and was immediately struck with something that penetrated the eye. What had happened is that the metal saw insert that surrounds that blade at the table level had vibrated loose (held only with two clips) and had moved against the running blade. The insert contacted one of the carbide saw blade tips and fractured it. The tip was then propelled under the guard and on a trajectory that his our client in his good eye across the room. We had an x-ray which showed the tip penetrating his eye and causing damage to his retina, lens and cornea. As a result of this impact he lost all of his vision. The defendants fought this case very hard but we were able to settle it after trips to Chicago and Louisville, Kentucky for depositions. Plaintiff was able to establish that the design of the clips retaining the saw insert was defective.