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The SawStop tablesaw features a finger-saving device that stops a blade as soon as it hits flesh.
I just read an article on the Boston Globe’s website about a guy in Malden, Mass., who was awarded $1.5 million in damages in a suit against One World Technologies, Inc., makers of Ryobi tools.
According to the complaint filed in 2006, Carlos Osorio suffered serious finger injuries using a tablesaw while cutting some oak flooring. The suit alleged that One World was negligent because its saws lack “flesh-detection technology,” which the plaintiffs claim would have prevented Osorio’s injuries. The device, invented by Steve Gass and manufactured by SawStop, stops a sawblade in an instant when it makes contact with skin. The safety feature was pitched to major saw manufacturers by Gass, but according to SawStop, licensing negotiations broke down and no agreements were reached. In the end, Gass and his colleagues, David Fanning and David Fulmer, launched the SawStop line of tablesaws on their own.
According to the story, this case is one of more than 50 suits pending throughout the U.S. against tablesaw manufacturers for failure to include the flesh-detection technology in their products.
Now that riving knives finally are mainstream on American-made tablesaws, could SawStop’s technology be far behind?
Update: If you want to read about Gass’s take on the issue, check out a recent article in The Oregonian. Of the verdict, Gass says, “There was definitely a feeling of vindication,” Gass said. “We’ve been continuously attacked. There was a lot of personal satisfaction when the verdict came out.”
NOTE: More to come… Fine Woodworking editors are working on an in-depth report.
Ryobi's parent company was sued because their tablesaws do not have "flesh-detecting technology" that would prevent serious injuries.
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Was the buyer informed that there isn't any flesh detection technology or he sued the company because it was somehow obliged to implement such protective feature to the tablesaw ?
Thank you for sharing it.
You can buy a cheaper saw if you always use the rip fence and the crosscut guide. Yes, being underpowerd may contribute to kickback, but I doubt it. I have been using my Dad's old 1965 3/4 hp Craftsman saw for 20 years and have only had kickback once while stupidly cutting a piece of plywood that was too deep to use the crosscut guide. I have stopped the motor a few times with a heavy loads and never had kickback due to it being underpowered. I tend to think if you have too much power, it would be more potentially dangerous as there is more energy in the kickback. It wasn't Ryobi's fault as I undersatnd it, but the operator who wasn't properly trained, and didn't use the either the fence or the crosscut guide. There is a lot of power in the 3 hp saws, no matter what the brand.
I reviewed my posts and I need to correct a comment I made on the Sawstop not doing anything for kickback. That is obviously incorrect as it has a riving knife. What I meant to say is the blade scramming technology by itself does nothing for kickback. After the worst tablesaw injury I have had, which was due to kickback, no matter what saw i would use, even with a riving knife, I would still be constantly concerned about potential kickback. I am looking forward to eventually purchasing a saw with a riving knife. For now, I use my push stick that covers enough of the board to give me some leverage, and also has a hook on the heel.
Even knowing it was a sawstop saw I would not give it the opportunity to harm me. Woodworking is inherently dangerous, if you can't bear the thought of losing a finger or two find another hobby. Does this mean every manufacturer that comes up with a safety feature should force others without that feature to print it in huge font on the box?
Seems ridiculous, I never abided by the sue everyone mentality that has swept the nation.
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OK Tiptoe Fabulico, you managed to demonstrate not only overt racism, but a startling lack of legal knowledge as well.
Let's start with you ignorant belief that a white Anglo-Saxon has any more intelligence than any other person of any race or nationality. Some of our top end tools come from the non English speaking Europe. Who knows the race of the engineers who developed them, or for that matter, the race of American Engineers who developed our best tools. The blame lies more with the lack of training his employer provided than with the injured worker. How many people, when instructed to do something by the boss, especially in this economy, will refuse. The fact that so many EXPERIENCED woodworkers have industrial accidents is testament that any momentary inattention or neglect can remove a hand.
Second, the courts didn't fall over themselves, this case was heard by a jury of AMERICAN CITIZENS, and then affirmed by an appellate court, most likely composed entirely of White Anglo-Saxon Americans. Speaking Spanish or Swahili, had zero to do with this incident.
Your ignorance of American Law continues with the ridiculous statement that he initially failed in an attempt to SUE workman's Compensation. Most high school graduates know that Worker's Comp benefits are provided automatically to every injured worker. You never have, nor can you now, sue your own employer. These laws were instituted throughout the United States about 100 years ago, providing automatic medical coverage IN EXCHANGE FOR giving up the right to sue an employer. Such suits are not possible.
Finally, it was not some ambulance chaser who took his case. If you had understood the article you read, you would have realized that it was corporate America who brought this case. Read again SLOWLY, and sound out the words. The insurance company, no doubt through silk stocking BMW chasing lawyers, was the Plaintiff. They sued to get back the medical benefits they had been required to pay automatically to the injured worker. Try looking up the word SUBROGATION before your become a legal spokesman. This award went to some multi billion dollar insurance company like Allstate, or Liberty Mutual.
The only part of your post that is accurate, is that it is stuff like this that makes me ashamed of America. No doubt, not too far back in your family tree, was a non English speaking immigrant, who took on the most difficult of manual labor, in order for you to have a life in America. Your name does not sound too Anglo Saxon to me, unless you just changed it because you like the Latin lilt your name now has. No doubt, it America that is ashamed of you.
Rule #1 of Engineering Safety -
"Never put your hands where you wouldn't put your willie."
I have to bring this article back to life because what's happening now is scary business: http://www.baynews9.com/article/news/ap/may/251698/New-rules-for-table-saws-sought-to-cut-amputations When Congress gets involved, it's going to cost us all.
The "gentleman" (and I use that term very loosely now) that invented SawStop technology has apparently hired himself some lobbyists to get Congress to pass legislation that would require all table saws to have his technology. I am a capitalist through and through but I, for one, will NEVER buy a table saw with his technology if he intends to hold the industry hostage.
I started using table saws when I was 10. The very first thing my dad said before we even turned it on was "KEEP YOUR G__ D___ FINGERS AWAY FROM THE BLADE!". I take that advice to heart EVERY time I turn on a saw. If you can't keep your fingers out of the blade, it's not the saws fault! Accidents happen and they are unfortunate but this is a typical knee-jerk reaction to appease the VERY MINISCULE population of those who probably shouldn't be using a table saw in the first place.
I personally believe that table saws would be safer WITHOUT safety devices. They cause the users to become complacent. The machine is not going to save you from your own stupidity.
I know the table saw manufacturers have plenty of lobbyists on their payroll and I hope they can manage to have this turned around. It could put table saws out of the reach of the average buyer which would affect the industry and economy.
I hope the people at Fine Woodworking also get involved to get this stopped. It's really a shame what this guy is trying to do.
Hi, Judge must have nine fingers. I had a accident about 2 years ago. The only good thing that came out of it was that my thumb was north south. If it was east west I would have lost the thumb. The only reason for the accident was stupidity which is the reason for most or all saw accidents. I can't afford a saw-stop but I learned a lesson. PAY-ATTENTION
This is utter insanity. The guy got hurt because he was sloppy, or inept, or ignorant, or plain unlucky-- not because of any flaw in the saw. For him to be rewarded, and for the rest of us to be saddled with expensive, unnecessary but mandatory saw "safety" features, is WRONG.
In this case, as in many others, the judge could have thrown out the verdict if he/she had any common sense since the jury had none. When are 'we the people' going to be held responsible for our own actions? Perhaps we should start bombarding our representatives to pass some legislation requiring us to protect ourselves from our own stupidity and not hold someone else responsible. I'm sure that this would not sit well with the bloodsucking, ambulance chasing scum in the legal profession (certainly not all, but too many) but it is worth a try.
Ihateusernames (Jamie) must have picked up the flawed logic of many lawyers in law school. Very nice people, most lawyers, but many seem to just not be able to think like normal responsible people anymore. I've owned a Ryobi table saw and a Ryobi miter saw for a few years. I've built two large patios, a front porch railing, and many shelving units, installed wainscoting and window framing, etc., etc., and find the Ryobi saws to be excellent tools. I've had to make no adjustments to them and they are still safely cutting like a dream with the original Ryobi blades.
I am a retired cabinet maker and I still do woodworking as a hobby.
It's actually pretty simple as a solvable problem, and it's really a shame that we will have resort to these tactics. I cannot afford to purchase all the tools I would like to have, and if forced to by legislation, I will do as I have in the past, and that is to improvise a suitable facsimile of what I need.
I'm sure I can manufacture a very good example of a tablesaw made to my specs for a lot less money than large scale manufacturers would want.
Thanx for forcing me to take such steps.
so....using this ruling by the court, if I go for a drive in my car and I, for whatever reason, decide to not fasten my seatbelt, (you can see where I'm going with this), I get injured. I then should be able to sue the automobile company because they had not installed AUTOMATIC restraints. Do you actually think that I could possibly win this lawsuit? Since personal responsibility and my own lack of action did indeed cause my injury, that should have no bearing on my lawsuit against a major automobile manufacture. I'm already thinking of the benefits of the
Ryobi ruling!! We all could become rich due to our carelessness and lack of common sense.
Also, from what I have read and heard about the Sawstop, once this device is activated, the whole system must be replaced before using the saw again. This consists of a new blade and brake. You know the only place to get these will be at Sawstop, even if all manufacturers will be required to use this technology, I doubt Sawstop will allow them to sell the replacements.
Another point, if this machine has a defeat switch for cutting wet wood, then why is this machine any different from the others. The same liability issue will come into effect here. I want to saw wet wood, I switch off the device and get injured, I sue Sawstop and am awarded millions of dollars. My lawsuit is based on, (stay with me on this), the mere fact that they gave me the option to shut off their safety feature if I wanted too. Game over!!!! I am laughing so hard I can barely finish this.
My brain is turning to jelly with these kind of rulings.
Three years ago, I had a boss whom I regarded as a buffoon. He told me bought a Powermatic table saw. When he told me this, I thought, to myself, that it would be a wonder if he didn't hurt himself. Two weeks later he came to work with his right hand professionally bandaged. He told me that he ran his hand into the blade. I've never come close to putting my hand into the workings of any kind of power tool. I don't see how any company could be held liable for that fool's mistake. If there was a problem with the wiring, and he was electrocuted, then there would be clear liability. But to award damages to a someone who doesn't take basic safety precautions is ridiculous. In the end, such lawsuits make the tools more expensive for all of us.
I feel that it is a matter of sheer negligence ,it has nothing to do with a company's negligence (whether it is a Makita or Ryobi ).One should need to learn to operate table saw first and then start fiddling with it.
The saw-stop system is one of several viable safety devices. It is a "last-chance" device which can prevent tragedy when all other devices, including common-sense and caution, fail. That makes it especially valuable if you run a professional shop with inexperienced employees and must pay for insurance.
However, the lawyer that owns the patent wants too much for it in licensing fees, which naturally makes other manufacturers reluctant to use it. If you investigate as I have, you will discover that his well-connected friends have created a network of affiliated shadow companies who's ultimate purpose is to force congress to enact laws that mandate the use of his patent. This is not altruistic consumer-advocacy. This is an attempt to force an entire industry to over-pay for a simple safety device. Although the device works in dramatic video demonstrations, the method in which is it being marketed amounts to legal extortion.
Even if you are too busy to investigate Gass and his liaisons, or simply don't care about their entangled corporate veils, you can easily see at the Saw-Stop website how they openly ask for testimonials for Saw-Stop products and simultaneously provides links to injury attorneys. Even if his motives were altruistic, it is criminally heartless to profit from other's misfortune so brazenly.
This is not at all like mandating seat-belts, since almost every American drives cars and only a small percentage of the populace operates table-saws. There is another crucial difference too. The effort to mandate seat belts was unprofitable for the people who enacted it and worked to get that passed. The advocates that made that happen did not own patents on seat belts.
Seat-belts and air bags are not "ancillary" safety devices, since we operate cars in a public environment, and so are often exposed to the incompetence of others. We cannot enact laws against personal ineptitude in private.
We should not object to the Saw-Stop device or its proper use. However, we should not imagine it is perfect. After all, it has a defeat-switch so that the saw will operate in moist wood. As such, the inventor / patent owner recognizes it has limitations and is no substitute for other safety measures, especially under certain conditions.
If Gass was truly concerned about consumer safety, he would license the product for free, or at least at a reasonable price. He could still manufacture the devices to fit all popular brands so that consumers would have a choice to purchase it as an option, thereby insuring a fair profitable business.
Inventors should be paid for their inventions, especially when that invention can be the difference between a fun hobby and a tragic weekend. Unless the device is used in an occupational environment, it is an ancillary elective device. No elective product like an ancillary safety-device should be forced upon a industry that makes machines for hobbyists or that is used by individuals at their own risk.
The solution to this debate is simple: Allow Gass & Co. to continue marketing the Saw-Stop device in his own company's saws, and legally force him to license the devices to other manufacturers at a reasonable profit, instead of the exorbitant fees he wants. If congress was truly concerned about anything (other than keeping their jobs) then they can enact a law requiring large professional shops to use Saw-Stop devices just as they now enforce occupational safety rules for all other employers. However, it is an assault on individual freedoms to even attempt mandating a product regarding tools for personal use. Further, the marketing method Gass & Associates is using is underhanded.
There is a clear difference between honest profit and profiteering. There is also great danger to liberty when legal-system insiders are allowed to manipulate law for their personal gain.
Many will disagree with some of my statements. Some of those contrary opinions will be honest disagreements based on personal experience, and I respect those people and their opinions. But some of them will be from the corporate moles who inhabit woodworking forums. You need only read the wording at this and other websites to see how a public "talking-point" memo has infected the dialogue, both for and against Saw-Stop. There is an element of intrigue here that makes it fun to investigate, if you are a Sherlock Holmes fan. Deny or accept though, the modern phenomenon of infiltrating internet forums for political influence and marketing is real. If woodworkers, who are mostly a savvy and intelligent group, are not wary and stalwart, their beloved avocation could be impacted by that phenomenon against their will. If that proves successful, other industries and liberties will be compromised.
Although the injured man was listed as the plaintiff (victim, the party bringing suit) he actually had little to do with it. The insurance company that provided his medical expenses (I believe) actually filed for him. The injured party will get whatever is leftover after the lawyers and insurance company are through, which probably won't be much.
To prove the manufacturer liable, the ins. co. either had to prove negligence on Ryobi's part, or product liability, a tort called strict liabilty. What surprises me is, after filing the complaint (lawsuit) in the defenant's Answer, they should have filed a comparative defense, which alleges the injury was also in part the plaintiff's fault, which shouldn't have been difficult to do. Comparative defense states that the damages will decrease as the plaintiff's liability increases until the magic point of 51%, whereby the plaintiff is deemed to be more liable for his injuries than the defendant, hence, no damages aawarded.
Without doubt, the injury was preventable, and foreseeable, so both parties were liable. The jury was left to determine damages awarded.
When the price of the tablesaw goes through the roof, I'm going to take someone to court- maybe the idiot who caused this...the illegal woodworker or the lawyer.
I've come in late on this one, so I'm probably on the backside of anything that could have possibly been said and repeating something that's already out there... I think this guy is a gold digger. I also think his lawyers are leaches on society. And finally, the jury was very misinformed. One wonders what the outcome would have been if the jury had actually been of his peers.
However, he's won, and this is going to happen over and over again as long as anyone uses a power tool and can absolve themselves of personal responsibility, especially if the appeals courts uphold the lower court's decision.
If the power tool industry doesn't want to suffer this indignity over and over again, maybe they should pool some R&D money to develop the technology (independent of Saw Stop's) before the morons bankrupt them, and make it patent royalty free. That way, the cost could be reduced for all, the companies and the consumers. Additionally, the leaches would dry up on this front, and stupid people that use table saws with total disregard for following safety guidelines would be protected from themselves, and the rest of us would be protected from absorbing the costs of their ignorance.
So let me get this straight. Because some idiot who was probably too stupid to be using a table saw in the first place gets hurt every one of us should have to pay? What the jury has said here is that every saw manufactured, from the $150 homeowner special to the $3000 top of the line has to be equipped with this technology. I think as consumers the decision falls to us as to how much we're willing to spend and what features we are willing to pay for. But now we have this lawyer who gets to decide for all of us what the new entry price for a table saw is going to be. I think SawStop is a great product but should we all be forced to purchase it whether we feel we need it or not. I would think that Mr. Osario's boss would have been liable for not properly instructing him in the use of a table saw, oh but wait, he probably didn't have any money and so the lawyers go after the manufacturer who has the deep pockets. Cases like this are exactly what is wrong with our legal system. They make stupidity way too lucrative.
Having just read the tablesaw injury article I feel that I have not been given the whole story. What dis Goss want that discussions broke down?
I have instructed students (about 300 per semester)for some 10 years on etiquets and proceedures in the shop; and developed the safety program for the operation of shop machines for the university. One machine I always instructed cation on was the Delta-UniSaw, an extemely dangerous piece of equipment if improperly used. The most repeated instruction was "if the saw starts to sound funny or different STOP and check all your components" the "wood" the "blade" and your "position" on the tablesaw. Make sure you are using a "push stick" and "dont force the piece".
I have not had a student get injured when they followed the rules. It seems that Mr. Orsorio was not instructed properly on how to use the saw; was he observed to ensure proper operations before been left alone? The most important rule in using a table saw is not to force materials through the blade. It seems that the jury was not educated to the safety rules of operating a table saw. Personal responsibility and attentiveness is critical when operating machinery. It is hard to say who is at fault when all the facts are not given.
I have to asume that the saw was working properly or he would not have been using it, if it wassn't working properly he should not have been using it.
I have always told my students to put their brain in gear first before placing any machinery in gear. As an Architect I understand Tort Laws, this one seems to have gone off track.
I wonder if the jury had a clue what a tablesaw was and if they had been properly instructed in its use, before they rendered such an idiotic decision.
When I was younger I too had an accident using my table saw. The guard was off and I was way too tired to be using any power tool. Long story short, my right thumb was saved thanks to a very good surgeon.
Years later I had the opportunity to use a Sawstop in a commercial cabinet shop. Nice saw. In does have draw backs. This saw has its place in every shop, but it cant completely replace the tried and true table saw.
To the man injured, sorry. Im glad you didnt get hurt worse than you did. The truth is though it was YOUR fault. Try to sue everything that ever hurt you because of inexperience. Bicycle, roller skates, skate board, the list is endless.
The jury should have been judged incompetent. The guy was using no fence, no miter gauge. So he was free-handing a rip on a table saw with something like 60 minutes experience? What's the difference between him and someone who lights off four sticks of dynamite under a stump while they stand five feet away?
A big problem in this country is the absence of personal responsibility under the law. Ryobi should appeal this one to the Supreme Court.
I know I'm in the minority here, but I do think - Osorio aside - that anyone using a tablesaw without 'flesh sensing technology' but with its supplied guards in place, and who suffers in injury from the blade, would have a liability case against the saw manufacturer.
Few would argue that BP is not responsible for the Gulf disaster after clearly not using 'best available engineering practice' to prevent such blowouts.
To me its the same with tablesaws. 'Best available engineering practice' in tablesaw manufacturing today would - again to me - incorporate Sawstop technology. I believe not offering it clearly, fairly, and correctly, puts manufacturers at risk for liability suits due to blade contact.
I happen to have a Ryobi BTS10 $99 tablesaw. It is what you would expect to get for $99 - terrible. I rarely use it, and then only for ripping 5/4 6" cedar decking for outdoor furniture. With the plastic guard, anti-kickback pawls, and splitter in place. Even then its extremely dangerous. In part because the lousey fence nevers clamps parallel to the blade. Even after carefully trying to clamp the fence parallel, there is almost always a slight out-of-parallel 'included angle' between the blade and the fence. So you start the rip, and partway thru the stock binds up. Whats the 'usual' reaction? 'Push Harder' - EXACTLY what you should not do. I hate the thing.
Until I can afford a Sawstop, I now almost always use my Festool TS-55 track saw and MFT 1080 for all my crosscuts and rips. I can rip or crosscut 2 pieces of 3/4" Red Oak together - 1.5" total, without any effort, while feeling in complete control and absolutely safe (angled sides of Paolini's #74 Stickley Book Rack). In fact, this works so well I may never get a Sawstop.
In conclusion, if you too dislike using a tablesaw, and also cannot afford a sawstop - consider the track saw alternate. Yes, for straight rips it may seem slower. But for crosscuts, and particularly any angled cuts - I think its actually faster than using a tablesaw.
As a life long wood worker, including time spent as a manufacturer, I find it totally incomprhensible how someone can succeed in such a stupid suit. I have experienced people who worked with me that got hurt on power tools and in all cases those hurt admitted it was their fault.
Oh well such is the joys of living in the litiginous 21st century where personal responsibility has gone completely out the window.
Ryobi is to be credited with producing tools the average Joe can afford and one wonders how this will effect their availability. I personally own a number of Ryobi tools because of their quality and price.
As for the Saw Stop technology, I am a little concerned about its longevity and endurance. Alos, I do not have the workshop space to house one of their saws so that the technology is out of reach for me until I get a larger, more permanent shop.
I do not think that Saw Stop should feel vindicated because this was not a win for SWaw Stop, but instead it was a loss for all of us involved in the woodworking industry.
This is idiotic. I've been on juries where personal injury was the issue and I couldn't believe how otherwise intelligent people rushed to inflate an award to an idiot who was solely responsible for his injury. I will NOT putchase a SawStop or any other device that screws up my woodworking. What if the Ryobi did have the system and the idiot neglected to turn it on? Is the power company at fault also because it provided electrical energy used to cut off this dimwit's fingers? How about the house builder who constructed the room he was in?
If there were ever a glaring example of the urgent need for tort reform in this country, this is it! Only the combination of leech lawyers, the Sawstop folks among them, along with moronic juries could produce such an outlandish and ridiculous award. This award is akin to the award a jury handed down to a woman who spilled hot coffee on herself at a McDonalds.
It is only a matter of time before the Sawstop people will reap what they have sown here... One of their devices, that has created an expectation of safety, will fail to operate properly.
I would NEVER consider the purchase of one of their devices. The strong arm tactics they have attempted with the saw manufacturers and the litany of lawsuits are severely harming the industry and the country.
