$945,000 Recovered Against Product Manufacturer
Rossetti & DeVoto recovered $945,000 for woman injured by a defective workplace machine causing amputation to her thumb. The case was handled by Andy Rossetti. RD’s 56 year-old client had her thumb amputated by an unguarded rotating shaft on a wave solder machine. She worked in a manufacturing plant and her job was to shut down the machine by bringing the hot solder pot out of the machine and place a thermal blanket on top of the pot, and then bring the pot back into the machine. When the solder pot comes out of the machine it rolls out onto a stand via a rotating roll-out shaft. This shaft protrudes out of the stand by approximately 2 ½ inches and was unguarded by design.
While shutting down the machine, the blanket that our client was holding became entangled in this unguarded, protruding portion of the roll-out shaft, causing her hands to become trapped within the blanket. As plaintiff resisted her hands being pulled in the machine, the canvas-like blanket wrapped around her thumbs and her right thumb was amputated and left partially amputated when she tried to pull away.
The defense claimed the injury could not have happen this way because the shaft was smooth and that their machine was safe and not defective. Andy Rossetti, who handled the case for Rossetti and DeVoto, took hours and hours of depositions of everyone who was working at the plant at the time of the injury. Although there were no direct eyewitnesses, Rossetti was able to prove that the injuries were caused by the thermal blanket getting caught on the protruding, unguarded portion of the roll-out shaft.
Rossetti and DeVoto hired machine design expert, Steven Batterman, Ph.D. He and Mr. Rossetti went to the plant on several occasions to analyze and operate the machine. At substantial expense, Dr. Batterman designed two alternative methods to guard the shaft and make the machine safer; a guard over the shaft and/or recessing the shaft behind the panel door. Additionally, using his biomechanics expertise, Dr. Batterman analyzed the avulsion injuries suffered by our client to further confirm how the incident occurred.
Far too often factory workers are needlessly injured when simple guarding or design changes would have made the machine safe. “Without lawsuits product manufacturers would have very little incentive to make products safer and would always put profit over safety” according to Rossetti. Many of Rossetti and DeVoto’s product defect cases expose otherwise unknown product defects.