Table saw maker not to blame for man slicing his fingers

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Forum topic by Betsy posted 09-26-2008 09:14 PM 3242 views 1 time favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3391 posts in 4100 days

09-26-2008 09:14 PM

Got this at work (work in a law office)

This is a jury verdict out of New York. Jury got it right.

“A jury declined to award damages to a man who lost parts of two fingers in an accident involving a table saw. The plaintiff, Francisco Morales, sued the saw’s manufacturer and an alleged retailer of the tool, claiming that the tool was unsafe because its blade guard was easily removable. The guard was not in place at the time of the incident, and Morales sustained amputations of four fingers while attempting to guide a piece of wood across the blade. Two of the fingers were reattached later. The defendants prevailed by arguing that the guard had to be removable, to allow certain types of cuts, and that Morales should have used a safer, accepted method of guiding the wood across the saw — one that would have kept his hands out of harm’s way.”

Morales v. Delta International Machine Corp.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

34 replies so far

View Karson's profile


35149 posts in 4604 days

#1 posted 09-26-2008 09:16 PM

Great. A jury that is alive and kicking

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View gusthehonky's profile


130 posts in 3946 days

#2 posted 09-26-2008 09:27 PM

This is a prime example of a frivolous law suit. Hope he has to pay all legal fees for defendant and all court costs.

-- Ciao, gth.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4422 days

#3 posted 09-26-2008 09:31 PM

The guy should have to pay Delta’s legal expenses.

That’s one of the problems with the system… people sue because they don’t have much to lose, and they know they just might hit the jackpot.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View lew's profile


12437 posts in 3959 days

#4 posted 09-26-2008 10:11 PM

Is that the way today!

No matter what happens to you and how carelessly you act- it’s always the fault of someone else. Thank goodness juries are beginning to realize that people have to be responsible for their own actions.

Thanks, Betsy.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Christopher's profile


576 posts in 4124 days

#5 posted 09-27-2008 05:14 AM

I wish people would realize what reasonable doubt means as well.

View mattm's profile


27 posts in 3850 days

#6 posted 09-27-2008 06:10 AM

Huh, interesting. Makes me wonder about what happened before the trial. Usually in a case like this the defendant will just try to settle beforehand, to avoid the cost of a trial. I wonder if this guy rejected whatever they offered because he thought he’d be able win more at trial.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18618 posts in 4364 days

#7 posted 09-27-2008 01:58 PM

I had a feeling that our society was starting to change and this type of lawsuit was going to become part of our past. Here is my proof—one step at a time, the people are saying “no more”. Thanks for sharing!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 3958 days

#8 posted 09-27-2008 04:43 PM

Woohoo, I am glad common sense prevailed here!

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View Yettiman's profile


163 posts in 3941 days

#9 posted 09-27-2008 05:59 PM

At last a verdict for common sense. At last the law gives no credence to the basic pricinple, that people owe themselves duty of care rather than demanding compensation for their own stupidity. I feel sorry for the chap who lost his fingers, but it was his fault not the saw design.

-- Keep your tools sharp, your mind sharper and the coffee hot

View Al Killian's profile

Al Killian

273 posts in 3957 days

#10 posted 10-16-2008 06:18 AM

Maybe there’s hope for our legal system after all!

I wil hold my tounge on this one. Yes that type of case is running our system to much. No back to hiding from the dog. :)

-- Owner of custom millwork shop

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 4100 days

#11 posted 10-16-2008 06:50 AM

It was certainly interesting to see this case come up. I would like to have known what the pre-trial offers/demands were as well. It could be that Delta offered nothing. A lot of defendants are finally saying that they would rather take their chances at trial as opposed to saving money on legal fees by settling before trial. In other words, some defendants are saying, “I know if I settle now, even though we are not wrong, it will cost me less” but “if I take it to trial it may cost me more in legal fees but I have a good chance of winning the moral victory.” As I recall, Disney did this a number of years ago and actually got a reputation for not settling and taking every case to trial. It soon found itself with a lot less claims. When the plaintiff’s lawyers could not make a good buck on taking cases that would settle for very little effort, it was no longer profitable to take those little cases. So now when you see a case against Disney – you know there is probably some merit to it. Not that every case is a bad mark against Disney – just that a lawyer thinks he’s got a good chance of winning. There are several other corporations that are taking this hard line. Maybe Delta is one of them. A lawyer is not going to take a case on unless he/she thinks they will win – because they don’t make money unless they win. They make more money by settling without going to trial. Going to trial is a very expensive and risky proposition. It can be lucrative, but it’s expensive and risky all the same.
I’m rambling – sorry.

Long and short though – use your safety devices and if you loose a finger—- don’t blame the saw.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View woodchips's profile


238 posts in 4168 days

#12 posted 10-16-2008 07:52 AM

wow when i first read this i thought to myself, “hey wait a minute that’s like saying the gun manufacturer is responsible for me shooting myself in the foot because they designed the gun to hold bullets”.

thank goodness for a jury that used some common sense. hopefully next time the guy will use featherboards and a pushstick or some sort.


-- "Repetition is a leading cause of carelessness, and carelessness usually leads to injury"

View NY_Rocking_Chairs's profile


521 posts in 3801 days

#13 posted 10-16-2008 06:16 PM

Um, there are people suing gun manufacturers for shooting deaths and violence.

Then there is this one.

Just do a google on gun manufacturer law suits and prepare to be amazed.

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

View mart's profile


190 posts in 3828 days

#14 posted 11-02-2008 09:12 PM

The thought of suing someone when I lost my left middle finger tip (back to the knuckel) to a table saw, never crossed my mind. I was using my employer’s saw (on my own time) when the accident happened. My fault, my error and my responsibilty. I sure do miss that finger tip though. I used to type 60 wpm, now about 15-20. Eight years later I lost my left thumb tip letting down my 35 hp boat motor. I was holding the motor forward with my right hand and manipulating the motor lock down lever with my left hand. The wake from another boat caused me to loose my hold with my right hand and the moter pivoted down catching my thumb tip between the motor and the transom mount. It cleanly sheared about 3/8” off my thumb. I still didn’t consider suing anyone. I sure felt stupid and have endured endless jokes about my digitary shortcomings. I actually enjoy the jokes but would never consider going before a jury to ask for money for my own stupidity.


View Bob42's profile


456 posts in 3994 days

#15 posted 11-02-2008 09:39 PM

I am a New Yorker born and raised here, and glad to see that their are still some good jury”s here. I thought they all left. We have to be accountable for the things we do. You can’t get a free ride when you screw up.
I am thinking of going to N. Carolina soon. In a couple of years. My wife is really starting to like the idea.

-- Bob K. East Northport, NY

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