I find their actions wholly reprehensible.
If I purchase a new car that I know does not have airbags and am hurt in an accident, does that mean that I am able to sue the manufacturer for not having provided them, even though I knew it did not have airbags and deliberately purchased that car?
That's how I see the results of this case equating to.
To me, that's nuts!
Greetings all from Aotearoa/New Zealand
Sorry to enter this conversation at this late stage but my August mag has only just reached me this week. One of the challenges of being "downunder"!
I am delighted to see that others in this blog share my outrage at the stupidity of this decision. My angst comes from seeing (over the second half of my life) the litigiousness of modern western societies, enabled by the legal profession and the insurance industry, supported by courts, (mainly I perceive in the United States), to make risk aversion a national (and now international) pastime! The media love such stories and it seems journalistic competencies are limited to who they can find to blame!
The consequence is the minimisation of individual responsibilty and the skill to manage risk. In our schools, for example, now we are not able to allow children to climb above 1.5m (5ft)! Reason: safety and insurance! How do children learn to find their own limits and risk management skills?
This case is frightening in its consequences and the messages it gives our citizens about being in charge of themselves. The children I am seeing are getting hold of this concept fast. How will they manage their futures, I wonder? What will the costs be in both lost human potential and in the sheer economics of living in the modern world, as insurance costs escalate beyond what is in any way reasonable and sustainable?
Call me old fashioned, call me hard headed, I ride a Harley and nurses and doctors call me an idiot, call me old school or whatever, I have been using table saws for the majority of the 61 years I've been on this planet. I never used guards until they came out with the riving knife and actually before then as I have a European sliding table saw and it came with the riving knife well before they became popular and required here. My point is this: No matter what you are doing if you are not paying attention you're gonna have problems and I do not agree that tool manufacturers should be held responsible for these kinds of accidents and I feel very strongly about this! There are a lot of woodworkers and machinists walking around minus digits and if you ask any one of them they will tell you that in the majority of cases they just plain old weren't paying attention and no amount of guarding would have saved their fingers, obviously the brake would have but if Mr. Gass is so concerened about us why doesn't he offer his technology to the industry for free? It will be a damn cold day when I pay 15 hundred to 3 grand, or whatever they cost, extra for his features!! Since I am 61 years old my current saw should last me for as long as I need it to so for me it's a moot question. Paying attention to what you are doing goes a long way as far as I'm concerened.
While it may be prudent to argue that all saws should come with SawStop, if that can't come to pass for whatever the reason, do we outlaw table saws and grant SawStop a monopoly? There is no mechanical substitute for training, experience and care when using a power tool. A table saw has, and will always have, inherent risk to the operator because of its design relative to its utility. That is, it has a sharp spinning blade under great power that is used to cut a material that has varying characteristics. However, it is only dangerous when the operator fails to understand and recognize those risks!
Not even SawStop can deal with kick-back, board hop or any other cutting anomaly of reflex wood.
Although the Saw-stop technology will definitely prevent cut fingers, it does nothing in itself to prevent kickback, and other possibilities for injury.
The danger is that this technology may inadvertently lead people to think the saw is suddenly "totally safe" and may cause cautions to be set aside. I never use my table saw without saying to myself, "this machine is dangerous, pay attention and watch the fingers".
I refer to the cautions that Fine Woodworking Magazine has in each issue.
"Woodworking is inherently dangerous".
F Ben Kautz
swingman writes: "Another nail in the coffin of the concept of bearing personal responsibility for your actions ..."
What are you talking about? It's a nail in the coffin to the concept of those who DON'T bear personal responsibility. And I'm referring, of course, to the knuckleheads at Ryobi who turned down the opportunity to be first to market with the SawStop technology.
You snooze, you lose.
Paragraph 10 of Osorio's complaint states that it was a "10-inch portable table saw, Serial Number NO44277504." Other documents reveal that the saw is a Ryobi BTS15.
You can find that document with a web search or just follow this link. http://www.scribd.com/doc/27961064/Osorio-Complaint
The BTS15 doesn't look particularly portable to me but that is apparently what it is called.
Rename the machine a "Finger Chopper 2010." Most will use it for its secondary purpose of cutting wood. Some may engage it for its eponymous purpose. Either way, I won't have to pay more for tools.
In the meantime, I want that plaintiff consigned to a rubber room. Remove all tools and machines from his home. He cannot be trusted to live in my world.
Frog203 says that since Mr. Osorio was using a portable, benchtop saw (to which the SawStop technology has not yet been adapted,) the verdict should not stand. However, nothing in the post or the Boston Globe article says that the saw being used was a portable benchtop model. Perhaps Frog203 is making that assumption because of the picture that FWW attached to the post; apparently, he has assumed this fact. This illustrates the problem with trying to understand this verdict on the basis of the very, very limited statement of facts in the post or in the Boston Globe article.
Frog203 also argues that the verdict should fail because the SawStop technology is not adapted to circular saws. Would any of you suggest that cars should not be equipped with seat belts/shoulder harnesses because such equipment is not provided on motorcycles?
As for personal responsibility, Mr. Osorio should probably bear at least some responsibility for his injury (and he may have been held responsible; the article does not say if the jury found him comparatively negligent.) However, that does not mean that the manufacturer should not also be held accountable if it failed to deliver a reasonably safe product. In the law, reasonably safe has many definitions, but one definition is this: a product is not reasonably safe if the cost of adding a particular safety device to all products being produced is less than the cost of all injuries caused by the unimproved products. And you should remember that some of the injured parties in these cases don't have insurance so you and I are paying their medical bills. How do you reconcile that with individual responsibility?
Times are changing, technology is providing new features and, as with the seat belt in automobiles, this will become a standard feature. However, until it becomes more universally distributed to bring the price down there will be more attention to accidents (you can't fix stupid) that will heighten general awareness. This will increase demand and the public will start purchasing the the Sawstop directly, as some have already done. Eventually, the other saw makers will license the technology due to increasing demand for the feature. The first one that does will only havea short window of profit opportunity. However, Sawstop creators could stagger the licensing to allow a grace period for the licensees.
The realm of possibilities opens: allow the first licensee to have a 24 month grace period before the next licensee is allowed to produce with the feature, allowing recouping of the licensing cost and developing a market brand demand. The next tier could be multiple licensee at a lower charge rate. The inventors finally get to gain from their development, financing improved production streamlining to be cost competitive with the newly licensed competition, the market gets a safer product selection set and saving many digits and idiots.
My simple two cents worth.
Regards to all who posted on both sides of the issue. These discussion are critical to continuous improvement in any industry. It is often difficult to keep the emotional content under wraps/control to look at root causes (there are several here) and identify a win-win scenario that will, over time, benefit all.
Although this invention was created in my own "backyard", as a Portlander, I only recently became aware of this feature with the recent Oregonian article. I look forward to getting to the position where I can afford to purchase saws with this safety feature.
Regards to all.
The real dummy in this case is the judge and/or jury that allowed this guy to win. I agree with most of the comments in that he is negligent because he bought the wrong saw, did not read safety warnings, did not have instruction or experience for operating a table saw. This is why our tools cost so much money these days!
I don't have the patience to read all of these posts (or actually install the guards on my contractor saw), but I haven't seen one post supporting this guy. I think woodworker's should band together to do two things; send a petition to the appeals court to reverse this decision, as well as be sure that EVERYONE knows the safety risks of using cutting tools. I know that every video, book, and TV show has the safety lesson there for a reason. Why isn't the instruction manual enough to remove the liability from Ryobi?
To all who agree with the judgement for the plaintiff, the following must be considered, regardless of any specific facts pertaining to the case. There is NO flesh-detecting/blade arresting technology available even today, SAWSTOP included, that has been adapted for a benchtop, portable saw. As this is the type of saw involved in the accident, any arguments supporting the judgement for the plaintiff are illogical and mute. Should all companies that make such saws be required to stop selling them? How about circular saws? Personal responsibility still stands independent of the perceived dangers of any product used. Ultimately, the decision was made by the individual to use the product, which in and of itself, can be taken as informed consent. (All saws come with owners manuals with warnings.
I have a 1947 Sears table saw, serial number 1001. My father-in-law bought the saw after he got out of the hospital after the end of WWII. While I would like to have a new tablesaw, the cost is presently too great. Maybe I can cut my finger and get a new saw out of Sears since they failed to warn my father-in-law to warn me that the saw could hurt me if I wasn't careful. I wonder if this idiot will take some of the 1.5 million and buy a new saw?
This article sure has prompted a lot of comment.
What I'd like to know is who is Carlos going to sue if he buys a Saw Stop equipped saw and then has an accident after turning off the sensing mechanism to cut lets say damp wood.
Wood his injury still be the manufacturers fault????
just fell off my chair laughing,what ever next blunt chiesels.fine woodworking putting staples in the magzine.
when useing this saw bench do not put saw blade in as cutting may occur.
Tort Reform ??? What, why on earth would anyone want Tort reform. Fix the broken system where, some woman can sue McDonalds for spilling hot coffee on her lap while she was driving with the coffee cup set between her legs. Where would all these 'Slip and fall' lawyers find work except maybe in some nursing home.
Yeah we don't know all the facts. But we know enough to know that we are being taken for a ride with this ridculous awards, for something that is the customers fault. Like the lawsuit, from the man who fell off his roof, while using a Snowblower, yes thats right, it didn't say in the instructions that he could not or more wisely SHOULD NOT use a snowblower on the roof.
This is what we get with these wonderful 'slip and fall' lawyers. Lawsuits for stupidity.
The first part of Tort reform should be a Frivilous Court, if the Judge throws the case out the Lawyer who brought the suit should have to pay for wasting the time of the Court, maybe on the order of a couple of hundred thousand dollars. Then maybe these slip and fall slimeballs would learn that people need to take responsibility for their own actions instead of blaming someone who made the product.
Nothing like a dumb a** to get the lawyers started. It's a SAW BLADE man; it CUTS STUFF---including fingers, if you put them in the way. You can't protect against stupid.
What really would've been ironic is if Carlos Osorio would've sued SawStop for not producing an inexpensive saw that was competitive with Ryobi's. I'm sure Steve Gass wouldn't have found much personal satisfation in that. LOL Steve Gass is another example of greed....keeping price points high to maximize profits for his company with complete disregard for the safety of those who can't afford his saws. Greed, greed, and more greed.
Carlos Osorio is an as*h*le idiot who chose to buy a cheap saw that didn't have the SawStop technology. He could have paid $1500 for a SawStop saw, but he chose to buy a cheap Ryobi saw instead. Why should he now be paid $1.5mil from Ryobi for making these choices? He should have bought a SawStop saw if he wanted the SawStop technology!! He's a no good, greedy, cheapskate that wanted to keep his costs low by disregarding his own safety. Greed, greed, and more greed.
I can't add to the comments regarding the silly nature of this lawsuit. I can only be dismayed by the jury or worse Judge that found the manufacturer liable here.
Worse yet is the inventor's attitude that the manufacturers should be FORCED by legal means to buy his "technology". Of course it's for the greater good and not to line his pockets.
The fact that this man won should probably cause all of us to cringe. I have.
To be fair, this technology should now be deemed in the public domain. This would follow in much the same way that the legal system voided Xerox's technology patents and let Cannon et al. use it as it willed. Gass should get an obligatory tip of the hat as recognition and no licensing.
Otherwise, the consumer chose at the time of his purchase and then again at the time of use to forgo this technology.
Be aware that this could be the great iceberg. If this can be done after a consumer's choice of table saw, what else is open for lawsuit? Automobiles can easily exceed posted speed limits and speed increases the frequency and damage in accidents. This must make all manufacturers liable for all speed related damages?
This is another sad chapter in our seriously outdated legal system. Our country is slowly deteriorating to predatory lawyers seeking to line their pockets. Without a massive overhaul to our legal system, these lawyers will continue to find loopholes in that system and bring the country to its knees. On the current glidepath, there will come a day that no company will want to manufacture anything due to risk of litigation, cost of insurance, etc. We will continue to see manufacturers increase prices to cover devastating losses and huge insurance premiums. It will no longer be cost effective to make a decent profit and sales/manufacturing will drop off.
Common sense has long left the building in this country. There is no longer "personal responsibility" for anything. Everyone's failure to bear responsibility for their own actions has morphed into "not my fault, blame it on ....." Courts already blamed cigarette makers for lung cancer, gun makers for murders, and McDonalds for serving hot coffee. Who didn't see this case getting green lighted? It will continue to get worse long before it gets better. Relying on a system that is well over 200 years old is asking, no, begging, for failure.
Lawyers and their supporters are using tort cases as a means of redistribution of wealth. There is no way to protect against stupidity.
I'm surprised that FWW does not know riving knives were added to new US table saw designs due to bilateral treaty obligations with the EEC by way of Canada.
And although European manufacturers of table saws had riving knives for years, until these treaty obligations kicked in, US table saw manufacturers fought it tooth and nail.
Moreover, without riving knives, US made table saws could not be sold in Europe.
here we go again ....I hate to say it and bring politics into this but we all know Mass. to be one of the most liberal anti corporate states in the country and they have proved it again ... I know from experience My family is originally from Mass. and it goes to show that when you put a liberal judge in power they will find any reason to put the blame on the company and not the individual. It is never the individual's fault, in their eyes there is always someone else to blame and someone to sue .... The company must and better take this to a higher court the "idiot " that bought the saw could have purchased one with the skin-detection device he was too cheap period. I munched my finger on my table saw and it was because I was careless I won't ever be again. I still have it but ...sometimes I wonder if it would have been better off gone. I didn't sue sears for my screw up and I can't believe anyone in their right minds would have given this guy the time in court to even hear the case. Then people wonder why there are no jobs and why companies are leaving this country in droves. WHY because our legal system is so perverted and corrupt that you can be sued for telling a joke ... something is very wrong here ....very wrong.
How can it be the responsibility of the saw manufacturer? The freedom to choose the saw you use resides with the purchaser.
I enjoy my freedom. Don't you?
Why don't we outlaw skiing, driving, drinking coffee, surfing, mountain climbing, flying, etc..All potentially dangerous and totally unnecessary activities, providing you want to live your life in a cardboard box.
Sorry folks, when I tried to post, I was getting an error message in the browser stating it couldn't connect and when I looked at the page, there was no entry.
It wasn't 'til I closed the browser and reopened it that I saw all the posts actually got thru ;-(
Still looking for the court records but this Blog says the court record shows he admits to not using the saw's existing safety devices:
The only award Osorio deserves is a small Darwin Award.
Does anyone have a link to the transcript for this case?
This is amazing...have none of you ever heard of the word 'accident'? Things happen, sometimes through no fault of our own. The jury went from the requested $250k up to $1.5m dollars, do you not think they have a better handle on what really happened? We sure as hell don't know, and I think this guy deserves the benefit of a doubt.
I think the whole point here is, Ryobi chose not to license the technology several years earlier, they chose to make their saws less safe so that when a woodworker does have an accident, the injury will be severe.
To all those who think the accident was his fault and he should not have gotten anything...what will you say when you cut your own fingers off? Everyone's perfect...until it happens to them.
"Mr. Woodie, did you know that there aren't any studies which show that insurance costs decrease after a state institutes tort reform."
You could not be more wrong. Do a little research and see what has happened to medical malpractice premiums in states that have enacted aggressive tort reform. (Start with Texas and Kansas) and then compare that to state that have repealed their tort reform laws.
If it is truly a defect of the machine that was maintained per the manufacturers recommendation, then yes, the manufacturer is liable. I have a hard time believing this is the case. Thanks to this legal lunacy that has gripped our country, your coffee cup now has to warn you that you hot coffee could be hot and a 5-gallon bucket has to have a drowning warning on it. Zheesh.
My next saw will very likely be a Saw Stop or one with this technology but if I hurt myself in the interim, I am not going to blame it on Ridgid!
This is one of those few cases when the law pays you big money for been stupid. Don't you think?
Being a retired California personal injury insurance lawyer, and a woodworker, i think this could only happen in Mass or Calif. this is a ridiculous award. sounds like a "loss" by the defense, more than a "win" for the plaintiff.
In answer to some questions raised below:
Unless the plaintif was physically knocked into the blade, or the blade lept up out of the machine, then, yes, he did something he should not have done and caused his own injury. Pushsticks work flawlessly. Space between hand and blade will work every time - every time.
$120 is a MAJOR increase in the cost of a $300 saw. It is easily the margin between having a saw and not having one for a great many buyers. But that is only a down payment - you have to add the cost of replacing the brake mechanism each and every time if you are going to make a habit of sticking your hand in the blade.
Gass is an idiot. HE may feel "vindication" now, but he will be sued - and probably ruined - by someone hurt or killed when his gee-wizz gadget misfires (dirt, corrosion, assembly error), or by kickback ("Friends of the jury, they promised that I couldn't get hurt if I bought a Sawstop!"
I have a set of chisels, two sets of kitchen knives, eight or ten handsaws (including a really viscous limb saw), a chainsaw, and a pocket knife which can cause grievous bodily harm. Tell me, Massachusetts judge, how are you going to add Sawstop to those?
Ryobi should have obtained a more qualified attorney. The injury is not the fault of the equipment...it was the fault of the operator not knowing how to cope with his tool.
Sorry no sympathy...I certainly hope Ryoibi appeals.
In browsing through many of the responses I was struck by the similarity to another safety issue.
Elevators used to cause the loss of arms and legs as people tried to stop doors from closing so they could catch the elevator. The manufacturers did not want to install safety features because it would make their product too expensive.
The argument was made that if they were stupid enough to stick their hands/arms/legs into the closing door of an elevator, they deserved what they got. This is the same kind of social Darwinism argument that a number of respondents made.
Lawsuits were won, governmental regulations were implemented, and elevators now have safety mechanisms and required inspections to make sure they are operational. We also no longer have news stories about people being maimed by elevators.
Would adding $120 to the price of table saws affect their sales - certainly to some extent. In a cost benefit analysis is it worthwhile (bearing in mind not only the cost to the user but the cost to society of medical expenses, lost productivity, and in some cases disability payments)? Opinions may differ, but if this jury award stands, I suspect the manufacturers will alter their judgment “that safety doesn’t sell” and we will all be the safer for it.
Personal responsibility is a thing of the past. The legal profession has established a new golden rule. He who has the gold is responsible. There is no such thing as personal culpability. Is Delta liable if I whack myself with my tilting arbor saw (vintage 1972)? Can I give it away without being liable?
The judgement sounds lunatic to a European, but par for the course in the US legal system. Expect the US legal profession to be taking a close interest in woodworking until the next big thing. Maybe the partners of injured or drowned sailors. Watch out Wooden Boat magazine.
We all know that all woodworking machines can be dangerous, but if used properly with the appropriate guards, aids such as featherboards, and most importantly, an understanding of the potential risks of a particular operation, then a machine is safe. FWW magazine does a great job of educating people in the potential risks of woodworking, and there are any number of woodworking classes which teach safe methods. How long before chisels are sold with training wheels? There seems to be a disconnect between the ideals of the Land of the Free, taking personal responsibility for one´s actions, and what the British call the Nanny State. Everything regulated.
This is nuts.
1.People saying he should have bought a SawStop in 2005 when he got his Ryobi.
Ans: I've been a builder for 25 years, and until last year, I never heard of the SawStop...yet I have purchased several tablesaws over the last 25 years as well as other tools which would have exposed me to the SawStop brand, yet never did.
2 People saying he's an idiot and caused his own injury.
Ans: Not one of you knows exactly what the circumstances surrounding his accident were, therefore you cannot say that he was an idiot, only the people in the courtroom would know those circumstances. Considering they asked for $250K, but got $1.5M, I think the jury knew it wasn't a stupid mistake that caused his injury.
3.SawStop is greedy because their saws are so pricey.
Ans: When you invent something new, and have to market it yourself, you have very little choice but to charge a high price for it. If Ryobi and others had licensed the tech, SawStop would not even exist today, and we wouldn't be paying more than a few hundred extra for out tablesaws.
4. Their tech isn't reliable, it can be bypassed.
Ans: Yes, it can be bypassed, but it must be done before starting the machine every time. It only needs to be bypassed if the lumber being cut is extremely wet. It does not, as someone posted, need to be bypassed when cutting a dado, there is a brake cartridge for dado stacks. The only caveat is that you need to use the SawStop dado set in order for the brake cartridge to function correctly.
All these negative assumptions being made.
To the Canadian professor, I live in Surrey and I would love to take a cabinet making course, but try to find one that is reasonably priced, and that is designed for working people (ie. part-time/evening), and is relatively close to where I live. Driving for an hour or more each way is not an option. That is why most people teach themselves, because they are unable to find someone to teach them within the constraints of family and work.
oldie, the comparison IS valid, it is valid because some idiot can come in to your shop and not know the rules of safety and come up behind you to yell a question in your ear. It's happened often enough to me by members of my own family until I exploded one day and told them not to open their mouths around me while a tool was running.
If a safety feature is available, and the inventor is willing to license it, it behooves the manufacturers to license that technology to make their tools and equipment safer. If their tools are priced a few hundred higher, than so be it. I think my fingers are worth a few hundred bucks...are yours?
To rsteramoto, while I agree with you on the one hand about paying attention to what you're doing when using a table saw (there's a reason I have never been injured by one...knock on wood), I am 100% diametrically opposed to what you are saying about Mr. Gass. Why in the hell shouldn't he make royalties off of his invention? He does have a family to feed, or should he just go back to lawyering and to hell with his creation?
The fact of the matter is that Ryobi's parent was one set of signatures away from licensing the technology in 2002, then backed out for some reason. Now this guy was injured (why we don't know, we still don't know the actual events that led to his injury!). Should Ryobi pay for their idiocy? Yes,I think so. They could have used it at a royalty of only 3% but decided they'd rather not,so now they, and every other manufacturer that declined the opportunity can pay. Lesson learned, when a new and proven safety device is invented, you use it, even if you didn't invent it yourself.
Mr. Woodie says that "the award is ridiculous," but you can't know whether the award is ridiculous if you have not heard all of the evidence. Have you heard all of the evidence, Mr. Woodie?
"The answer," he claims "is in something call 'Tort Reform.'" If the result in this case is ridiculous, then it is the responsibility of the presiding judge to set aside the verdict or of the appeals court to say that the verdict is contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence. Tort reform changes the rules for everyone who is injured as a result of someone else's negligence; you shouldn't change the entire system because of the few cases like this which receive publicity; these cases are the exception and not the norm. These rules work very well in the vast majority of cases which are filed every year.
"Tort reform" has some instant appeal to emotion but it is not a logical response to aberrant jury verdicts. If a rogue cop pulls out a gun and murders a defendant who is in custody, you don't change the rules and say that no cops should be allowed to carry guns. No, you deal with the rogue cop instead of changing the rules.
Mr. Woodie is absolutely correct in saying that politicians do not embrace tort reform because of the influence of trial lawyers. Nonetheless, tort reform has happened in most states despite that influence. Mr. Woodie, did you know that there aren't any studies which show that insurance costs decrease after a state institutes tort reform.
Responsibility for an accident is not an indivisible onus which must be placed on only one entity. If I loan you my car and a cooler filled with beer, telling you it is okay to drink and drive, and you then cause an accident because you are drunk, we are both at fault. I don't know the facts of the case, but Mr. Osorio probably has some responsibility for his accident. However, that doesn't mean that the saw manufacturer has no responsibility for the accident.
The question of individual responsibility is important, but it is not the only question. Assume that Mr. Osorio didn't have insurance to pay for his medical expenses; In that case, do you think he should be refused treatment when he presents to the emergency room at Malden Public Hospital? No; he will receive good medical care and it will be provided at taxpayer expense. On the other hand, if he is insured, he receives the same treatment and our insurance rates are higher because the insurance companies know they will be paying for such cases every year. (It's just like shoplifting; the cost of shoplifting is factored into the retailer's price for goods.)
I understand many of you believe that Mr. Osorio should be held responsible for his injuries.
1. Do you know the facts about how this accident happened? It may be that he did not contribute to his injury. Perhaps somebody bumped into him when he was using his tablesaw. (I don't know; do you?)
2. A jury is almost always asked to determine to what extent a plaintiff contributed to their own injuries. Do you know whether the jury did assess some of the blame to him? (Again, I don't know; do you?)
Newspaper/television accounts of trials should as this rarely include all the facts necessary to answer these questions . . . and if you can't answer these questions, you should not be in a rush to jump to conclusions.
I am a woodworker and a lawyer. I agree the award is ridiculous, but that's the current system. The answer to this problem is in something call "Tort Reform," which most politicians refuse to embrace. The reason most politicians refuse to embrace tort reform is simple. Among the biggest group of political contributors are the personal injury trial lawyers who, on average, receive 25 to 33% of these ridiculour awards. Those lawyers don’t want tort reform. And one way or another (either in paying for the unwanted safety device or paying higher prices spurred by the manufacturer’s increased insurance costs), you the consumer wind up paying the “victim” and his over paid lawyer. So if you think this is ridiculous, let your elected officials at the State and federal level know how you feel.
Absolutely ridiculous! Where was Mr. Osorio's built-in "Flesh Detecting Technology"? It's called opening your eyes, paying attention and most of all watching where you put your fingers.
Steve Gass thinks this verdict is some sort of vindication. If he were truly concerned with the safety of others he would have made his technology available to saw manufacturers. Instead he he tried to "extort" royalties and even tried to get a law passed to require his invention on all saws. Having failed in these "money grubbing" schemes he now markets his own saw at many times the cost.
You know I just can't take this anymore. Does everyone really think Carlos is so stupid that he went to work one day and said" Gee I think I will stick my hand in the saw today? Was he stupid for not having a gaurd on the saw? If he was then about 95% of Woodworkers in America are stupid as well. Many woodworkers boast that the first thing they did when they bought their saw was to take the gaurd off and throw it away. Does everyone really think Carlos was Greedy? Do you really think he went to work with the intention of mangling his hand, to the tune of incurring $384,000 in hopsital bills? Did those of you who are so outraged at this award know that Carlos asked for $250,000 BUT THE JURY AWARDED HIM $1.5M. Perhaps after the Jury heard that Ryobi had agreed to license the Sawstop Technology but then backed out. Perhaps when they heard the power tool manufacturers say "Safety Doesn't Sell" They intended to send them a message.
I think our society is quick to sue... but in this case if that's what it takes to prevent accidents like this from happening then it will bring about a positive result. What if Carlos was your dad, or your brother, or your son, or your grandson? How much more would you spend on a table saw to prevent what happened to him?
As the progress of industry is governed by Cost, then just as we design cars by court case and aircraft by court case and lifeboats on ships [Titanic] by court case, so will woodworking industry be governed by the court case. The insurance industry will get tired of paying hundreds of thousands for lost fingers that could have been saved by a saw that costs less than $3000 dollars. When your insurance rates in your plant go to $500,000 a year, you might get the idea...
Reguardless of how you feel, reguardless of 70 years of tradition, it is time for the industry to up-grade. Even the Marine Corp. gave up flintlocks...
The american system of justice is based on 12 people voting on whether a law has been broken or not. In the case of a personel injury case they are voting with their pocket book. What would you award to a defendent (regardless of stupidity) if you knew that you were setting a precedence and that you would likely receive the same award if you were in the same predicament. Greed. These trials should be by Judge only and absolve manufactures of blatant stupidity. Did the operator read the manual and acknowledge risk, were the guards in place, did he knowingly run a finger past a spinng blade? Does he know what danger is when he sees it?
I'm a professional Carpenter, 3rd Generation, I lost 3 of my top digits on my right hand and split my thumb in half on my left hand during my apprenticeship on a table saw (Hence the nickname)(I quit years ago). Both times I was under pressure from the management/company I was working for due to time restraints (we all were / staff) working long hours with no breaks. (my first times experiancing a form of exploitation)(Also young and naive / wanted to impress)
Both times I was doing something stupid that I know I shouldn't have. So, a good combination for a prime so called
(preventive)accident. (tiredness and in a hurry) As well, I could of said no to the long hours. The last thing on my mind was to sue the owners of the company.
Of course these accidents have made me the safest professional on a jobsite or in a shop. As well my apprentices have learned from my short hand.
Since the 2 accidents (25 years), it has been impossible for another one to occur (unless someone from behind, beats me over the head with a 2 x 4)(I guess if that happens, I can now go and sue the lumber mill that the 2x4 came from)as I have learned to respect the equipment I use and the demands of my chosen career.
I know I don't know the circumstances of this particular lawsuit/accident, but something that does cross my mind are these economic times. A few fingers verses a million bucks. A bit of a gamble, but in the States, anythings possible.
I once shortened the middle finger slightly on my right hand by performing an unsafe operation on my table saw. Put yourself in a position to cut off a finger, and you will get burned. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to learn your lesson. Now if I deem an operation even remotely unsafe, I find another way.
Using power tools is inherently dangerous. However, danger is not the same as risk. Managing risk is the responsibility of the individual. If I do not know if an operation is safe, it is my responsibility to find out, or find another way to achieve my objective.
I failed to manage risk by performing an operation I knew to be unsafe. Should the manufacturer be blamed because I put myself in danger by performing an unsafe operation?
We are all ultimately responsible for out own safety when using power tools.
The comparison with air bags and seatbelts is not valid as these are designed not only to protect you from the consequences of your own errors but from those injuries caused by some other idiot over whom you have no control.
Isn't it ironic in the 'Land of the free' where citizens are free to own and to carry guns in public places, table saws can be deemed to be unsafe for use. When the next plonker shoots off his own foot will he get a few millions from Colt or whoever.
Accidents happen. I've never met a stupid woodworker, but judging what some have written they seem to be out there. I am glad to see the size of the judgment for this lawsuit. Perchance it will make it too expensive to not protect the Customer's of the machine manufacturers. A technology is available to make these cutting machines safer, but it is not being installed because it will hurt the profits of the manufacturers. Air bags, seat belts, crash zones, were all forced on the automotive industry because any change that would not contribute to the sale of the car was not seen as important. But because the industry was forced to implement these safety features, the death rate on the highway did not increase in proportion with the population. I wish the table saw technology was available so I can retrofit it to my existing table saw. Perchance, with the threat of more law suites they will start paying for the design and manufacture of such retrofits.
My sympathies reside with the majority of responders. How can this be? The answer is that this is an extension not of the California McDonald's coffee fiasco. It is more in the nature of a bastardization of the Ford Pinto case, where Ford knowingly chose to roast people for want of a $4.00 gas tank bladder. Remotely analogous, I'll grant you, since no one anticipates being barbecued while wheeling back from the beach or a trip to the supermarket, there is nothing inherently dangerous in a safely operated car, and the horrible damage was caused by the Pinto being bumped by another vehicle in the rear. Conversely, the dope who chopped his fingers off used an inherenly dangerous tool, if it weren't sharp and fast, it would be unsuited to its task. Unlike the drivers of Pintos whose own lives and the lives of their passengers were destroyed by the unsafe acts of others, the fingerless woodworker assumed the risk, misused the machine in an unsafe manner, and cut off his own digits, he paid the consequence - or should I say, we shall pay the consequence of his indiscretion. Pray with me for reversal on appeal. Protect me Lord from the lowest common denominations.
This is called a "sympathy verdict". No matter what you do or how stupid it is you can almost always win a jury verdict if you act pathetic enough during the trial. The same thing has happened in reverse where a homeowner legitimately shot an armed intruder and still lost a civil suit because the "victim" left a wife and two young children. Just goes to show that juries are not always smart!
In this particular case, I feel sorry for the guy because of his injury, but there is no way that I would have awarded him any money if I were on the jury. We all assume a risk when using power tools, and we should have proper training on how to use them or we should not use them at all! Even with all the advances in technology and safety features that manufacturers are constantly adding the burden is still ultimately on us, not the manufacturer. This verdict is the same as suing Smith & Wesson for accidentally shooting somebody when it was YOUR finger on the trigger. The laws of common sense unfortunately do not always apply.
I am not sure this man should have been awarded anything. If he were so concerned about a flesh detection device, why didn't he buy a SawStop cabinet or contractor's saw. Obviously, he wasn't that concerned or he would have purchased a SawStop in the first place and he wouldn't have received his injury.
This opens up an large can of worms too numerous to list. My understanding is that even with a Sawstop there are operations that you have to turn the flesh detecting technology off (ie, dado cuts . Though I agree that the technology is revolutionary, even it isn't foolproof. This concerns me that in schools and shops that have replaced their saws with the Sawstop, that safe work habits may be less emphasized and that is the only thing that may ultimately prevent an accident (and it's still not 100%).
I just happened to see two pieces of equipment that were purchased from a school shop that were so poorly maintained they were a danger just looking at them. Will the schools new Sawstops fall into the same disrepair overtime?
Another point is since I make my living working wood I would have to come up with the cash to replace 3 tablesaws and maybe I should. That way I'm only left with 3 shapers, 3 bandsaws, 2 jointers, 4 chopsaws, 3 router tables etc that can take my hand, fingers off. So by buying a Sawstop have I truly saved my fingers?
Again , safe work habits need to be the focus. I think it may have gone a long way to prevent the accident that led to this lawsuit and is more important than flesh detecting technology in the long run. It's going to get interesting...
I'm not going to touch the debate about tort law and the verdict. What I will say is that having had a couple minor hits by table saw blades over the years I was very happy to pay extra for the Sawstop - I won't use a saw without it now. I also have a feeling that lawsuits or not, the technology will be adopted by all eventually. To quote the guy who sold me the saw "Yeah, that's pretty much all we sell these days. No one wants the saws without it."
What else do you expect the way the court system works anymore. Everyone else is responsible for your errors, except you. I too have an an older saw but wanted the protection offered by the Sawstop technology. Should I ask Sears to retro fit my 25 year old saw or spend the money and buy a Sawstop. Since it appears I (and most of the bloggers here) are in the the dwindling number who take personal responsiblity, I bought a Sawstop. HUMM, maybe all us Crafstamsn owners should file a class action suit aginst Sears for the added cost since I could not retro fit my 25 year old saw. It is quite obvious that Sears should have known 25 years ago this technology could have been created, yet they sold the saw anyway. Put me at risk for 25 years, the mental anguish, the fear of sawdust. The HORROR of it all. Where do I go from here. (The above above after HUMM was sarcasm in case anyone took it seriously). One blog had a good point, will or should the court no ban all saws other than Sawstop or cars other than Volvo.
Here's something interesting for everybody to read. It's the warranty disclaimer from SawStop's website:
SawStop disclaims any and all other express or implied warranties, including merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. SawStop shall not be liable for death, injuries to persons or property, or incidental, consequential, contingent or special damages arising from the use of the saw.
What that means, I guess, is that the people at SawStop doesn't believe they should be held any more liable than the fine folks at Ryobi thought they should.
So, even before your SawStop is out of its 2 year warranty period, I guess you can't count on that super-duper, idiot proof, touch-your-tongue-to-the-spinning-blade-I-dare-you technology to work. Better you should only go in the workshop when you're alert, awake, un-hurried and well-aware of the dangers of woodworking.
I absolutely 100% agree with Maya1 the ER doc. Manufacturers should be required to install all available safety devices or be forced to remove their products from the market place.
Likewise, all drivers should be required to purchase Volvos. Thousands of people die each year in auto accidents. Usually, the deceased was an experienced driver. Sometimes fatigue was a factor. Sometimes it was somebody rushing to get someplace on their lunch hour. In retrospect each of them made a mistake. That shouldn't lead so many bloggers to call them stupid, or to suggest that they deserved to have an accident.
I think anything that can be done to improve auto safety should be taken seriously. Many of the people criticizing this case will eventually have accidents. How much is preventing an accidental death worth to them?
I think it's likely that the wide adoption of this safety device (I recommend the XC90 -its wide comfortable seats, cup holders and MP3 plug-in will bring you serious street cred with the soccer moms!) will bring its cost down significantly and mandating this will not prove to be a huge burden
Beths0802 has a good point. Why wasn't this person found 100% at fault because he DID NOT buy the saw with the technology. After all, the technology is patented and proprietary and not available to all manufacturers. They should reverse this on an appeal.
When are people going to start taking responsibility for their own actions. What are we teaching the younger generation? This judge/jury need to wake up and get with reality. The man that went after the compaany for his mistake should be ashamed. Every time someone sues a company, municipality, etc. for something they did, the insurance companies jack our rates up. Being lititgation crazed is very bad for or society on many levels. A coworker recently severed several of his fingers on a table saw cutting oak flooring. He did not have the guard down, the board kicked and got four fingers. He's 26 years old. He did however man up and admit he was the cause of the mishap, and won't be going after the manufacturer.
I am writing from the perspective of an emergency medicine physician. In the 25 years I have practiced, I have probably seen an average of one tablesaw accident a year. Some were fairly minor, just a gash or laceration that could be repaired with no loss of function. Others were far more serious, leading to loss of a digit, or nerve damage to the hand.
Usually the patient was an experienced woodworker, either hobbyist or a professional. None of them set out to do anything stupid or careless. Sometimes fatigue was a factor. One cabinetmaker was working thru his lunch hour to finish a job. In retrospect each of them made a mistake. That shouldn't lead so many bloggers to call them stupid, or to suggest that they deserved to have an acident.
I think anything that can be done to improve shop safety should be taken seriously. Many of the people criticizing this case will eventually have accidents. How much is a finger worth to them?
I think it's likely that the wide adoption of this safety device will bring its cost down significantly, and including the feature in new saws will not prove to be a huge burden.
I don't know who is more stupid the judge who awarded this settlement or the guy using the saw. This guy however is definitely an idiot! You get what you pay for, pay crap and that is what you get. Not that he deserved to get hurt but woodworking is/can be dangerous and crap happens. We all take this into consideration when we get into this hobby and accept this. If he was so concerned with safety then he should have bought the Sawstop and not have an unreal expectation that a bottom line saw have features of a top of the line saw.
This goes to show that even the stupid can get rich.
And why do you assume the accident mentioned in the article involved a saw without a guard?
You and almost everyone here has missed my point and that made by 2dtenor an attorney who posted early on in this thread. Read it. The point is not so much as who is to blame but rather and this is true in most product liability who should shoulder responsibility and to what degree. to simply criticize the jury verdict without having been at the trial is like being able to taste a bowl of ice cream having someone describe the flavors.
If Ryobi knew there saw could potentially cause someone to cut there fingers off and they did nothing to mitigate that or lessen the impact of such a situation having full knowledge that there was something out there that would actually prevent such an incident then they were negligent in omitting such a device.
Bear in mind please that not everyone in a jury will know the dangers inherent in woodworking equipment. And so when a jury hears that such and such happened and there was such and such technology that could have prevented this accident who do you think the jury will side with? Perhaps if everyone were to be educated in woodworking and become knowledgeable in the craft there would be a different insight in such lawsuits.
While you and I may think that any idiot should know to keep their fingers out of the blade and that every user should know how to use the equipment before they even open the box. This isn't always the case. I teach woodworking and I can tell you from experience that most people that take my class have no clue as to the magnitude of damage that can be done and that only comes with experience. If the saw makers wanted to shield themselves from idiots using their equipment they wouldn't be selling it at places like Home Depot, Lowes, Amazon or any number of place where they know less than proficient people will be shopping. But by putting it out there and marketing it using certain price points they are making hazardous tools widely accessible yet at the same time they are not instituting initiatives to enhance overall safety to the crowd they are marketing to.
to bad he didnt cut his head off. why didnt he buy a sawstop in the first place??? what did he think he was getting for 250.00? maybe he should have taken up knitting. oh yeah those knitting neddles might poke him in the eye. then he could sue them.
By the way, does Fine Woodworking really have a banner ad at the top of this discussion for MalmanLaw.com? "INJURED At Work? In An Accident? Nursing Home?" "95% of our client's [sic] cases settle without every going to court".
C'mon, now, Taunton? Have your grown that revenue-deprived? At least be topical, "INJURED By Ryobi? By Bosch? By Delta?" "If we cannot collect for you, our services are FREE"
Hi I'm going to forgo on commenting directly on this story and instead add some more fuel to the fire. Here's another story about an extra litigious person from Brooklyn, NY. For all who have a trailer hitch on the back of your vehicle, beware!
I applaud this award. If not for the greed of the Ryobi Tool Company --trading safety for just a few extra dollars of filthy lucre-- that poor man would have been protected.
Now, it's time for us all to take the next step and file a class action suit against Steve Gass and those nasty capitalists at SawStop. After all, if it weren't for their greed in trying to extract every last penny in licensing payments from those poor hardworking folks at Ryobi Tool--who are just trying to earn a decent living--that saw would have been equipped with super-duper, idiot proof, touch-your-tongue-to-the-spinning-blade-I-dare-you technology. Such greed I've never imagined.
Seriously, folks. Calm down. Provided the Ryobi saw performed as designed (always an "if"), this turkey will get overturned on appeal and we can all go back to our other bitches about the nanny state.
We are wasting our breath. This game is over. Bosch is in court right now for the same thing.
I don't see how tool companies can beat this. They better pony up quick before Gass rethinks the 8% he's been asking. I assume that Delta and the rest want to continue selling table saws. I hope they do. It would be a strange world without the Unisaw.
I wonder if Sawstop is publicly traded.
Unbelievable! Any craftsman or woodworker worth his salt should understand the safety hazards associated with the work. The sawstop technology is awesome, and if it were around when I bought my saw, I would have kicked in the extra bucks, but I have to question if the guy would have added in the money to upgrade if it were available when he purchased the saw.
What happened to people taking personal responsibility? We have too much of it isn't my fault, so I will sue because the manufacturer should have known that I was going to be dumb enough to do something unsafe!
"it is in the US that you are deemed innocent until proven guilty. In other countries it is just the opposite" - BayRE4U
The premise of all British law (and Scottish, which is a different judicial system) is that you are innocent until proven guilty. This includes civil law where someone has to prove negligence.
I don't want to start an international incident but can we remind ourselves of the country which puts people in orange jump suits and gives them an extended Caribbean holiday with no charge or trial.
Get yer facts right!!
Here's another one......
With a cheery smiling photo of Lawyer Kuhlmeyer on the page. No local was listed but the area code is 206, Seatle. Next door to Mr. Gass. Interesting.
Notice how I use the term "Lawyer Soandso"? That's from "True Grit", remember how they refered to Lawyer J. Noble Dagget? Anyway.
Lawyer Kuhlmeyer has an interesting story. He was a woodworker for years but left the industry because it was "too dangerous".
Ted- ALL tablesaws have protective equipment, they are called SAW GUARDS, and they come with EVERY saw purchase. You've have probably seen them at one time or another, but most people take them off because for whatever reason they don't like them. That is their choice. And if it doesn't have one for whatever reason (lost or sold by someone who lost it) you can always find a replacement, they aren't hard to find.
This guy made his own choice and he should live with it.
I am ashamed that our country has come to the point that someone who makes poor choices can blame it on someone else and get paid huge sums of money for their foolishness.
The man who brought this suit DECIDED to purchase the Royobi saw - knowing before he purchased it that it did NOT have "flesh detecting capability", he also DECIDED to use the saw for his purposes (either using the saw correctly or incorrectly - I do not know) and he got hurt. This was HIS decision, not the decision of Royobi. Now Royobi has to fight off this frivolus law suit which will cost the entire woodworking industry a lot of money - and what does it do? It makes the one who made the poor decisions rich.
That is just wrong.
TampaDan, by your logic would it be by your own stupidity if you were driving a vehicle not equipped with airbags and other safety devices and you momentarily lost control of the vehicle in a storm or if a kid ran out in front of the car and you swerved to miss him and you maimed yourself by hitting a tree in the process?
There was a time (and there still is) when auto manufacturers protested the mandate to put in technologies to make driving safer. When the idea of seat belts first appeared manufacturers cringed at the thought of making them mandatory and told the public it would make cars unaffordable, they did it again when airbags, anti-lock brakes and double-walled fuel tanks were proposed. True, people are responsible for themselves but at the same time if there is a way to prevent an injury or have some type of safeguard installed than it only makes sense that the manufacturer make an effort to institute those measures to insure the safety of their products.
If this is what this country has come to, I think this guy is just as negligent for not purchasing or retro-fitting a stop to his saw. 1.5m is a lot of money to reward for bad luck, ignorance, and just plain stupidity.
..."you can't fix stupid" - Ron White
Check this out....
A personal injury law firm called Kelley/Uustal in Florida that has a specialty in table saws. They are promoting suing if you have an injury on any table that involves contact with the blade on a saw that doesn't have a brake.
Looks like Gass is going to win. I don't know how I feel about that. Obviously, he's a smart guy. Part of me says he's a weasel and part of me says he's a saint.
I sure would like to see the numbers on Sawstop. How many saws have been sold and how many extra cartridges have been sold. The web site says hundreds of finger saves, I'd like to see exact numbers. I'd also like to see exact numbers on the new Unisaw as in how many owners have been hurt.
Boils down to carelessness and greed and irresponsibility. Someone needs to take this person's power tools away from him so he doesn't get hurt again. He's obviously not responsible enough to use them.
Out of the 1.5 million I would like to know is, How much of the money is really going to end up with the person that stuck his fingers into the saw, He is out, the lawyers are the big winners in this one. If the person got what the lawyers got and vice-versa how many idiot lawsuits due you think there would be. freedom of choice, that went the way of the dinosaure
This comes down to simple economics. Sawstop sells some very expensive saws. I know they're completely out of my price range... a used Delta hybrid and a bench saw is what I work with. Consumers seem quick to blame manufacturers and lawmakers for not protecting them from their own stupidity when they are injured while using high-speed razor-sharp blades whirring around propelled by a high-torque motor. This is apalling.
It is for this reason that some industries enjoy specific protection from frivolous lawsuits -- firearms manufacturers cannot be blamed for injuries that result from firearms that functioned properly, as designed and as intended; Florida law, for example protects owners of an 'equine activity' (horse stables) from any liability from injuries caused by horses.
Such protection must need extend to all industries, so long as products are safe and function properly. Legal reform is vitally necessary; who pays the millions to this imbecile?
Well, quite frankly, we woodworkers do; Ryobi passes this cost on to it's customers. And, of course, should the SawStop upgrade be required on new saws (as it likely will be unless the legislature intervenes), driving the price of the saws up through the roof; Sawstop's lowest-priced model is something like $599? Compare that to $50-100 for a functional, though bare bones bench or chop saw.
Now I want my car equipped with a flesh sensor, for when I reach under the hood to adjust the timing, and accidentally touch the fan or the drive belts. I want a flesh sensor installed in every steering wheel that reports the driver if they take their hands off the wheel. A flesh sensor in every cell phone that notifies the police if used while in a moving car. And I want Big Brother to police my thoughts.
Sawstop is amazing, but let's please take responsibility for our own fingers and leave 'perfectly safe at any cost' for school and institutional use.
I wonder if this sort of person paid his hospital bill?
It seems like the industry of Making Machines are striving to make every machine Idiot proof. Only problem is only idiots can't get hurt. For example, on punch presses, they now, or for a long time now, have what they call to initiate the sequence, 'Hands out of Dye' operation. The part is placed into the dye, gates are closed, and two start buttone on either side of the dye have to be pressed together in order to start the machine. One cycle, part comes out new one is inserted. Hence Idiot proof ...Right.
Until from lack of maintenance, age or maybe a corrosive atmosphere, one of those buttons develops a short and it is always clsoed the operator soon discovers that and is now running the machine with one button.
On repetitive work or cuts on the table saw it is up to the operator to know his limitations without losing concentration. With rotating machinery they are a constant hazard. The watch word should always be caution. I've seen an operator turn a machine off and just before the motor stopped the machine started back up by itself, a defective start stop switch, had a defective spring in the operator mechanism and didn't completely disengage the start button. This was on a newer model Table saw.
When mechanical relays were used to control machines contacts were famous for welding themselves shut requiring the operator to shut the whold machine down by disconnecting the power to the machine. A lot of the time the control voltage was 480 volts the same as that which fed the motors. This was finally changed in the 70's. But even now with computer control, Lightniing strikes or even a line transient can screw up the computer and virtually change the logic and they can have similar problems.
These new Table saws are great, however, I'd be willing to bet after replacing the first blade and trip mechanism, which are not cheap, someone some where will find a way to defeat them.
Again the watch word is ultimately the Operators responisbility to be alert and be familar with the machine he is operating.
Regardless what Bells and Whistles come with the machine to guarantee safety there is no guarantee for safety, just caution.
I was raised around tools,power and hand. I started with basics, replacing parts, repairing, and repainting our small (8') sailboat. I moved on to a 24' daysailer,and then building boats all before age 12. I still took shop classes (when they were offered) to learn "how to properly and safely use tools. At 55 with more than 49 years of learning experience I still have all My parts in thier proper working order. I give You this preamble to state the following: There are very few people over 18 that don't know that our legal system is way overdue for a major overhall (most of those are lawyers). The sheer gaul of this fellow, his lawyer, and Judge overwelms Me. It is only surpased by the ignorance (or stupidity) of the Jury. We can only hope that the appeals court will correct this nonsence. One additional note. I have sadly watched the shop programs disapear from our school system. It's true that Our children (and grandchildren) need math and science as much, if not more than than We did, BUT, at what cost. It's great to be able to understand/utilize advanced concepts and principles. It is also important to be able to use a tool or two without loosing a finger. As Woodworkers (& Parents, Grandparents, Citizens & VOTERS), We have the responcability to correct both of these problems. With over 250,000 elected offices (at every level) up for grabs this year "WE" have an oppertunity to do more than 'JUST' comment on this! We also have nurmorus venues
(public/commercial/non-profit/religious) to address these and other issues. I hope My soapbox voice will be heard. We will see.
@thanion - Not sure where you are going with your comment:
"Beware USA, this is what socialist policies do, just look to Canada for many more bad examples of the same type of thing."
I would speculate but I can't conjure up a context in which this situation and your comment inter-relate.
Please enlighten us.
As for the situation itself; it smacks of the continued erosion of personal responsibility for ones own life. People choosing instead to blame others for their mistakes, be they as dramatic and life altering as this fundamentally sad event or as simple as blaming their teacher for not getting a good grade despite the fact they missed half the classes.
Now let's pull up our Huggies and take some responsibility for our actions.
Well, product improvement often comes as a result of tort cases and improvement is not all bad. Just think how much safer you are today with shatterproof glass windshields than the driver long ago who won the landmark case against Buick.
Progress isn't all bad, but it is sad that manufacturers can't get ahead of the curve on product safety.
Product safety improvements, and manufacturers' failure to make product safety improvements are best understood by looking at game theory and the Prisoners Dilemma. Many noted economists have written on the economics of such decisions.
Oh, and don't worry about Ryobi, the verdict for the injured consumer didn't even make a serious inroad in its stamp drawer.
Beware USA, this is what socialist policies do, just look to Canada for many more bad examples of the same type of thing.
Many years ago My Grandfather taught me to PAY ATTENTION.
Back when the gene-pool weeded out the ones that are protected by our ultra - liberal juducail system.
Have a ligitimate reason to sue? (stand up for your rights?)
ONLY IF the Lawyer can make a killing.
this is what is ruining our great Country. This is why I can't afford a new saw. After reading what the Saw -Stop guy Wrote - even if I could Afford one I wouldn't buy one . I still have all my fingers - I PAY ATTENTION - READ THE MANUAL - AND I NEVER USE A GUARD ON MY TABLE SAW that was supplied by the manufacturer- I have a shop built guard with dust collection that can esily be removed and installed / adjusted .
No - one in this trade or hobby should be in this trade or hobby if they Require a piece of machinery that you expect to cut hard wood , plastic or even some metals , BUT NOT Be Able to Cut flesh and bone - This guy needs to take up bird watching , But he would probably stare at the sun , and sue his local Policeman for not telling him that it will blind him.
God bless the good-ol Days.
I never comment on these things, but this has gone to far..
I guess this means that the next person to shot them selves while cleaning a gun can sue the gun manufacture for not having "Flesh Detection Technology"... Or maybe sue your car manufacture for not having "Tree Avoidance Technology" next time you hit a tree because you weren't paying attention to the road...
Woodworking Machinery is just inherently dangerously and thus requires a certain level of respect and attention... Period..
There are many more dangerous tools in the shop.. Usually with a table saw you can get parts sewn back on.. Mess with a router or a jointer and no such luck..
Just because there is a manufacture out there with "Flesh Detection Technology" doesn't mean I can effort it...
I guess in the years since I took civics, someone threw out the idea of "contributory negligence". If he was crosscutting (as most flooring cuts would require), he was using the wrong tool to do the job. He should have been using a mitre saw. If he was ripping, then he probably either had the guard removed or was not using a push block. It stinks that he lost his finger, but HIS negligence and not the saw's design seems to be the cause of the accident. Even if it had been available, that little sawstop gadget adds about $800 to the price of a basic contractor saw. I could never imagine anyone paying $1000 for a tabletop saw - even someone with $1.5M (less legal expenses, of course).
I am retired professional engineer who has worked over thirty years for a major power tool company. I have been a dedicated woodworker since my retirement. I spent several years acting as an expert witness in power tool litigation in the courts of many states and consider myself qualified to say that the court has no right to punish the power tool company and industry for stupid and negligent use of a power tool. Power tools are just what the words imply. The user must be aware that all types of power tools are inherently capable of causing injury. They are only dangerous to the uninformed, inexperienced or reckless operator who has not been informed of the proper use or disregards the safety procedures associated with the tool.
I've been a martial artist and professional woodworker for nearly 40 years. When we enter and leave the dojo (practice hall), we bow. This simple gesture is taught initially as a sign of respect for our tradition and practice. In time it also comes to stimulate a Pavlovian response in which one's mind switches instantly to the serious attitude which the dangers of combat training demand.
One morning very early in my woodworking career, I had to clean a new stacked dado blade which had eaten the tips of my mentor's fingers in a carerless moment while he rushed to make a deadline the night before. From that day forward, I have made it my habit to bow upon entering and leaving my shop, as I realize that the potential for serious and permanent injury is at least as great there as in the dojo. I attribute the fact that I still have all ten fingers largely to this mental practice.
A serious mindset, along with respect for our tools and craft, forms the first line of defense against shop accidents. Whether or not you work with a SawStop, I recommend you try bowing.
Way wrong here!! This fellow knew the saw didn't have that technology on it when he bought it. Should be end of story if not for the bleeding hearts out there.
sadly, our litigious society has come to a point where you can sue for most anything. You do not have to have a good reason, a moral or ethical stand; you sue because the law allows and the legal system awards huge punitive judgements. Many lawyers are getting very rich helping people win such judgements and many hard-working employees of companies are on the losing end as their employer struggles to remain competitive. What happened to personal responsibility? Why is it suddenly acceptible in American society to be able to accept no blame or ownership for one's own actions? "It's not my fault so who can I possibly blame?" echoes here like finger nails on a chalk board.
It is, indeed, unfortunate any time a woodworker or any craftsman is injured. I do feel badly for this particular person but the amount of money paid for the accident....repeat, an accident just promotes even more greed and even more absolution of personal integrity and responsibility the next time.
This is only a chapter in the sad commentary on how far all American business and our society in general has fallen.
I regret any injury to anyone but to sue someone because Mr. Orsorio did not buy a SAWSTOP and the jury allowing this to me in Ridiculous.
It is in fact another step to the point that we as people are no longer responsible for our own actions and decisions. We will just blame the manufacture and use that for a reason not to pay attention to what we do.
When I began woodworking in the 9th grade we were shown a film that has stuck with me ever sense. The film was on SAFETY when using and/or operating items such as tablesaws. In this film there was an actor (John I believe) that was a real sloppy worker on the tablesaw leaving cutoffs just laying around the saw on the floor. One day "John" tripped over this cutoff pile while ripping a piece of lumber resulting in a vicious kick back that left the saw and drove completely through one of John's coworkers. The film discussed what would happen to someone's hand if that same saw got a hold of it. All of this was in LIVING COLOR and presented to a class of 9th graders.
The above film was shown to me in 1969 at Chastain Jr High School in Jackson, MS. To date I have 8 fingers and 2 thumbs with no injuries due to any of my saws, Joiners, planer, router etc. How did I accomplish this? I have one very SIMPLE RULE, "If I am cutting, joining or other operations that require my person to be in the area of moving/spinning blades, then there is a PUSH stick or pad in my hand."
The reason I live by this is 1. I wanted to enjoy woodworking and 2. I wanted to enjoy life for there is never, even in this hurry up world we live in, a time that a piece of wood must be cut YESTERDAY. Most of the people that I have known in my life that lost a finger and this includes my own Father, will tell you that it happened, not because the saw did not have the TECHNOLOGY, but because the had a lapse in attention or was distracted resulting in the injury. This discussion is very much like that of Firearms, because, GUNS don't kill, People with the GUNS do.
As I said before I regret anyone getting injured, but a reward of 1.5 million dollars is unfair to the manufacture. Lawsuits like this would be thrown out as frivolous in my home state due to our Tort reforms 6 years ago.
One more thing. What happens to that far and utter respect we all feel (well, OK most of us) the first time we ever used a large, load machine such as the table saw? Mine was back in shop in highschool. Was terrified the first time I did a "crosscut" then a "rip!" Well over time and repition that fear is replaced with confidence I suppose. Listening to the pro's here in FWW and reading their articles I often hear them talk of safety..they are trying to show readers how a cut is done and so guards and safety items are removed. I realize that, it's common sense. Why is it that these pros seem to have all 10 digits? Why is it that they all look so serious while making these cuts? the only logical answer is that over the years they have not allowed complacency to ruin their careers or lives. Luck..perhaps plays a small parts. What I am tying to say is for anyone who uses these tools, just keep thinking like that first time...don't relax and don't forget at several thousand RPM's..your fingers or flesh is butter.
I would like to know if he wacked his thumb with a hammer while trying to set a nail would he sue the manufacture of the hammer for negligence. Only in the United States.Land of the free and home of the lawsuites.
As a Pramedic Helicopter Trauma and flight RN I have treated and bagged the fingers and even a hand from woodworkers, some hobbiests some pro's over my 25 year career, most from tablesaws and some from bandsaws.. Our duty in such patients is to "do everything possible to stop bleeding then locate, bag and bring any body parts with patients!" I have seen some saves, some reattachments and some not. I have also treated and transported people from severe facial/head injuries from table saw Kickbacks. I talked to those patient's able to talk and heard the same thing, "I don't know what happened, I just felt my fingers/hand hit the blade. Get that..their hand or fingers "it the lade". In some instances their hand was drawn into the blade. In bandsaw injuries they sliped and the guard was too high when I looked at the machine in many cases.
I probably looked closer because I too am an avid woodworker. I have myself had a fingertip removed by reaching over an unguarded blade. I really can only say this in regard to this law suit. There are safety gurds and rules contained in any tools home owner manual. If you buy used and there is no manual, "why are you using that tool without a manual, unless you know it intametly anyway?" I am quite frankly appaled at this verdict and the award amount. Some will argue that it will get people to manufacture equipment with the new SawStop type technology (which doesn't stop kickbacks completely bye the way) and so it's for the best. Personally, I feel that each person who chooses to use a powetool, of anykind, has the responsibility to know his own limitations and to make every obligation to ensure his own personal safety. This man didn't do that. If I had been on that jury, I would have tried to HANG it. Accountability and spending the time to ensure one's own safety is commonly referd to as autonomy and most certainly responsibility.
As a physician, I will only use a Saw Stop. Granted, I can still mess up my fingers easily with a router, but why take the chance. Plus, it's a great saw.
I'm sorry. But, regardless of the sawstop being a good saw or not, the only point I see in that saw is in classroom where accidents are more likely to occur. The majority of accidents that happen with tablesaws is because the person using it doesn't know how to use the tool properly, and therefore does something really dangerous like crosscut without a sled, resulting in kickback, or someone getting way too comfortable with the saw, and therefore, putting their fingers way too close to the blade. I've used a crappy skil table saw, a ryobi, a new dewalt with the rack and pinion, an industrial sliding table panel saw, and a saw stop, and in the end, I think the saw stop idea is a joke. They advertised it one day on the local news here in Toronto where some "professional" cabinet maker was using a standard table saw, and while he was ripping a piece of wood, he looked up at the clock to see what time it was. I'm sorry, but, accidents are preventable, and if someone does something that stupid, they shouldn't be using the machine. As for this whole lawsuit, I don't understand it. Only in America I guess. What ever happened to buyer beware? How about a reciprocating saw that doesn't kick back? Give me a break.
Is it suprising that at the top of this artical has an ad for three personal injury lawyers!!
That little Ryobi saw is still for sale today at Home Depot. Mine has them in stock. Interesting.
This verdict is astounding. Considering that the injured guy didn't exactly buy a top of the line saw he probably would never have sprung for the extra expense of a Stop-Saw type unit if it had been available from Ryobi.
BTW, to "mcnervy", "gecwdwkr", "jlluft" et al. NO, it should not be mandated that all table saws cost twice as much as they do now, and no, it is not the manufacturer's fault that this man put a finger in front of a spinning blade. One should not even need a warning to figure out that you must keep your fingers away from a spinning blade. Is the SawStop device a good idea? You betcha! But should we take away an American's right to choose the product that he wants based on features/price??? Manufactures can only sell what we want to buy. If we all wanted SawStop saws, the others would be out of business already (me, I thought long and hard about my decision when I bought mine. I considered the SawStop, but for the same amount of money for the SawStop saw, I was able to buy a 5 in 1 combination machine with a sliding table saw... and with a sliding table, my hand VERY rarely comes anywhere near the saw blade, which is much better than any brake technology). As the price of the technology comes down (once the patent expires), you will start to see the technology show up on other devices at prices we can afford. If however you mandate it, it will remain expensive (simple "supply and Demand").
This isn't surprising, after all, the verdict came out of Tax-a-chusetts, this is the same state that passed a law that required ALL firearms to have trigger locks - and now the black powder muskets hanging on the walls of the state legislature have… you guessed it… trigger locks on them (seriously, look it up)! As if you could even fire one of them if you wanted to.
We are living through the "I.D." generation... ("I deserve"). This guy buys a cheap saw to save money rather than spending the extra money for one that will make up for his lack of competence, that’s okay, that’s his right and his choice. Then when he lops off a finger, it suddenly becomes someone else's fault. But really, what do we expect? We don't educate our own children any more, instead we send them to government schools where they are taught that the government has the answers to all of our problems, and that if something bad happens to you (regardless of whether it was your fault or not), you should turn to the government and “Mother Gov.” will make it all better. In this case, give you money from that greedy company who made a saw that you could actually afford to buy.
No judge in America should even allow such lawsuits into their court room. Personal responsibility is dead, at least in Malden Mass. I lost the tip of my finger on a planner when I was younger. It was a small Sears planner, and I was trying to make it do a task for which it was not intended. Did I sue? No, I learned a lesson and moved on, but then again, I was raised by parents that made their children take responsibility for their actions. In fact if I was so greedy as to attempt to sue, my father would have likely testified on behalf of Sears. It’s a shame that this guy didn’t have anyone who loved him enough to smack him and make him do the right thing.
Now you know why I vote Libertarian (but you could likely figure that out by my user name).
I am always amazed when I see big money awards for people who are injured by their own careless mistakes.Ryobi did not force that guy to use the table saw or stick his fingers in the blade.To me freedom means the right to use whatever powertools I want to but I realize that its up to me to not hurt myself.When will people start taking personal responsibility for their actions and get over this victim mentality?
This suit is precisely an example of why the manufacturers refused to license the technology now seen in SawStop. To have licensed and used the technology as a manufacturer would be taken by lawyers as an admission that he had previously been building an unsafe product -- essentially a prima facie admission of liability. Sure, as woodworkers we all know the dangers inherent to our beloved practice. That's different than the attitude that a persuasive lawyer can create in a pliable jury. I'd wager that there was not an experienced woodworker on the jury, because otherwise the verdict would have been different.
I think that the award is wrong. One it is two much money. Has he lost 1.5 million in earning potential? (I would wager no) Has he lost 1.5 million in quality of life? (I would wager he only has about 500,000 in total value)
Two he is responsible for the injury.
But as to the technology (let’s assume 1 false positive per saw lifetime)
It should be mandatory.
I know those against have these arguments
Why do I have to pay for it I am safe/not an idiot?
The government does not have the write to make this a requirement in a free country?
Let the people decide with their purchasing?
My personal favorite ridiculous reason against the technology?
If I have a safety feature I will become complacent and it will lead to other injuries
I have never heard anyone say “I drive on bald tires because it makes me drive safer”
What about smoke detectors in houses do those make you complacent about burning down your house? Let’s use the fireworks inside I just got new smoke detectors.
Here is why it is ok for the government to force a safety issue.
It is for the public good.
The cost savings to the health care bottom line is justified.
Hand injuries are very expensive to fix.
And the cost of the injuries just is transferred onto us all through the health care system in co pays and insurance premiums.
The big examples of this argument listed by others are seatbelts and air bags.
But also anything illegal is an example of government intervention, Drugs for instance. Most of us have no issue with drugs legal or illegal. But still there are laws for the public good.
So where do we go from here. I think that the government should force adoption of this technology. In exchange for this the tool manufacturers should get no liability for the saw already in the field, a grandfather clause.
As a trade off for this the government should also set the price for the licensing of the technology. (If big brother forces them to buy it they can also set the fair price)
I would suggest a 1,000,000 initial license fee paid by Uncle Sam (to help saw stop recoup their investment up front) and then a 5$ per saw sold for the remainder of the patent. 700,000 table saws per year that is 3.5 million per year. that would only raise the cost of a table saw about 155$ (sure it is more then double the cost of a piece of crap but not significant adder for a decent saw)
That is what I believe.
In fairness I have not yet bought a sawstop I have a ridgid I bought for 274$
Shows that while to some extent, lawyers are an occasional necessity, this country is going to h... because of them. Look at politics: bills of 2000 pages that even some of them can't understand. Look at tax laws, the health care package and back-door deals, the loopholes made by lawyers for lawyers; in the Senate alone, about 60%, that's 60 of 100 Senators, are lawyers. How many in the House? Is it any wonder that, regardless of what happens to the economy, the financial industry, the mortgage industry, the job market, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, retirement, et al, Congress will ensure that, through it's legalese, they will take care of themselves, first and foremost; the public be damned. Their only concern is to get re-elected and continue feeding at the trough of public money.
As for the lawsuit itself, yes personal responsibility is tossed out the window. When will some lawyer sue appliance makers for not having "flesh-detection" technology on kitchen cutlery to protect the careless cook?
BruceJ mentioned seatbelt laws, speaking of human fallibility vice carelessness or stupidity. I beg to differ. I also was in the safety field. As a Naval Aviation Safety Officer attached to a major training air wing, I never had to bury a pilot for any aircraft accident, and there were some. I did, however, bury more than one pilot who managed to kill himself in an auto accidents. I don't recall the specifics as to seatbelt usage, but I do know this; while seatbelts are meant to protect the driver, the greater impact is what happens when a driver, not wearing one, loses control of his/her vehicle. It becomes a missile and can cause death/injury to anyone in its path. This is the more accepted reason for mandatory laws. Yes, personal injury is considered, but that aspect is just that, personal. So it is with any concept of doing to oneself vice doing to others. There is a big difference. We shouldn't have to pay for one to disregard his/her own safety.
By the way, of the $1.5 M settlement, how much do the lawyers get?
When seatbelts and later on airbags were first shown to be effective in saving lives, auto manufacturers refused to put them in because they cost a lot or were cumbersome. The woman who spilled the coffee at McDonalds suffered serious first degree burns that could have been prevented with a cooler drink. Remember when no one used child car seats to prevent injuries in a collision? How about the toys that kids would swallow and choke or the pool drains that would catch a small girls long hair? How about when there were no child proof caps on poisonous products or drugs? Not long ago ground fault interrupt electrical outlets were not commonly used. The truth is many horrible accidents could have been prevented with better design or improved technology but manufacturers are reluctant to incorporate them due to added costs or inconveniences that would make them non-competitive. Lawyers were responsible for pushing for these common and now expected improvements to happen. If the end result of this unfortunate story is that the saw-stop technology is adopted across the board by competing manufacturers (which is the lawyer's real point) the cost will come down appreciably and we all will be much safer. The point is that when an obvious technology, design change or product improvement is available to vastly improve the safety of a product that is inherently dangerous then we should use it. Accidents with serious, life-changing consequences happen to even smart, cautious and prudent people.
This would be like any auto manufacturer losing a case for not having abs type brakes on automobiles manufactured when abs was unavailable. I can't believe this will hold up on appeal.
The thing is that before this new "flesh-detecting technology" all tablesaws came with warnings and one knew the dangers associated with using the tablesaw. And so did Carlos.
I'm just waiting for the day that Judges in this country get some Balls and throw cases like this out of court. Carlos being stupid was how he got hurt and how can he blame it on the manufacturer? The Saw blade didn't attack him. And he probably used that saw thousands of times in the past and just got stupid this one time.
I'm sorry, although I can can sincerely sympathize with the hardships associated with any such injury, I feel that no amount of warning or protection can replace common sense and innate caution. Which translates: no person, company or thing can protect a person from themselves.
Otherwise maybe I could sue knife makers, all sports equipment manufacturers/distributors/designers, all tool makers (including chisels, handsaws, planes, scrapers or anything with an edge or weight with of without handles....etc).
Bottom line, the legal fees were probably the source of incentive here, as in the case of the hot coffee "burn" that now has the entire country unable to buy a cup of coffee above 60 degrees Farenheit.
These tool have all been in use for centuries, and yes, in the learning curve of how to be truly cautious and in tune with their tool(s)there may be an occasional reminder that there is some things which cannot be overlooked when undertaking any such task.
I am amazed that this continues to happen. I think we all agree that power tools are inherantly dangerous, yet this guy gets 1.5 mil for being unsafe. What is this country coming to. 1 person gets millions for spilling coffee on themself & now this. I wonder if one of us could be sued if someone used a drawer,( from something we made for them)as a step stool & hurt themselves. negligence is negligence, dont reward a person for being negligent.
Was the man misled perhaps?? Did someone misrepresent the safety features of the saw in question by telling him that he should have a reasonable expectation that the saw in question had the new saw break technology??? Did something, or someone lead him to have a reasonable expectation that although the machine could cut Oak, it would not cut his fingers??? Did he have a reasonable expectation to assume, that should he hurt himself through misadventure, he deserved-and could obtain in court-a cash award to ameliorate the damages??
Was he lead to believe that anything but safe, attentive, use of the machine would lead to any other outcome but grievous personal injury??? Perhaps the man bought the saw without the new technology simply because he could not afford it, or he didn't think it necessary, or trustworthy. Perhaps he used the machine thinking his own personal skill, and care,made the use of a machine that did have the technology unnecessary?? In what kind of world does this man live??? I don't think this 1.5-million dollar award from the court is the fault of the lawyers either, after all, their job is to follow the instructions of their client/.
And we all know what kind of a planet he calls home.
A little story:
I wanted to replace my old Craftsman table saw, was thinking of the the Sawstop and went into Woodcraft to discuss it with the salesman. I told him "it seems like a lot of extra money, but I suppose that if I had an accident it would be worth it." From all the way across the store came a loud voice "You bet it is!!!!". Looking over where it came from all I could see was a hand sticking up - with half the index finger missing. The owner was a professional woodworker who after many years had made one little slip. How many other pros do you know who can "count fractions" with their fingers?
The bottom line is that Mr Gass found the solution to a formerly intractable problem that causes thousands of serious injuries a year, each of which no doubt costs more in medical costs, not to mention disability and lost wages, than the incremental cost of putting the technology on the saw. The other manufacturers had the opportunity to adopt the technology and refused. They should bear the responsibility for their descision, at least for accidents that occur after the Sawstop became available.
As a doctor, I have some experience with lawyers and courts. This case will go to appeal and the verdict will be substantially reduced or thrown out. The reason for the verdict is you get a jury of your peers. Which happens to be anyone they can drag off the street and imprison for two days to two years on on jury. That makes you under the mercy of the lowest of the low in our society. Juries used to be one day in the box and hear six to twelve cases. That is what we need to go back to.
Also, consider that this will add $50 To $100 to the cost of your next tool.
Another example of not placing the responsibility where it belongs - on the individual who knowingly bought or used the table saw. When will we take responsibility for our own actions instead of blaming companies who manufacture products in good faith? Will we now never be able to buy a table saw without "flesh detection technology"? What's next - Sawstop circular saws and miter saws? I think Sawstop is a great idea, but I can't justify the expense for the amount of times I use my table saw.
This is a terrible decision!
What ever happened to people taking responsibility for their own actions instead of suing someone to make up for their mistakes. It is hardly ever that the machine is at fault. A vast majority of the time it is operator error. Why can't this man accept his mistake and go on from there? Probably because someone told him that he could make some money, even though it may be ethically questionable. This is Massachusetts, where everyone has health care. He should not have to be concerned about paying for treatment.
Some interesting comments!
CONSIDER THIS: Sawstop provides no GUARANTEE that your blade will stop and not cut you!!!!!! Technology CAN fail. I love woodworking--but, it's not something I get to do on a daily or weekly basis. As a result, my hands are prone to cuts and abrasions. So, I wear gloves constantly when I am in the shop. I have caught myself, more than once, grabbing "JUST one piece" that had to be cut--and looked up after the cut and realized I had gloves on. Don't tell me that a (some)personal injury attorney(s) won't TRY to overlook the gloves......unfortunately, our society does not require that jurors be capable of reason or understand personal responsibility. Nor does it place a reasonable limit on the amount of money that is punitive for the company but not an avenue for instant wealth. There are those who would cut a finger off for $1 million.
Sawstop has one of the best pieces of equipment out there. I am lucky to have one. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford it--and, unless the big companies adopt the technology, it will probably remain expensive. BUT, even Sawstop tells you that you should not assume the technology will protect you--you need to practice the same safety techniques that you would use if the Sawstop had no safety mechanism.
Ideally, each individual who purchased one would immediately place their hand on a running blade AND get to see the technology with their hand instead of a hot dog--after they found that it did, indeed, work--they could go out and pay $70 for a new cartride as well as the probable replacement of a blade.
I'm fairly liberal--but, our tort system is based on laws that are ancient. The "law" doesn't deal with what is reasonable and fair--there is no reasonable and fair in the judiciary system (at least in the US). We need reform in that area. We also need a requirement that saw manufacturers should disclose they do not have the technology to protect you--and, perhaps we ought to have to sign off on that before we can buy the saw.
The implementation to child safety seats was seen to be a cost that would make owning a car for many people be unbearable--yet, today we don't even think about using the safe seats--the day will come when saws are the same (probably).
Of course, you can avoid reading the instructions and believe that Sawstop is infallible--who's fault is that if you get your hand cut off. We all want quality tools, and we want them to be inexpensive. Putting Ryobi and/or others will not make tools LESS expensive--maybe it will make them consider the technology. However, if you want to make a case against anybody--consider that medical insurance companies are fighting new medical procedures and possibly beneficial drugs--believe it! They are in the business of making money and have created a mess where insurance is not affordable for many. Is this where all liability is going? There is more at issue than one lawsuit (or 60)--In the end, though, YOU are ultimately responsible for safety and the only time a lawsuit is justified is if the piece of equipment is faulty.
I hope the decisions are overturned, that we get substantial torte reform, and that personal injury attorneys are limited to no more than 10% or $10,000 per case. That oughta slow 'em down--and, save all of us money!
It is very unfortunate for anyone to receive any serious injury from any tool for any reason. I do not know all of the circumstances surrounding the incident, so it is hard to judge much from where I sit. BUT, the world has bigger issues to resolve. Did the guy read the instructions? Did he use proper technique? Was he using the blade guard? was he in a hurry? Did he have any prior experience on the machine, or one like it? Blah, blah, blah. The other day I did a stupid thing for the first time ever ;) and put my saw blade in backwards AND proceeded to cut a piece of wood. I thought for a second, boy this piece of 3/4 ply is really hard stuff. I wonder if I can sue the manufacturer for the cost of a new blade because they did not have a mechanism to prevent this mishap? C'mon, a machine defect is one thing. A human defect is another. Woodworking is inherently dangerous and expensive. Thanks to the complainant, judge and jury, it seems it will remain as such.
These redicules lawsuits are only possible in the USA and I hope this "money hunt" stays there for ever.
This is truly troubling. A lawsuit such as this lack any decency whatsoever. The first several pages of every Equipment Manual goes in depth as to the dangers associated with the tool. If he wanted to be safer he should invest in the safer product.
Maybe an interim solution is to add a lockout on the switch clearly labled "By removing this lockout you agree to having read and fully understood the safety warnings included in the Owner's Manual. In addition you agree to educate any other persons who may ever use this piece of equipment as to the dangers and take full responsibility to your saftey and another person ever using this equipment."
Take responsibility for your own actions.
This certainly will drive the price of tools up!
In Canada we have a saying. "If there was a Lawyer and a Skunk in the middle of the road, which would you run over?
Not sure how you treat Lawyers in the States?
Just another comment --
Recently after my accident with the table saw, I received a letter from the insurance company asking me to call them to provide more detail on my injury. This is the second time I've received such a call after an injury.
The essence of the letters/conversations - They were looking for information to see if they could recover some of the costs of my treatment (which luckily was minimal). They were looking for somebody to blame.
I have no beef with lawyers as a whole. Many do good work. And, I'm glad I have a good insurance plan to help pay for the few times in my life when I have injured myself. BUT lawyers involved with such ludicrous cases as the one here or insurance companies that look for scape goats are *!@#%#@ and @^*@*( and !@#(*^$)> !!!
I presume we all agree that this is a horrible, unfortunate accident that might have been prevented - with training, proper working conditions, proper equipment. What is unfortunate is that the man had to pay for the treatment and presumably could not afford medical insurance. My problem is who has to pay for this treatment and the resulting assigning blame, and the impact on his working career. Certainly Workman's Compensation chould treat workers better. More importantly, there should be a universal health care system. I'm Canadian - up here his medical treatment would have been covered (slow, but there); I don't know about WC. Perhaps this case should be a push for more support for Obama and his medical care start in the US.
I can feel a whole new industry coming on. In the same way one earns a good credit rating or a good insurance risk, we could leave college with a dyk-wod rating. Through careful monitoring and adjustment, the government could provide "confidential" information on our level or dyk-woddness to vendors of power tools, preventing sales to certain groups. Its a win win scenario. The vulnerable will protected from self harm, the lawyers could sue the government for not keeping the list up to date, dating agencies could lobby senators to make the list available to them. The list goes on and on......
Or do I need to take a higher dose of lithium?
Perhaps I shouldn't take too much of the yellow stuff. It seems that here in the UK, we often catch with your legal shannanigans after a few years
Dr. Hacker summed it up. Personal responsibility. The first job I had after service was in a Steel mill. I worked second shift. There were over head cranes and to guys on the floor who would hook up the Coils of steel to move from the slitting machine to a shipping bay.
The guys hooking up the steel were called, "Hookers". Usually a 72 inch wide coil of steel would go through a slitter which cut the steel into different sizes which was fed to a take up reel that had spavers for how many ribbons of steel the job called to cut.
One night there was a horrible accident one of the 'Hookers ' got his hand caught in the take up reel and cut four 4 fingers off right there on the spot. He wound up suing the company, the State and on and on. It was thrown out of court because, the Hooker didn't mention he had been drinking before the accident(at that time it was common preactice most of those guys were virtually drunk on the job) and that was enough to kill the case. If a Union Steward said he was working on a case, he wasn't talking about and Arbitration suit. The drinking was a standard practice at that plant and a lot of accidents as a result.
The man that got that huge reward, nothing was said, how it happeded but they blamed the machine. This kind of non sense has put us into a Nanny State.
Most accidents happen for a reason, carelessness, drinking while working with a power saw or a rotary machine but mostly familiarity breeds contempt, but in the end the user is the victim.
The only way to make a table saw totally safe for anyone to use is to not allow anyone to use a table saw.
For those of you who are offended by the nanny state - who do you think ends up supporting injured persons when they can no longer work/look after their families/send their kids to school - and the list goes on? YOU do and your society loses. That's why safety is important. Most of you are ready to let the guy rot because he was so stupid/careless/unskilled. Well at the end of the day you will pay for his injury and the injuries of others when their tools/workplaces are not safe.
The responses here are so typical of vision that is narrow and horizons that are so low. It's arrogant and self-congratulatory.
Safety is everyone's business. It is responsible to ensure that equipment has safety features when they are available. My next saw - a SawStop. No question.
What ever happened to personal responsibility? Regardless of what technology is available, whatever tool you’re using at the time has risks and benefits; use as directed.
This is an upsetting settlement.
Well, everyone has some truth in their comments but I lean toward the feeling that the award was a bit high. I wish all of the table saw manufacturers installed this SawStop technology from the time it came out on the sole reasoning that it is the right thing to do AND it would have greatly reduced the cost of this addition to all the saws. Since they didn't issues like this care show up and more money will be wasted and in the end we will payout more to get this technology - and payment in money and body damage.
I do have one question, though. One person said that the technology was not available when he bought his saw. If that is really a fact then I don't see the case winning. I, therefore, will believe the tech was available at that time. If anyone can prove it wasn't then a court appeal to overturn that award should be easy.
Bottom line - industry should stop maximizing profits when safety tech is available yet new...
As a Canadian lawyer who does a great deal of personal injury work, it always amazes me to hear of the damage awards that some US jurisdictions grant.
Initially, I was surprised to hear that the liability arises from the lack of a new technology. Given media sensationalism, I suspect that this news story isn't the whole story. There was likely more to establish the liability.
To people like Scorpion54: Keep in mind, the lawyer didn't give the $1.5 million award ... he got it for his client. A group of U.S. citizens, the jury, gave this man the money.
Besides, it will likely be overturned on appeal if the only basis of the claim was a lack of new technology.
I Been machinist over 40 years, Around machines all my life, you need respect for that machine you are running(ALWAYS). Other words keep your head focus on what you are doing (ALWAYS). This lawyers s _ _t is going to cost the woodworker like you and me more money in the long run. Stupid Dumb_ _ s lawyer. The main point is responsibility for running the saw. The Guy need to trade all is tools in Dumba_s.
Interesting range of opinions presented. As a safety professional, I do not condone the behavior of workers who do not follow their training, or knowingly put themsleves at risk of injury. Remember that seatbelts, airbags, and smoke detectors were all new at the time of their inception. Widespread public acceptance of some of these devices -all of which would be looked at today as being in the collective good, took many years. A cursory review of history will quickly tell you that it has very rarely been industry that initiates or recommends safety improvements. It is almost always government that ends up legislating change to improve the minimum degree of protection of life and limb for their citizens. Workplace safety law in virtually every country did not develop out of concern by industry for the well-being of their employees; one would have to be incredibly naive to believe that.
For those that embrace the "common sense defense" as I call it, please consider this: every person that has been seriously injured or killed at work or at home while performing some task was doing something at the time the incident occurred that made "sense" to them. Obviously, if they could have forseen the outcome of their actions, they would not have taken them, but none of us have a crystal ball, do we? I have read a lot of the research in this area, and there is little doubt that we can rely solely or primarily on people's common sense to protect themselves from the various calamities of work and life.
Would anyone seriously be willing to have all our streets declared Autobahns? It's only the "other" driver we need to worry about, right?
This is one of the reasons we, as a country, are in the mess we are in. What a crock. A man is given money because he was careless.
If he needed and wanted a saw with SawStop tech, he should have shelled out the bucks for it. If it wasn't available, he should have someone else saw his wood.
To blame the manufacturer of a cheap table saw for your own disregard of common sense and safety is ludicrous.
"ronaloha writes: He could have bought a Sawstop. He got what he paid for."
Um no he could not they were not for sale yet to the general public when the injury occurred. Do you buy safety devices for your employer? Does your employer tolerate that insubordination?
Willybill a sensible one. Yes that is a very good question what of the WC limits in Massachusetts? And yes you can see rightly so why the insurance company pursued this there was a smoking gun, they do not chase their tails and are very persistent in chasing facts down. Too many here are so ready to blame the victim.
The scoundrel is the tool manufacturer and the fact that the insurance company was the one that pursued this, not the victim, is testament to there being something very wrong with this tool.
Yes there are plenty of people who have this very tool with no problems. That negative does not disqualify the one or few that have serious problems. Same tact Toyota is taking yet daily we hear of more cars with problems. What is it I just do not understand any of the 90% of rationals here other than this guys name is Carlos. To me I think we all would be cheering someone took a tool company on and proved a safety issue. Was this solely about the flesh detector. No, but there are so many here that is all they see.
He could have bought a Sawstop. He got what he paid for.
Trinity Too: In a perfect world you are right. Did you notice this guy is Hispanic. You really think he would question his boss. We are doing our roofs around here and it is all hot oil. Nothing but Hispanic men high as a kite. They want their jobs and do not ask questions. A white guy would stand up to this unscrupulous boss but not these hard working guys that make enough to put food on the table. I wonder what the contract amount was for on that job he got hurt. Also what about this states laws in regards to worker safety. I am sure the investigation that ensued correctly found the owner not guilty of anything. No instead the Insurance company found dirt on Ryobi but you cannot accept that fact.
So right from the start your rebuttal falls apart. It was illegal for slaves to own property in Virginia back in the 1800's yet many slave owners deeded their slaves property and allowed them to marry all against state law. Did the State of Virginia go after all these people. No they did not. Just because it is the law does not mean it is enforced. In our job starved economy believe you me there are plenty of under 7 person companies that take advantage of their workers.
Did you know that under 7 people the owner is not liable to enforce Federal law in regards to discrimination. So don't give this bull about law until you know the law as relates to this case. In fact this guy being Hispanic with a name like Carlos instead of John, this whole negativity sounds very discriminatory on its face. I wonder if a white guy would get this kind of press. No one here can even write out his name properly. Says quite a bit.
In 1980 I received a serious head injury from incorrectly using a radial arm saw. Was it the mfg'ers fault that I used it incorrectly? No way!! It was totally my fault. I didn't even contact the mfg to inform them of my stupid use of their product. I use many power tools daily, including a Rigid TS3650 table saw, and believe me when I use it I take safety very seriously. I still have all 10 fingers, and haven't had a injury from using a power tool since the one in 1980. This includes just about every tool you can imagine in residential construction, and since I like making sawdust so much, this extends to power tools used for hobby woodworking. The jury screwed up on this case. Make your power tool purchases now before the prices start going up.
People need to take resposibility for their own choices. I lost a 1/4 inch off the end of my left thumb a year ago while cutting thin strips for edging plywood. I have a decent tablesaw but not a SawStop and when it kicked back my left hand was drawn into the blade. Not the best choice I ever made but I knew better than to place my hand where it was - it was just too quick and easy. My bad choice, my fault. I was luckier than Mr. Gass but it was not really a lack of knowledge as to how to use the saw. I knew - I just thought that with some care and concentration I could beat the odds but you can't. Stuff happens. Thinking you can beat the odds is the dumb part. It is a shame that if enough of this kind of stuff happens the do-gooders will want to protect woodworkers and/or liability insurance will drive prices of table saws through the roof and the number of choices will shrink.
I am sorry for Carlos's injuries, and I understand why the insurance company persued this case, was a tremendous favor for Carlos, but why was the workers comp limit so low.If the government would wake up, they would see we aren't in the 50's anymore, and companies should have greater W.C. limits
To BayRE4U: A rebuttal on some of your points.
1.You are hurt badly on the job using a Ryobi table saw.
If a boss asks you to do something that you feel is unsafe, you don't have to do it. By law. You can refuse, or get training, or read up on your own time.
3.The state pays and investigates the saw manufacturer where they find fraud and safety abuses.
There weren't any abuses. Ryobi sold a table saw similar to 99% of table saws - none of which has the special flesh detection and quick stop mechanism of the one table saw that does. It is not up to the manufacturers to provide this not-free feature; it is up to the buyer to make sure what he is buying is what he needs. It is up to the buyer to read the safety manual. It is up to the buyer to learn how to use the product, which might include books, videos, classes, asking experts. It is not the buyer's right to start using the machine with no training or research and expect the machine to be completely safe, no matter what he does. Any machine.
5. 4 years go by with the manufacturer filing motion after motion until finally the insurance company gets its day in court.
Of course they tried to head off a court case. It's not their saw that's the problem, otherwise anyone who used either their saw or any table saw would be cutting off fingers. Those that have injuries are usually sensible enough to understand the why, usually too tired, or too hurried. And why settle out of court if it isn't their fault? That's called a nuisance suit. Who do you think pays for this settlement? Power machine buyers.
9. You finally have rest and can focus on the future with a hundred thousand in the bank enough to last you two to three years.
Boy, I wish I had that money - it sure would last me more than 2-3 years.
Now if he had sued the boss or the company for not offering training (if he had asked for it, of course) - that makes slightly more sense. However, they probably wouldn't have had the perceived pots of money that Ryobi has...
And it sounds like although his hand is injured (and we really do commiserate with this), he hasn't lost the use of it - it wasn't cut off. Servicemen come home with horrific injuries, and they aren't handed huge amounts of money. Now that's much worse.
This case will set a precedent for an avalanche of cases, which is the real problem. Prices for anything manufactured will skyrocket because companies will be paying huge amounts to insurance companies, printing huge manuals with every safety caution known to man, asking for proof of competence before selling to anyone. We'll have to start using table saws with helmets, steel-capped boots, kevlar-lined gloves, full respirator suits (sawdust), lexan faceshields (splinters), battle armour (kickback), monitoring cameras... and that's if we can afford to buy the thing in the first place (plus all the training too).
Of course we don't know the full story, but then neither do you. So we are all making judgements without knowing all the facts.
I have worked in the occupational health & safety field for 17 years, and have personally attended more than 30 incident scenes involving amputation injuries on table saws -all on unguarded table saws.It is NOT a matter of stupidity or carelessness; it is a matter of human fallibility. We wear seatbelts to reduce the severity of injury if we are involved in an accident, but who believes it will our actions that contribute to being involved in one, it is always the other person's fault.
Engineering controls like effective safeguards (i.e blade guards) are always better than relying on a human being to have to behave in a certain manner at all times to protect themselves. The research and data is simply overwhelming in support of this. I am a serious amateur woodworker, just like many of you, and I use the guard on my 5 h.p. General at all times.
I am not clear in this case if the individual that was injured was using the blade guard on the saw at the time. Certainly the Sawstop is potentially a more effective guarding solution, than using conventional barrier guards ( traditional saw blade guards) alone.
I know how quickly life can be changed forever due to poor decision-making. We are all capable of this. We should all support improving the design of safety devices; just look at the data on personal injuries on table saws (likely only a fraction of what actually occurs do to under reporting) and form your own opinion.
Is this a case of a saw manufacturer that didn't include the technology, or a woodworker who chose not to buy the available technology? Sawstop is a great saw but I haven't invested in one because I have chosen to invest my money in other things at this time. The fact that my current saw does not have the technology is due to my own choice (I'm too cheap). This is just another case of a rediculous lawsuit.
when will ladders have "fall technology" in them? Paul Harvey told a story about a man that put up a ladder in a frozen manure pile along side his barn. Later in the day (above freezing) he went up the ladder and it tipped over, injuring himself. Stupid people and lawyers always drive up the price of just about anything!
There's more to the Mcdonald's lawsuit than people know. I imagine there's more to the tablesaw lawsuit than we know. Lawyer's are a pain in the butt joint, but, it wouldn't suprise me that Ryobi turned down the safety device when it was offered to them. I'm a firm believer in requiring safety devices to be mandatory if they really work.( e.g. anti-lock brakes,air bags, riving knives, etc.) I have a Unisaw and try to be careful most of the time,but,it sure would be nice to know that if I screw up for just a millisecond, I might still have fingers. All of the major saw manufactures had a chance to use sawstop's safety mechanism and turned them down. I'm sitting on the fence on this one. I waited to buy my saw, hoping they would use the new technology. When I heard they rejected at that time I made my purchase. I might have waited if I would have known Sawstop was going to make a cabinet saw.
There is no amount of technology that can prevent a stupid or negligent person from causing harm. I understand that some accidents are just that, accidents. However, the vast majority of injuries are cause by carelessness and not respecting the tool you are using. I think it would be great if I could have purchased my last table saw for the same $1,200 I paid and gotten a safety feature like the blade brake....it doesn't exit. Technology cost money. If the choice is a great table saw for $1,200 without a brake or one for $2,400 with one, I will always take the $1,200 and be careful. Has anyone ever heard the term... guns don't kill people, people do. I've haven't cut anything off in 30 years and I haven't shot myself or anyone else. Maybe our current government (or idiot lawyers who will fight for every unjust cause) have the money to buy everything....I don't. Good businesses suffer from this kind or malicious, greedy litigation. I like Saw Stop, hate this decision.
All things being equal, I wonder if the tables were turned and this was you. Here are the facts.
1.You are hurt badly on the job using a Ryobi table saw.
You go to the hospital and get treated with $350,000 in medical bills.
2.You have no money to pay and file a workman's comp case.
3.The state pays and investigates the saw manufacturer where they find fraud and safety abuses.
4.The Insurance company then files suit after finding the saw fraudulent in some claim the manufacturer made which resulted in your injury. You have no control over this.
5. 4 years go by with the manufacturer filing motion after motion until finally the insurance company gets its day in court.
6.You are called as a witness to the injury. Experts are called in to testify on both sides.
7.The jury after deliberating not only find the manufacturer at fault for misrepresentation and pay all the medical bills and award punitive damages for the 4 years of bad faith negotiations.
8.The Attorneys take half and the IRS another 50% as this pushes you into alternative minimum tax basis.
9. You finally have rest and can focus on the future with a hundred thousand in the bank enough to last you two to three years.
Does it seem better this way?
I am happy so many of you here have deep pockets that you can afford $100,000 in excess medical bills. Or that you have the entire sum. My feeling is all things being equal and it happening to you or to me the same result would be the case. Carlos had no say with the insurance company going after Ryobi. But so many here want to demonize Carlos like it was all his fault. God forbid that the tables are turned.
All clarity in law suits depends which side of the fence you are on. There is nothing wrong here other than peoples misguided perceptions on the misinformation that has occurred with this case. Shame on those that are sewing the seeds of doubt.
Ryobis saws are low end bought mostly if not only for price. Even if they offered flash safety tech. it would one, not be affordable or two, be an option that people would not buy. We have to take responsibility for our actions even those that cost us body parts. I for one have opted not to buy saw stop because it is new and not on the used saws I can afford but I do use the blade guard which by the way is offered on the Ryobi and probably would have saved this man his fingers
this is absolutely ridiculous if you don't know enough about a table saw then why is he running one. and on top of that when did we start awarding lawsuits for being stupid
The legal system has gone nuts. This isn't the only area. Remember the famous McDonald hot coffee case? I wish there was something one could do that would have some effect on it.
The comments that are attached say it all. (with some exceptions that, I expect, are "office safety experts".
Corporate abuse of the medical insurance industry in Amaerica forces people to think deep pockets eaquals payday.
We are all careless and or stupid at times. Whatever the man or machines faults, compasion always rules. Many respondants here would be well paid ajudicators for Big Med. Shame on you.
On the plus side..Saw Stop and it's variants SHOULD be the rule. This sad story may get done what Mr. Gass and his negotiations could not.
"Fabuladico writes: It's a weird sort of situation. If the man was injured on the job, it should have been a workman's comp case not a product liability case. Table saws are notoriously dangerous, and if a person doesn't know that, then that person shouldn't be allowed to use one."
This was a workman's comp case. The insurance company brought the case further after they found some liability with fraud on the saw. Do we know what that was, the short answer no. Do we have a clue yes safety of the saw as this tort was about the manufacturer disregarding safety.
The misinformation that is occurring here is quite remarkable. Some think this guy got rich. Nothing short of the truth on that, the attorneys took at least 30% if not half (4 years of court battles so the attorneys just broke even), he still had those pesky medical bills to pay so all in all he has little left. Some think this guy stupid. He was an employee that got hurt on the job. Are we all supposed to be perfect? Some think other crazy notions of this being nothing but the flesh detector.
This was an insurance case that was a tort on fraud. It was formed by the insurance company because the State wanted that money back. Carlos did not have any money and was probably quite happy the insurance company went to bat for him. We should all be so lucky. The jury found fault with the companies safety record and awarded the insurance company the payment they made and Carlos punitive damages beyond that. The attorneys probably took half and needless to say you cannot retire on that sum left over it will probably last him 5 years at best. Windfall taxes will consume a large portion.
The only winner here is the IRS. The IRS loves these large settlements where no position of expenses can be shown, just like the lottery the IRS takes its chunk before you get paid.
God save us all from dimwits and lawyers.
When SawStop was introduced, I was working for an engineering firm which did accident investigations and expert witness work on products liability cases involving table saws. Here are some thoughts based on my experience there.
The tablesaw is the most versatile tool in the woodshop, and as a result, the most dangerous. Every tablesaw safety device except the SawStop device either limits the versatility of the saw in some way, or is defeated by one or more common modes of operation.
Because it can protect the user from blade contact injuries during all modes of operation, the Sawstop represents an excellent value for the safety-conscious woodworker (and perhaps an even greater value for the non-safety conscious!) It is, however, expensive, and therefore problematic for manufacturers in the competitive marketplace. putting the device on a current product amounts to an admission that all previous designs are dangerously defective; putting the device on only some models invites a similar comparison with non-equipped models. From a products liability standpoint, the manufacturers are damned if they do adopt the technology, damned if they don't.
I personnally anticipate that my next tablesaw purchase will incorporate the SawStop technology. For the time being, I will continue using my little Makita jobsite saw. When I purchased it used many years ago, the owner gave me the guard a couple of days after I purchased the saw. It still sits in my shed, having never been mounted on the saw, to my kowledge.
This award will only increase the current cost of manufacturing woodworking equipment,that I will have to pay for in the end. If the man wanted SawStop technology, he should have paid for it, not me. He, also, helped line the pocket of a bottom feeder layer.
When are we going to accept or own responsibility for what we do and not blame someone else.
I guess we are all idiots who can't be trusted to take care of ourselves. Those juries are the idiots. This is just like when Ford had to pay when a drunk ran into the back of a Pinto causing the gas tank to explode. If they put SawStop technology on all power saws how will we be able to move them let alone pay for them.
the stakes are high.will we be just installed in a nice little safe bubble.life is never going to be completely safe.the risks build character and purpose.when we loose these priceless attributes to our existence what is left.will i be allowed to chop my own celery without taking out an insurance policy for just such an act.this sound insane .it is .is a frog insane because he cannot tell how hot the water is??????
Not knowing the details, my first question is why the plaintiff purchased a saw without such technology, if it was important to him.
Whilst not denigrating SawStop (I think they have a wonderful product) as a radiographer, the majority tablesaw injuries I treated were the result of poor safety habits/training, frequently from an operator who was "in a hurry."
Most operators stated they they did not use a push stick, as it was not in the immediate vicinity of the saw (operator/safety error). The rest of the injuries, to the best of my recollection, were kickback type, on older saws not equipped with a riving knife.
I fail to see how a manufacturer can be held liable for injury resulting from a product purchased knowing it lacked the technology to stop the blade. This presumes that the unit had the usual safety instructions furnished at the time of sale.
When working with a table saw I remember one fomula. Saw blade size X 3.14 X table saw rmp X 60 divided by 12 divided by 5286 = the speed of the blade. It works out to between 102 mph for a cabinet saw to 110 mph for a portable saw. How careful was this guy around a blade travelling over 100 mph? I am sorry he had damage to his fingers, like cuttting them off which is a life altering event. Sorry about your fate, but did you think about the fact you can lose fingers in your chosen profession when you went to work that morning. If there was Darwin awards for guys like that I would be the first to nominate him.
It looks like another abuse of our legal system. Without hearing the whole lawsuit, it sounds like this guy should be sued for a lack of brains and/or judgement.
Anybody that buys a tablesaw should be aware of the danger of operating a device with razor sharp spinning blade. I know there is a risk everytime I operate a piece of machinery or tool, and I hope a lapse in judgement never causes me a serious injury. Would I blame the manufacturer? Even if they told me that thier saw would prevent serious injury as SawStop does, I would still be cautous when operating it.
I'm all for safety and protection of the worker. I even think many suits against manufacturers have merit and don't exist just to make lawyers rich. But I think the plaintiff should have sued God for not supplying a brain with this hands. The "flesh detecting" technology is fairly new. So did the plaintiff assume the saw he was working with had such technology? Dis he read the instructions that came with the saw? Had he any training in safely using power tools? The world has gone mad!
While the sawstop may stop you from cutting your fingers, but if the sawstop encourages you to get close to the saw blade there are many other ways to hurt yourself on the tablesaw. Some more dangerous than a cut finger. It's better to plan your cuts safely and use long push sticks and other devices to hold the piece properly along the fence.
It is a shame that the man was injured. However, to hold the manufacturer liable for what my have been negligent use by the operator or simply an act of God is not a good idea. Over the past four months I have been on a number of jobs and watched the safety practices of others and have found myself simply and quietly moving from the line of fire.
As a furniture maker first and cabinet maker second, I like many of my piers still have all ten digits. This is due to simply following the rules and safety procedures associated with each machine or tool. However the most important aspect is taking my time to do the job.Don't get rushed.
What we have here is the McDonalds coffee cup incident with a table saw. Again I hate to hear of someone being injured, but my chosen field is potentially very dangerous and that is a risk I/we all take and accept as part of our endevors. Short of a machined part failing I do not believe that the jury should have made the award. I hope the appeals process is used by the saw maker.
good wood says 55 years of operating woodworking machinery and i have all ten fingers. my father said you can tell a good cabinetmaker, he has all ten fingers, i still have all ten. guess thinking and being aware is all that is needed. my table saw has no splitter and i use no blade guards. still i have all ten. i'm selling my shop this spring, due to age. will retire with all ten.
my second comment for the night. in response to bayreau's thoughts on my first comment.i dont believe you will see anywhere advertised that ryobi has electronic finger saving technology on their saws.the award was given because they did not have this technology on their saws.tools are dangerous.if my saw has a blade guard and i stick my hand under it something bad will happen.if it is true that every company that makes tools has to make them accident proof we wont have any tools manufactured to use.1.was the sawblade on the ryobi new or even sharp?most flooring guys i know instal laminate floors which dull an ordinary sawblade instantly.2.was anyone under the impression that table saws are all safe?I'm not and never will be.If i buy a sawstop saw should i check to see if it works with my hand?had this guy ever used a table saw prior to this. my last thought is what if the saw had kicked back instead?if the peice caused damage to his stomach chest face or neck and caused injury who is to blame then.is ryobi at fault for not recomending you where a suit of armor to run their saw?
It's a weird sort of situation. If the man was injured on the job, it should have been a workman's comp case not a product liability case. Table saws are notoriously dangerous, and if a person doesn't know that, then that person shouldn't be allowed to use one.
I have worked in shops with machines that make table saws look like toys. They could kill or maim in a second. We were all aware of this and used as much care as we could. Even so I saw some truly gruesome injuries (one reason I quit working places like that). So far as I know, the manufacturers of these machines were not held liable, and should not have been.
Obviously, this was not the midwest. Up here, you can tear off an arm and you're lucky to get a band-aid much less 1.5 Million smackaroos.
I agree with Jigs. Employers are responsible for job site safety. That is why major corporations require safet training of their employees. Most smalled companies ignore this.
Carpentry is an inverently dangerous practice and any user must assume the responsibility for his own actions. If he is smart and cautious, he will incorporate reasonable safety actions. Now if the saw he was using was somehow physically defective and caused an accident, that is a different story. But just because someone invents a piece of safety equipment and a company makes a marketing decision not to install it on their product that does not make them passively responsible for this accident. It's like sueing Ford because they do not equip their passenger vehicles with the Hans device used in Nascar.
I think the judge was misguided here and this suit most probably will be appealed. That in no way lessens the value of saw stop. it is a great invention that will undoubtedly save extremities and lives. I am not fully familiar with it so I do not know what the frequencies of false tripping might be or the cost of putting the saw back into comission
Are you kidding me? How on earth can ANYONE blame a company for a person using their equipment for not using common sense? My grandfather had a table saw that he built his house with in the 50's, passed it to my Dad who passed it to me. No fancy safety technology, just good old common sense. I am now 52 and 3 generations have managed to never sustain any kind of injury using this saw. Do you suppose we were just lucky?
I am not a professional woodworker but gee, as a child I learned the lesson, "always know where your fingers are in realtion to the blade" (I must admit this seemed pretty obvious to me, even as a child).
I do feel sorry for anyone hurt by using any power tool but how can there be "justice" for someone whose skills and/or safety habits were not up to the task at hand.
I was just rearended in my car while stopped at a light by a vehicle much heavier than mine and my car was totalled. Maybe I should sue Toyota for not making my car out of Titanium such that it would have less destructively distributed the force of the impact, thereby not totalling my car.
The wrong entity was sued. The guy was using a saw provided by his employer. Employers are responsible for their safety decisions.
The employer made the decsion, to select a saw that had a less than ideal safety system. And, the employers is ultimatley responsible for the decision.
Ryobi's guards, while not state of the art, were upto industry standards.
I'm not sure how, Ryobi even got drug into this suit.
And, there currently isn't a single jobsite/portable saw, that does have the "flesh sensing" brake. And due to cost concerns, there probably won't be one anytime soon.
Yes Dr. Tom, but all lawyers cannot work probono, that is slavery. Instead lawyers take a gamble. They either work for free or they get their 4 years of legal fees paid for. How much is that worth in the medical profession? The gamble had merit because of what the insurance company found.
This is a case of some kind of insurance fraud and manufacturer malpractice. If a doctor makes a mistake doctors have malpractice insurance. If a lawyer makes a mistake they have malpractice insurance. If a Realtor makes a mistake they have malpractice insurance. It is merely a business expense.
Another flaw here is international companies that do not have malpractice insurance. What of Ryobi's commitment here? Why do they not have instituted a claims service for things like this. Because they do not have to. Again why the large payout and you are right the attorneys will probably get 35 to 50%. But again what are professional services worth for 4 years?
I'm sorry, but this award was just wrong! The plaintif knew or should have known that the saw he was using didn't have the technology built into it to protect him if he was dumb enough to put his hand where it shouldn't have been. Juries don't seem to care when it is someone else's money that they feel perfectly entitled give away. I can't believe the stupidity of this kind of thinking. Safety devices are great, but not everyone can afford the technology that is required to for that level of safety. Naturally, the maker of the safety device thinks that every saw should have it, it will make him richer.
Ryobi was lucky the lawsuit was not on the west coast or the award would probably be ten times that amount. I can' say that Boston awards are much better than the west coast. The guy probably cut himself on purpose, what's the cost of a finger or two compared to $1.5 million. My wife wanted me to buy the Saw Stop and I bought a Delta instead, so I am extra careful but if I get cut, it will be my stupidity, not Delta's.
Timothy Patrick, Of course you did not sue, Estwing did not make a claim on their hammer they did not live up to. A hammer has no moving parts and at most two subassmblies. A table saw has many moving parts and many subassemblies. An equivalence would be a router that is safe to use with this certain guard in place. The guard was in place and injured someone. That is what this case was about Ryobi's flagrant regard for workplace safety where time is money and fast decisions are made very second and safety has to be in place at the highest bar attainable. Ryobi failed.
The problem whit this case is very simple. Carlos while at work almost cut his hand off while flooring a home. His medical bills came to over $300,000, and workman's comp in Massachusetts has a $250,000 limit. That is one flaw. Second issue was who was to pay the excess amounts of the medical bills. And what of Carlos's pain and suffering? Because Ryobi took 4 years of bad faith negotiations the insurance company pursued it for Carlos because he did not have any money to do so. The jury awarded punitive damages to this arrogant company who made some kind of claim of safety that failed. We do not know what that is, the the flesh detectors is merely a point of argument not the insurance companies basis for this suit.
I think some of the most negative comments are coming from Ryobi representatives, or business owners afraid of what this means to them. A rational reasonable person can easily see from all of the facts of this case it all adds up to the jury correctly awarding Carlos his claim plus punitive damages to a company that took 4 years to come to this. They must have thought they would prevail The fools here are Ryobi. That does not mean they make a bad table saw. This is merely about corporate policy towards what they say verses what they do.
this is another example of pure greed,from the injured,the ambulance chasers(sorry lawers)and the manufacturers,with the sums involved is it any wonder people pursue a claim,all this will do is increase insurance premiums and table saw prices,to the guys who commented blaming the american litigious society,youre not on your own in britain things are just as bad with people chasing a free buck(pound).Health and safety has gone mad over here with jobsworths telling you what you can and cant do,some schools dont have sports anymore because its too traumatic for children to lose sorry about the rant but it really does beggar belief PETER
Seems to me he wasn't paying attention to his work. All of us who work with woodworking machinery have known, will know, or will learn. some of us more quickly than others.
this guy didnt learn quickly enough.
I feel sorry for anyone who is hurt with this equipment, but it seems to me if he were so conserned with his safety he would have gotten one of the new soft tissue guards.
Just my 2 cents worth.
Seeing the number of comments alraady posted, I don't expect many will read this one, but here it goes.
The root cause of this problem, in my view, is he contingency fee system, in which the lawyer charges no fee unless the suit is successful, but then charges 1/3 of the take (In the case in point that would be a fee of 1/2 million.) As a physician, I have seen this system close up. The injured person ventures nothing, but in the end recieves much less than the verdict.
The trial lawyer associations fight to keep this system. This is how John Edwards made his millions.
Our legsilators get large contibutions from the lawyers groups. Nuff said.
Sorry to be cold hearted towards this guy for his injury but I dont care what happened to him. This is just another example of no one being responsible for their actions. i believe this is an ongoing problem in this world.When i cut my forehead open and got a few stitches when i was twenty framing a house i didn t sue estwing for having hard heads made of dangerous steel on their hammers.maybe this is the same guy who sued mcdonalds years ago for having dangerous hot coffee in their cups.looks like he wont have to work hard and earn any money for the rest of his life.maybe he never did.
Stupid, stupid, stupid. You can't fix it. The whole damn world is getting more stupid everyday because of greed and lawyers. I wish the US and here in Canada, we would pass some laws limiting the liability in these cases as well as enacting legislation to install safety measures. Not that everyone would use them but again, the responsibility would remain with the idiot that cut his hands. And before anyone jumps on me I also have table saw scars but I didn't even think of blaming anyone else. My choice to buy the saw, my choice to operate it, my risk all the way around. It was a Sears product and I wasn't long moving that out the door in favour of a General.
In the Province where I live we have a limit of $2,500 for soft tissue damage as a result of car accidents. Many lawyers had to change their business when that came in several years ago. Good thing too. At least the insurance companies can still afford to operate and offer us reasonably priced policies.
ok so next we will people protectors where you can't run j-walkers with cars or drunk drivers. Or have door locks on vehicles that will not allow you to go outside when the weather is too bad. Or have cell phones who think " do you really need to make that call" Law suits are out of hand, people have to learn to be responsible for there own actions when working with tools. How would this look fifty years ago.
Man sues Stanley because plane cuts fingers and got $ 12.00 for this trouble. Come on people, wake up ...
Curtis M Tennessee
At 1st I thought that this was another eg. of american lawyers being sue happy and thus this will pave the way for increased prices on an already expensive hobby.
BUT... I then followed the story through the thread of this article and found out the greed really belongs to the tool manufactures who were offered this technology at a premium low price.... they arrogantly poohooed this and then set out to destroy the man who was putting them to shame for not being responsible for the safety of their machines... at whose expense ? 6000 table saw accidents a year with a # of amputations and $ 100,000. 's of dollars of health care at know cost to them. Big business just got caught, and I am damn glad they have to pay. By the way the lawsuit only asked for @ $ 300,000. but they were awarded the larger payment. And you will also see that Ryobi was going to enter into this technology but backed out. That sounds to me like them having the power to help and not being good samaritan enough to care for their customers well being. Glad this forced accountability happened. Because " we,re mad as hell and we are not going to take it anymore"!!!!!!
There is a lesson to be learned here: If you get hurt using power tools, you better be a lawyer and not a contractor.
"restorick writes: @BayREAU - pure rubbish. Are you trying to tell me that this guy had no clue that a Ryobi table saw didn't have "flesh detectors"?"
What is pure rubbish that David slayed Goliath? The issue here was fraud in this case. Something Ryobi made a claim about and did not live up to that claim. The red hearing in this whole case is the "flesh detectors" and was only used in this case as a paradigm of arrogance at the company that "Safety is boring". That is what this case is about not that this guy knew nothing about the detectors. Again a red herring, this issue here was Ryobi committed fraud, the insurance company found that out and when they sued in Mr. Orsorio's behalf (notice that nuance) the jury found Ryobi guilty and awarded punitive damages to Mr. Orsorio. This actually is a fairly normal practice. It would have done Ryobi well to negotiate a settlement. I am sure Mr. Osorio would have been satisfied with getting his medical bills paid for. Notice $250,000 limit from workman's comp yet the medical bills came to $350,000. Where was that supposed to come out of? His own pockets? Not in the world I live in. Workman's comp claims happen all the time when injuries happen on hte job. If the insurance company smells a rat they pursue it. That is all that happened here this has nothing to do with the "flesh detectors" actually but some fraud Ryobi committed. What that fraud is I have no idea but the jury does.
The reason the jury awarded what they did is because of the bad faith Ryobi practiced in this 4 year old case. That is how our system works now tell me why Ryobi never ever negotiated with the plaintiff? I know why their arrogance that they never do wrong is why. Corporations do wrong every day.
So what rubbish do you refer to? Your red hearing is what is rubbish as you are taking a fact in this case completely out of context.
Welcome to the age of non self-responsibility! We can blame every single poorly made decision we make on someone else thanks to lawyers successfully manipulating juries. I once heard about a man who sued someone for "breaking wind" while in an elevator. He successfully got a judgment claimed against the defendant for pain and suffering and intentionally inflicting bodily harm (breathing problems, nausea, watering eyes).
While I understand and agree with the need to be responsible, mistakes and poor judgment do happen. I work at a high school and we are considering a new table saw, I can’t imagine how any company or shop could justify anything but a SawStop saw today.
As for the government getting involved, it is sad, but one has only to look at the auto industry to see how safety design and equipment had to ultimately be mandated before it became commonplace in today’s cars. Everything from seatbelts to airbags were legislated before they became available to all.
With all the potential for injuries and the subsequent law suits, why has the industry not stepped up to provide the protection technology that is now available to their new equipment?
Perhaps soon the economy of scale will work in our favor, either because of government mandates or when a company gives us the option of purchasing a saw with the new safety features or one without them, but with an added insurance surcharge that costs that same as the safer model. Yes the addition of the SawStop safety features will increase price, but it will be worth it and if it gets applied to all new saws the additional cost will be affordable
Having said all that, I have to admit to rebuilding an old Unisaw to use until I can afford a SawStop of my own.
It is unfortunate for a man to lose his fingers. What's more unfortunate is that he probably only recieved a small fraction of the awarded damages.
I agree with all of the others about personal responsibility. Did the man have proper training on how to use the saw, did he have all the safety features of the saw in place?
I applaud the invention and safety of the saw-stop system. If it had been around when I purchased my table saw, I would have probably purchased it. But since I have a pre-2006 table saw, I am not sure of the financial implications of replacing it, nor am I sure of the ethics of passing off such an "unsafe" beast to another. Is their an economical refit?
So, is this a case of David vs Goliath, no. Is this a case of the Government stepping in where it shouldn't, No. Is this a case of "unsafe at any kerf thickness", NO. What it is is a case of pure greed. Follow the money trail and tell me who made out with the money: hint,it isn't the man with the missing digits.
In the mean time, I still use my "unsafe" table saw. I use it when I am alert, and attentive to what I am doing. I keep my blades well sharpened (god I love them Forrest blades). I keep my table-saw well tuned. And though I don't have the blade guard installed on a regular basis, I still have all my digits, and I don't blame anyone but myself when I get hurt.
Unbelievable! I'm thinking, "there must be more to this lawsuit". There is no law that requires Ryobi to have flesh detectors on-board tablesaws! How could he have won this case?? I dont get it. I'm sure the guy who cut his hand is not the 1st to sue a saw manufacturer. What happened in all the previous cases? Judges are big on precedent right? The judge in this case is setting an unbelieveably unfair precedent against saw manufacturers that we will all have to pay for in our next, Sawstop-equipped saw.
I would like to say to Carlos that I am sorry for his injuries, and hope he is doing better and can continue woodworking.
I own a portable Ryobi table saw; not the model shown in the photo, but the model previous, and I love it. It is lightweight, portable and easy to use, I can see why someone in the flooring business would own onwn one. I also own a very old 10" craftsman table saw that was my Grandfather's. It has no riving knife, splitter or blade guard of any kind. My grandfather used this saw for most of his life, and never so much as knicked himself.
Safety is a very important issue to all of us woodworkers, and I do not mean to belittle it or the importantce of it, but for 26 years Norm Abram fired up his Unisaw and he has all fingers and toes. Countless others before us have used equipment that was "unsafe" without injury.
SawStop makes a great product, but also an expensive product, and not everyone can afford such safety. I am enclined to believe that if Mr. Gass was more about keeping woodworkers safe than making a few dollars (my opinion), then there would be a retrofit for any model table saw available. In fact, Skill has come out with a new saw made just for flooring, and is worth checking out.
Bottom line is that accidents happen. I nearly lost my left thumb to my table saw, but I didn't file a suit with Ryobi, it was my own fault for not using the splitter and blade guard. Had that equipment been properly installed, I would not have injured myself.
Instead of suing a company for not developing it's own technology (as I'm sure that SawStop's safety mechanism it a patented technology) how about we all use a bit of common sense when going into the shop. Keep the radio off, don't wear loose fitting clothing, and focus on the cut at hand. Since my accident I always ask myself is the cut I am about to make is safe, and if I can keep the safety equipment that came with my saw attached, if not I choose a different method.
It shouldn't have taken me almost loosing a finger to practice safety though, I should have already been doing that on my own.
That is the problem with this country, no one is willing to take respossibility for thier own actions. And the sue me mentality of this country does not help.
System needs to be set up as it is in Europe.
Also I think tort lawyers are one step below a politician, and you can't get much lower.
So, when I get a splinter from the wood I'm using, can I sue the wood supplier for $1.5 mil? He had the option of purchasing a saw with the tech, but like a lot of us, we didn't and took a conscience risk of a saw without the tech. Personel responsibility, I'm sure the saw didn't have a guard in place also.
@BayREAU - pure rubbish. Are you trying to tell me that this guy had no clue that a Ryobi table saw didn't have "flesh detectors"?
He had options here. He could have purchased a hand saw, but then it would have been less accurate and taken more time to get the job done.
He could have decided to become a plumber too, and not have to worry about sharp whirly things without "flesh detectors".
He could have used his brain and figured out that either the cut was too dangerous or that he was out of his league.
Where the hell is common sense anymore? Oh wait, the trial was in Boston, right? Nevermind...
So in your world of unfair, the manufacturers are never wrong? What do you do then when they are? I am one not to trust a company like some here if not most advocate. It is this process where fraud has been committed that punitive damages serve as the only weapon against these companies who desire the status quo for the almighty dollar. It is the weapon of the almighty dollar that gets their attention nothing else does.
So in your unfair world how do you suppose this should be dealt with.
More regulation? We all got rid of that under Ronald Reagan.
Better insurance? This was a workplace injury, personal health care has nothing to do with this.
Nice letters to the manufacturers? The egos in their engineering departments could care less what any consumer has to say.
So please tell me how do we get the attention of a manufacturer where the status quo of safety is ignored where only you professional are able to work. Sounds pretty unfair already.
I guess it's time to buy stock in Saw stop.
I'm 60 years young and have lived most my life without the "protection" of the government at every turn. I told my wife once that I was embarrased being part of the human race because it consisted of some of the dumbest creatures on earth. Where does personal responsibility come into our lives. I've been using table saws since I was 8 years old and so far my only injury was a small sliver. Why, because my dad, shop teacher, friends, etc. all spoke the the importance of using my brain and being careful. This guy used his brain to steal money and to make quality saws more expensive in the future so more people will be unable to afford qaulity equipement.
Over the years I've seen stupid lawsuits, the man who sued Swhinn because they didn't tell him it is dangerous to ride a bike in the dark without reflectors, the lady who sued McDonalds because they didn't warn her coffee is hot, and many more. Being a biker I didn't need to be told wearing leathers and a helmet were important for safety. I hate to see safety forced on us, because it takes away our freedom.
Instead of giving a few people millions of dollars because they are stupid, it would be better to use that money to educate our youth on how to live free and still being safe. Either that or ban sports, hiking, camping, mountain climbing, and have specially trained people to hold our hands when we cross the street, test the temperature of our foods, pad all our rooms, get the picture.
Lawsuits and those who can't tie there own shoes are going to ruin our freedoms. Don't laugh it is already happening think of the things we use to do as kids which kids today are not allowed to do.
Sorry about the rant. I would buy that flesh detector if I could afford it but for now I'll use my brain and just be careful and use the dozens safety practices I have been taught.
Carlos Osorio CHOSE to purchase a saw without the technology or he CHOSE not to upgrade his saw to one with that technology. The CHOICE was his in either case.
He also lacked the shop awareness that is essential to safe woodworking. The mantra that needs to be observed always is this: "The woodworker's mind must be the sharpest tool in the shop."
A sickening liberal judgement that enables poor behavior with an award. Sad, sad, sad.
Just another example of our litigeous society thinking it can legislate stupidity or bad luck out of the system. What's that phrase again? "Woodoworking is inherantly dangerous...?"
The employer should be teaching safe practices on the job, or if financially able, provide the safest equipment made, true. But the employer won't get sued because its bad PR and legal strategy to put a small business out of business miss Ryobi's the deeper pockets. Instead, some moron personal injury lawyer is going to get 500K in contingency fees and the dope who stuck his fingers in harm's way can use his other hand to pull a slot machine at some resort for the rest of his life.
A better resolution would be for Ryobi to have spent much less than the judgement amount on an instructional safety DVD, marking a "no hands zone" on the table, and including push sticks in the package. Then the operator error or a bad break in the materials would come to the front in lieu of forcing Ryobi to license "flesh sensing technology."
Not a fan of Ryobi here, they make cheap stuff and like another poster said, if you want to bet your body parts, go ahead, but it's unfair to make a company responsible for poor judgement on the part of the user, either in operation or selection of equipment.
first of all woodworking is very dangerous and you do not have universal health care in the U.S.A. and you should read and understand the instructions for all power tools saying this when my dad started his apprentiship a man accidently cut off one of his fingers and all of the apprentices had march in pass the finger as a warning of what can happen if you are not paying attention to what you are doing. the other thing is that vovol hold the pantents for seat belts and they do'nt enforce a licening fee from all motor manufacters so may be safty devices should be free to all ????
Be it as it may, accidents happen, that's why they are called accidents. We live in a society that does not take responsibility for it's own actions and will always try to shift the blame for their own faults on someone or something else.
Saw Stop technology is available at a price. If you choose not to pay for it then YOU, not someone else assumes the consequences. Safety devices are no substitute for lack of skill or just plain being careless. The question that was not asked was this: Did the tablesaw move across the hand or did the hand move across the saw. If the hand moved across the saw, the fault clearly lies with the dumb ass that was recently attached to that hand. Please don't take this the wrong way, I am truly sorry to hear that a terrible accident like this should happen to anyone. That very thought goes through my mind each and every time I use my tablesaw. I use every precausion in setting up my cuts, every time and knock on wood (no pun intended)I still have all my fingers to show for it.
The next table saw I buy will be a SawStop, not because I'm careless but because accidents do happen. I have also grown very attached to my fingers as I have had them for 58 years.
My best wishes go out to the poor sole who was injured in this terrible accident.
I appears that the Nanny State is alive and well in the US and personal responsibility has been replaced by the government.
Not in-spite what ElaineP says, rather the facts of this case bear witness. That being said, in this economy where this guy was lucky to have his job, and most feel that way, they are not in a position to question authority, in this case his boss. His boss probably said I want this job done fast so fast he worked and chopped off his hand in the process. So the real deal in this litigation, as ElaineP clearly points out, is the insurance company. This guy wanted only his workman's comp claim paid, the insurance company wanted the money back from Ryobi. A jury rightly found guilt with a machine manufacturer that did not build a safe operating machine and the insurance companies lawyer's prevailed. The winner of course the worker who was injured. It is not his fault Ryobi lost. It is Ryobi's.
People here should be happy someone is sticking up for the little guy. You all are basically calling him names and thinking he is stupid. Ryobi is the stupid one here and a jury litigated by an insurance company found for the plaintiff. This will not prevail in appeal because insurance lawyers are smart and know what they are doing, where no technical detail was missed. The case must have been fraud and in fraud yes punitive damages were awarded to the tune of $1.5 million. Why? This serves as the only method to deal with the behemoth corporations when they do not live up to their standards of care.
As far as the coffee incident. Lets get that one straight. A women bought coffee at McD's that was boiled. It was over temp because McD's failed to train and have equipment that any person smart or dumb can run to make perfect temp coffee all the time. That is not at 200+° F. The similarities are here however a large company sued by David, where David the little guy one. You should all be praising this guy, but for some strange reason you do not.
I will say it now: Thanks to the insurance company, Ryobi will be forced to build safer machines. Ryobi is not the only manufacturer and I can say there are others that have already put into place safety measure that yes you can defeat and I am sure you woodworking experts do. And yes the punitive damages are correct like it or not.
The only ridiculous defense thus far is Dan Brown's "Twinky defense" for why he killed Harvey Milk. Fortunately that one did not stand. This was proper for Mr Orsorio to prevail with a much bigger award. Sounds to me this also could have been avoided had workman's comp in Mr. Orsorio's state kept up with the times. Prosthetic hands are very expansive and what of his pain and suffering. Sorry the responsibility obviously is with Ryobi. Why so many here do not see that is a mystery to me.
Whats next - a hammer that will not hit your thumb?
I've had just about enough of these stupid lawsuit and enough of the bureaucrats and ignorant jury awards. Remember the multi-million dollar award for serving hot coffee that the plaintiff spilled on herself?
Come on folks - if you want a saw stop, then by all means buy one, but we should not be faced to spend many hundreds of dollars on a product we don't want. Just another bureaucratic fix for a non-existant non-problem.
If Mr. Osorio was uneducated in the proper use of the tool then he should pay the price for his loss, the rest of the world should not be penalized for his negligence. I think the Jury was stupid to award any amount, and I guess you just can not fix stupid.
In spite of the points that ElaineP brought out, it still seems to me that there is a basic problem with this whole case. First of all, was a saw with the "flesh detecting" capability available when the saw was purchased? Did the worker feel unsafe working with the saw that was furnished? Did he even attempt to express any feelings of lack of safety to his employer? Somewhere along the line a person has to take some responsibility for his own action or lack of action. Too often we want to "pass the buck" and put the blame on someone/anyone else besides ourselves for what happens or fails to happen. Personally, it seems to me that juries tend to feel like they should give the plaintiff a huge amount of money since the company who is the defendant is a corporation with deep pockets. Nobody stops to realize that that huge cost gets passed on to us all in one way or the other. Huge jury awards went a long way toward wreaking havoc among the general aircraft manufacturers a number of years ago. Hopefully, this American habit of suing everybody over everything will change soon, but I doubt it.
The passion of posters to speak out against what they dislike, coupled with the ease with which one can give an opinion on the internet, makes posting off-the-cuff responses tremendously satisfying, however the ignorance displayed in many of these comments is inexcusable.
A quick glance at the linked OregonLive article reveals the true nature of the accident, as well as the lawsuit. Mr. Osorio was working at the time of the incident, and filed a worker's compensation claim, as any of you might. His insurance company, wanting to recoup their losses, had one of their lawyers sue Ryobi, on behalf of Mr. Osorio (would it have made more sense to sue the employer that bought the saw in the first place? Sure, but the whole point of worker's comp is to exclude that possibility). The insurance company originally sought $250 000 (less than the total amount of the man's medical bills), however the jury chose to award Mr. Osorio $1.5 million instead.
The key issue, and what many posters are up in arms over, is the erroneous idea that Mr. Osorio chose the cheaper Ryobi over the more expensive SawStop. I would hazard to guess that most employees don't have the luxury of demanding that their bosses purchase top of the line safety equipment... unless it's mandated by law.
Health and safety legislation seeks to protect the people who don't get to choose which machines they work on.
Certainly, I'd rather work for someone who, having the freedom to choose, chose safety first, however, my second choice would be working for someone who didn't have the freedom to be myopically greedy.
I can understand a home hobbyist, or one man shop wanting the freedom to gamble between spending a few grand extra up front on an awesome saw, or the possibility of spending over 100 times that in medical bills and lost wages in the future. Personally, I'm not a gambler, but, hey, it's your body you're betting.
But what if you're not the only person using the saw? If you were holding the pursestrings for your company, and had the safety of your employees to consider, would you change your bet? If you're a hobbyist, what if your spouse or children also used the saw? If your sons or daughters were training/looking for work, would you want their school/employer to take that bet on their bodies?
If this case doesn't bring about laws for 'flesh detection technology', my hope is that it will at least increase insurance premiums for companies who choose to gamble a thousand dollars against flesh & blood, forcing them to consider the safety of their employees first and foremost.
Safety devices will never replace safe practices. The table saw is the "Most Dangerous Tool" only because it is usually the first major power tool that home owners buy.
The Saw Stop is an expensive gimmic. Users will tend to be more careless, thinking they are safe.
Proper Training is the answer. Blaming manufactures and awarding money to Dummies is not.
In response to a question that was posed to me. Yes, I am in favor of government controlled safetly regulations because frankly, I trust a system of government where I have a choice who I elect to be representing my best interest over a corporation who's best interest is the most money they can stuff in their pockets or a jury of my piers who no nothing about tools or safety. Toyota's recall is monitored by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commision. Why would I not want my government to keep tabs on companies making faulty products? A lot of readers here are so suspicious of their government that they will trust a for-profit corporation to make a product that claims to work properly based on sales and reputation??? That's like walking into a herd of alligators and asking for directions to the nearest restaurant! Before I piss almost everyone off :), let me say that I respect everyone's opinions here. This type of subject stirs a lot of emotions with people - granted. It is important to look at this rationally. The issue of the guy loosing his hand is actually different than the issue of whether or not Ryobi is guilty of negligence in producing a product that is sold as advertised. Good readers here are angry at the 'victim', the legal system, the money, the goverment, Sawstop, Ryobi etc. and it's hard separating one issue from another. I've been brought up from blue colar stock and know that common sense and good judgement are the best tools a tradesman can have. But - do I know if one little plastic bit that should have been made of steel will eventually wear out and cause a malfunction in a tool (or car) - impossible and I don't want to be the guy who finds out the hard way. To make matters worse, a company that 40 years ago made a quality product is not the same company with the same values today - that type of reputation should not be trusted with your life. If you are critical of your government (as you should be) you should be equally critical of the corporations that are making profits from you and "your" mistakes. Case in point, there is an advertisement to sell a book for "Power Tools Basics - get better results from your tools" right under the article. Was the whole point of this article to sell me a book? Thanks Taunton.
The SawStop guys had better get lawyered up. The first time smebody hurts himself with one of thier products, they will be sued. Maybe the guy who called 911 from his "out of control" Prius will take up woodworking.
I am a professional expert who spends his life working on cases like this one, you need to appreciate a few things.
1) Media's understanding of any case they cover is horrible at best, criminal at worse. Can not tell you how many times I have read the press's version of case (that I have worked on for a year) and wonder if they were even in the right courtroom.
2) The Boston Globe article gave zero facts on the case. We have no idea what happened, but 12 people in a jury box do, and they awarded the money
3) The argument that there are NO "safety" devices on this machine, but you knew that when you purchased the machine rarely works in front of a jury.
4) Ryobi was in a position to make this device safer yet choose not too. why? Money. That never plays well in front of a jury.
5) Cars we drive have so many safety features that saves lives everyday, you think the car industry would put most of those in if were not worried about lawsuits? no. (seat belts, safety glass, airbags,etc) were all forced on the industry, and that is because of litigation.
Although I work mostly on defense, I realize that fear of litigation has made machines we work with safer and allow most of us to enjoy wood working without injury. In a few years all table saw being sold will have a safety device preventing serious injury, and that will be a good thing.
This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. It should be enough for manufacturers to put big red warnings on their equipment. I took college classes in woodworking and they make it very clear you can get hurt or even killed by improper use of machines or tools in woodworking. Anyone who can't figure that out when that blade starts up shouldn't be using the equipment. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to make a person get out of the way around a chain saw, why should any of the other tools need expensive safety factors built in. The guy didn't research his products well enough. Someone should counter sue him for his ignorance. Table saws ARE one of the biggest injury offenders, but a large warning should be good enough, not a remake of the product. People are too eager to make their money through lawsuits instead of brains.
I don't like this because I don't want to pay for something I don't feel I need. I'm glad that my 12" table saw will outlive me. I have shop made inserts with anti-kickback pins but no riving knife, etc. I was hurt by a kickback years ago and my respect/fear for the saw was established then and is just as strong now.
All the shops I've been in have had the safety equipment taken off, too.
But this will be like air bags. Air bags are not needed if the driver/passengers have their seatbelts on. But we all have to buy them because they were mandated. My daughter had a fender bender that deployed the air bags. She had on her seatbelt and was unhurt but her older car was totaled because of the cost of replacing the bags.
Hopefully, table saws will be offered with Saw Stop as an option and if you don't buy the option, you can't sue.
I'm an attorney and I can say this sounds like an error, predicated on the legal theory that the manufacturer knew or should have known that the lack of known and available Sawstop technology was likely to lead to serious injury. I think this is unfortunate, as the effect of such awards is to make manufacture of table saws without the technology non-viable as a business model, and this will result in a substantial increase in the cost of table saws, when most woodworkers can't afford a saw with the safety technology. The user assumed the risk. He could have bought a Sawstop, but instead reasonably chose a rickier but far more cost effective option, and then was unfortunately injured.
And by the way, I don't whant to pay 300$-500$ more for a table saw that's stupid proof for cutting fingers!!!!! I can cut without it.
Who's stupid here? The guy who injured himself,or the judge with no judgement who was convinced by the attorneys?
Also, an accident is an accident. Wathever you do to prevent-it, it will show up in another angle and hit you.
And for the injured guy, I guess his kids were accidents too because it looks like he's the kind of person to always blame everyone or everything except himself.
...Why not sue the bladesaw manufacturer, that's the piece who cut his finger bla bla bla...
Folks, law suits such as this will continue as long as there is no responsible legislation enacted to prevent this type of law suit suit. I have had more experience with this type suit than I would wish on anyone.I was vice president of a lawnmower manufacturing firm for several years and spent a lot of time giving depositions and testifying in liability suits brought against the company. Our moweres were state of the art, met all safety specifications promulgated on lawnmowers, met all specifications agreed on by the Out Power Institute of America and our quality controll was beyond reproach.
We knew every year that someone would bring suit against us. We never lost a case. We were able to prove in every instance that the injury was caused by the operator and not the machine. All were frivilous suits.
One case involved a father running over his small daughter's foot and amputating her toes. He admitted in court that he was letting the child sit on ths top of the motor of the mower while was cutting grass with a walk behind push mower. In another case, the plaintiff severed toes while pulling his mower backwards up hill, after downing a six pack
of beer. He lost.
These are just two examples of people hoping to make mega bucks because of their failure to use common sense and follow safety rules and , of course, the ambulance chasers thrive on this.
If you need this technology, then pay for it. If you hurt yourself with a saw, its meant to cut and the user is assumed to be smart enough to realize the hazard. I have cut myself with a saw in the past, but was willing to take responsibility for my own actions and learned.
If you need this technology, then pay for it. If you hurt yourself with a saw, its meant to cut and the user is assumed to be smart enough to realize the hazard
Manufacturers do not object to the cost of the Saw Stop but the cost of re tooling their production line to accommodate the installation of the unit. As usual this will prove to be shortsighted once the plaintiff bar assembles a large class action suit against the table saw industry. Unfortunately the members of the class will get the pennies while the attorneys will inherit the bounty.
Woodworkers need to thing "what if" prior to using any of the many potentially dangerous tools in our shops.
I guess this has probably been said 100 times today but I will say it again: When are people going to take responsibility for their own stupidity? Saws are made to cut, they can be dangerous. You have to be careful. You have to think when you use one. I find this law suit really frustrating.
Because some pinhead about 15 yrs ago spilled coffee all over her lap, I cannot get a hot cup of coffee today.
I guess we'll be getting saws with some kind of useless plastic "safe blade" next. Or the Saw Stop--which I read will up the price of all saws $200 or $300. You and I and all responsible wood-workers will all bear the cost of a small number of careless users. (Hopefully it won't come to that..).
Someone here referenced the use of seatbelts, airbags etc I guess as a comparison to this saw accident. That is total baloney. The difference is this: seatbelts, airbags, etc almost always provide protection to the sensible, responsible and careful drivers from the IDIOTS who are on the road who are irresponsible and careless which is totally different scenario from one person, in a garage, using his table-saw.
The only thing Mr Osorio needs protection from is himself.
So, I have a saw very much like this and tore into two fingers last fall. One is now shorter than it should be and the feeling is just now returning to the tips. My thoughts as one who has been bitten:
1. Sharp, spinning things must be respected at all times
2. Mistakes happen and with table saws, mistakes happen FAST
3. A SawStop would have prevented an ER visit and much pain
4. I would have (and would still) retrofit my saw with this technology
5. How can Ryobi be responsible for operator error? Rather like blaming Ford for an accident caused by falling asleep.
My doc said "get a SawStop" and it IS amazing technology but the price is way outside my budget.
I can see where this is all going to go...eventually all people will have to be kept in an impenetrable box at all times to prevent exposure to anything and everything! I think it's safe to say if a lawyer smells a lawsuit, they'll file one. Do they ever really care about anything other than making a buck? Ryobi should counter sue for improper use of the saw! The only time a saw will hurt you is if you are using it improperly or carelessly, although, yes, there can be an occasional manufacturer defect. I think there are far too many people that need protection from themselves. I mean really, for example, is someone so stupid they have to be warned not to use a hairdryer while bathing??!! Have human beings become so dumb they can't use common sense anymore?
I say that he should give the money back.
Or the Jury needs to have their heads examined.
It is your choice what equipment that you use. If you are using equipment without certain safety features, then you assume the risk!!!!!! It is not the saws fault that you did something stupid.
It is not the responsibility of the manufacturer to make sure that you know how to use it either. Do car companies make sure that you can drive safe, before you make the purchase, how about gun manufacturers? Do they make sure that you know how to shoot straight?
This is another bogus lawsuit that only serves to drive up the cost of insurance and equipment costs.
If you do not know how to use it properly....stay away from it!!!!
I would like more information on the SawStop technology. Is it available after-market? Can it be added to any table saw? If it is something that can be added by a user, not the manufacturer, it seems to me it is the responsibility of the individual to either take advantage of it or not. Otherwise, I would agree with the writer above - you get what you pay for - including the risk! if you don't pay for the safety features. But I'm glad riving knives are standard and hopefully the brake will be someday too. I like my fingers.
surfsidebill, you make a reasonable argument for some responsibility of the manufacturer. None of us knows the details, but here's some food for thought:
- If you would have paid the additional price, have you purchased one directly from sawstop.com for your own table saw?
- Has there been a lobby (is 'initiative' the right legal term?) to pass a law requiring the safety stop for every table saw? (I'm not fond of legislation through the judicial system.)
- Was there a failure of the tool to work as designed, and does that design meet all industry and government safety standards? (If the power switched failed frequently and the company did nothing to fix or communicate that problem, for instance, I would expect someone to win a lawsuit.)
- Have other saw-makers been sued for the same issue? (sounds like they have, which might indicate a changing 'industry standard')
- Should it be illegal to sell a saw without this safety mechanism, or should it be illegal to operate a saw without this safety mechanism?
- Has the injury frequency been higher with this model than others? (If so, maybe the safety issue is not the flesh-sensor.)
- (I think) Suits such as this are what brought us safety belts, air bags, better brake lights, and many other safety devices as standard elements of the car. Is it a bad thing that the same process is changing (or might change) this industry?
I'm not sure my own opinion on all of these questions. I generally do agree with our legal system (no system is perfect), and if the jury or trial was biased, then likely that will be identified in the appeal process.
After reading more about the trial material, and finding out that Ryobi refused to license EVEN THOUGH the added cost is something I would have paid (a few hundred dollars), I have the feeling that my first reaction (that this is another outrageous lawyer case) would yield to a second rethinking and end up finding Ryobi guilty, and wanting to award some level of damages.
I know the argument is that lawyers are overrunning us, yada yada yada. But now this is sounding more like seat belts and helmets on motor cyclists. The question is, if there's a reasonable technology available which could make an unsafe and dangerous tool into something tame and a company declines to use it, EVEN THOUGH the added cost would have been reasonable, do they have any responsibility?
I think the answer is yes, and i think if I had been on the jury I would have voted for it. This must have been a very convincing case.
I THINK AMERICANS ARE GOING TO SUE THEMSELVES BACK TO THE STONE AGE . WHEN ARE PEOPLE GOING TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN ACTIONS.
I just borrowed my friend's table saw and you won't believe what happened. It took a perfectly nice (and expensive) Mahogany board and cut it in half. That normally isn't a problem, but in this case, it cut one half 2" too long and the other half 2" too short!
Anyone know who I can sue for the price of a mahogany board and the mental anguish that goes along with mismatched board lengths?
Personal responsibility is for your own actions. I agree with the notion that everyone should be on the same playing field. That simply is not the case and why I always council be careful what you say to whom and what you do to whom. Touch someone to swish away a bee you might get sued. Your intent is to swish away the bee. The person you are doing that to may be paranoid and just out of rehab. You have to abide yourself correctly as none of us are equal. Ryobi being the manufacturer failed to abide by any measure and is liable. Does that mean they have to install these measures to keep fingers safe? Absolutely if they exist and they do exist, but the manufacturer chose not to include them as an option. The government is not going to tell you you have to have this but it is in the manufacturers best interest to include it as an option. Ryobi failed to do that.
This saw is underpowered to be cutting up oak all day an all night to install a floor. Safety of a tool is also keeping your hands away from the cutting device. Maybe the guy wore gloves and got his hand sucked in. Again if we are not correctly trained we will injure ourselves, it is simply a matter of time. If a manufacturer understands that and does nothing to mitigate, they are liable. And having page after page of reading material is not the way to keep these kinds of accidents from happening. That is merely disclosure. A lay person is not an expert, they have to understand as well. How do you do that by simply giving them reading material?
Litigation in the US is simply the way of things. As far as Canadian law or any other country, it is in the US that you are deemed innocent until proven guilty. In other countries it is just the opposite. That is why we have so much litigation because it is very hard to prove a loss but that we have the Freedom and the Right to pursue it. I love America because we live in such a system. I do not want to go back to British Common Law implicitly where I have no rights. MysticGoldToy is 100% right.
Juries are supposed to be of your peers not your hand picked expert cronies. The experts are the people Ryobi would have put on as a witness to establish the bar of safety. I don't know what happened but Ryobi lost. It will get appealed and I am sure of the other 50 or so lawsuits they also are appealed. all that it takes is one to prevail and sets precedence. We have so may jurisdictions though that one precedent has little meaning on another jurisdiction. That is another reason we have so much litigation but myself I think that is the right way to do this. I do not want what is good for New York to be what is good for California.
During my thirty-four year career in Law Enforcement I was in a position to see and review a great many court decisions. My conclusions? It is the best system of Justice that money can buy! You get what you pay for! It has nothing to do with Justice.
Fortunatly I was taught about rights and resposibilities at a very young age. The Boy Scouts of America pushed me in the right direction. My teachers taught me far more than what the book said. My relatives in the trades taught the value of hard work, respect for tools and those that use them. The 101st Airborne Div. taught me obedience, discipline and pride. Six college degrees taught me to think for myself.
Working with wood and respect for Mother Natures creation has given me a great deal of pleasure during my life. Every time I walk into my shop I thank my maker for the privilage of being able to use all the tools that I have. I do not have a Saw Stop. It is my responsibility to use proper safety practices. Safety practices are common sense, some people cannot be taught common sense. If you have it be thankful.
I have read the comments above of a great many people who obviously have been there and done that. They may not spell or write very well but I suspect that they can create wonders with their hands. I have also read the comments of a few who have given up (prices will go up and I will pay the price). Then there were a few attorneys, To quote Shakesphere, "To cure the ills of the world, the first thing you do is kill all the lawyers".
The decision in this case was ridiculous but it is easier to give the population money than to discipline them or take the time to teach them properly. God help us, the politicians won't.
Liberalism really is a mental disorder. The world is not a perfect place. Injury is a part of life. Where would we be if man had not forged ahead in spite of dangers. Ask yourself: what will we have left if we carry on this way? Big, evil business is a rediculous attitude that is way out of line today; but the lawyers love the wave and the cash cow of litigation. While that saw manufacturer was busy developing and refining his product, working day and night, and with his own and his companies money, taking all the risk JUST AS YOU DO every day, some SOB waiting in the wings, not to provide justice necessarily, but to simply feed on the misfortune of some hard working and well intended manufacturer, waits for an opportunity to challenge his benefits of labor. Yes, you can argue that this is the beauty of our system; that it all works out in the end honing the best out of all litigation results. True; until you realize that liberalism is now a powerful magnet that distorts logic in an otherwise great court system: The best there ever was in the best counrty that ever existed for free people. We need to wake up. Be men--and women--of principal again and fight for reforms that mandate respect for the facts and not emotion. Make a difference if YOU are on a jury. You can argue that the system over time self corrects; as it should. But it doesn't any more. Liberalism in the courts, where its always the fault of big business, has reformed minds and castigated free market ideals. Misfortune is a guarantee in life. Nothing should litigate against pure misfortune. Certainly not in this case. This is like suing a shoe manufacturer for not using softer rubber soles because your feet hurt. Good men in honest businesses risk their ventures to make money yes, but the real reward is success and pride in the free use of God-given talent ala a free market in which to prevail. The real reward is in succeeding and fullfiling passion. Just like you enjoy the twilight cast on a good days work at your craft, manufacturers appreciate their accomplishments too. This poor saw manufacturer is about to be put out of business after all his hard work. Is that right in this case? Are we willing to start talking about these matters of distorted logic in our country while we still can? I'm serious. Get involved.
I hope that I can find a jury like that when I trip and hurt myself after failing to tie my shoes. We all make choices, seems like someone didn't want to pay for the technoligy. To top it off he is careless and blames the outcome on the manufacture.
How many woodworkers were on the jury? Experienced, professional, amature, or otherwise. My guess is 0.
All I can say (me and the rest of the non US world) is
Only in America!!
Try that in Europe and be told "keep what fingers you have left out of the way next time."
Short and sweet....PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. It's always someone elses fault.
Did he follow all the manufacturers published safety rules and rules of usage? If he had there would be no accident.
When I first took shop class, you couldn't even turn on a machine until you'd passed a strict knowlege and safety test. Did this moron have any training?
I believe any 3rd grader could have won the argument against a clear case of incompetence.
As previously noted: YOU CAN'T FIX STUPID
A question for 'starrynight' re: Regulated Safety.
1) Do we really expect the taxpayer to accept another bureaucracy to support?
2) Worse than ill-informed juries are bureaucrats who enforce 'the book'
3) the automotive safety industry is well regulated. And yet that did not prevent the Toyota accelerator problems.
4) How will you get every 'unsafe' table saw replaced? Government incentives?
This is a typical jury settlement. It will get appealed and the appeal judge will overrule the jury - or the company will make an out-of-court settlement with the plaintiff.
Regardless the only winner is the lawyers.
I think that because of the way the system has evolved Americans sue each other much to often. In Canada we assume that a person has a responsibility to use a machine, instrument or other dangerous equipment carefully and that the responsibility for doing so is theirs. If we find something dangerous we lobby both the manufacturer and our member's of parliament to get it changed. If that doesn't work we have a very responsible press who will report on the problem. We have a greater sense of civic responsibility, I think, rather than and an individual rights approach to the world. However, having read the struggle the inventor of the of the SawStop technology had in getting it licensed, there would seem to be culpability on both sides of this suit, especially since Ryobi had an early refusal. In Canada that would have been taken into account and the settlement would have been much lower, as low as expenses for rehab for the plaintive.
The result of this lawsuit is just plain wrong. What happened to "personal responsibility" in this country? The judge must not have that term in his vocabulary. The owner/user of the saw knew what could happen if his fingers met the blade, and the safety instructions with every saw provide you with all the precausions needed to avoid injury. He could not possibly have followed them all, and even if he did, he is not claiming in his lawsuit that some part of the saw's safety features "broke down" in use that caused his injury, instead he is sueing them for a feature that he knew damn well the saw never had, and that would have cost him at least $1,000 more on the purchase price if it had included that feature. This is completely illogical to me and absolutely absurd, and you know that all the other pending cases (and more cases to come) will be using this case as a springboard.
If this continues, we should all expect the prices of new saws to go up dramatically, as they could eventually be forced by the government to use Gass' technology, which will put some manufacturers out of business, and others will HAVE TO raise their prices in a big way.
Gass' response sickens me, as it is clear that he does not care about woodworkers having a choice in what saw they want, what features and brand, and what price they pay for it...he just wants his technology on every saw and millions more in his pockets. By all means, he should be able to profit from his invention, but not at the cost of putting other manufactuers out of business through governement regulation (rather than letting the free market decide where the sales will go).
I used to love Sawstop and planned to get one, now I don't want to give Gass further "vindication" by sending money and profits his way...and I really mean that.
The saw that injured that person was probably state of the art when it was purchased and probably built before the safety feature was available . The saw did not reach out and grab the guy, he apparently made contact with the blade because of inattention or lack of experience. All safety instructions that I have read on any power saw emphasize safety and proper use. He just did not pay attention and injured himself. Manufacturers should not be held responsible for a person's stupidity.
I couldn't disagree with you more. The correct way to see other companies take up this technology is via competition. When they see Sawstop outselling them, they will come to the plate. This kind of frivolous lawsuit degrades our entire society because nobody is taking responsibility for their actions. This should be settled in the marketplace not the courtroom.
The one and only time that I injured myself with a power tool was in using a hand-held circular saw - I was not watching where my left hand was while supporting a narrow cutoff. Fortunately, the cut was minor.
The issue is that I was not being careful. The saw did not cause the problem, I did. The manufacturer of the saw is not responsible for my actions - I am.
Safety features such as air bags and seat belts do protect us against our actions, but mainly they protect us against the actions of others whom we can not control.
Those "others" are not involved in my use of my power tools and certainly the manufacturers of those tools are not responsible for my use of them.
There is no question in my mind that features such as Saw-Stop are effective and a good thing, but it is my choice as to whether or not I buy it. Ryobi does not manufacture defective products, they are simply of a less durable quality than others and may not be the wisest choice for commercial use. Lower cost products are, of necessity, less fully-featured.
The last time that I checked, it was still my choice as to what I buy and how I use it. Allowing things like this lawsuit to continue will ultimately lead to a situation in which my choices will be dictated to me as is being attempted with a very large current National issue.
The particular incident which is the subject this article is, in my opinion, one more item in a very, very long list. That long list is comprised of those occurances in which people attempt to lay the responsibility for their own actions on someone else.
Bottom line? - Do we want our Legislators dictating to us what we must buy?
And so Norm always started his show with a few words about shop safety, these words often go unheeded. As we well know Woodworking requires sharp tools and anyone who doesn’t understand a sharp blade turning at 200mph is an accident waiting to happen. Generally we know when we’re doing something dangerous and we respect the tool all the more. Accidents happen quicker than you'd ever expect as many of us know. When we do have an accident we’re generally the first to admit that was stupid! But to blame it on the tool?
I don’t know how this guy wacked his fingers but can only assume he failed at paying attention. So it wouldn’t have mattered if he had a 300 dollar saw or a 5000 dollar saw he didn’t respect the tool. There's a real sharp reason sawstop uses hotdogs for demonstrations. The jury failed at not recognizing stupid and all the jurors probably thought it could be me so why wouldn’t the stupid reward stupidity.
This is no different than idiot juries awarding money for a burnt mouth from drinking hot coffee. I agree that you can't fix stupid, what's worse is the jury system being allowed to make such a precedent making decision, and lastly whoever the attorney was for the table saw company was clearly not doing their job. There needs to be some serious reform in this legal world. The guy who cut himself had a choice, he could have purchased a "Sawstop" saw, but went for a cheaper one. That's like buying a cheap car without an airbag, then suing the company because there wasn't an airbag. This decision should not stand.
Although I am normally against this sort of lawsuit, I am happy to hear that this one was successful. What many readers do not understand is that the inventor of the new safety technology in the SawStop table saw tried for several years to get the cooperation of the leading manufacturers to incorporate the technology. They have been refused, not because they didn't want to buy it, but basically because they could not buy the technology on an EXCLUSIVE basis.
So the truth is that unless one manufacturer could buy the technology and exclude all others from acquiring it, they refused to implement the new safety approach. The implication of the major brands' response seemed to be, "If we can't monopolize the profit potential, and exclude all others, then we can't be bothered with saving consumers from thousands of serious injuries every year."
I am hoping that this lawsuit may break through the greedy nature of the leading companies so that new, finger-saving technology can be implemented where it makes sense.
I DON'T want to see a requirement for this technology on all saws. I DO want each manufacturer to make this option available on their saws.
I would like to see the factual findings of the court and it's reasons for the award before commenting.
Discussing legal matters without this background is a waste of bandwidth.
It sure worked in this thread, though...
The publishers are happy.
I personally think him winning the suit was dead wrong. He knew the saw didn't have this technology and used the saw anyway, that was his fault not the manufacturers. Why should Ryobi or any other manufacturer be held responsible for our mistakes and the inability of Mr. Gass to negotiate.
Does this mean that I can sew Ford because my new mustang doesn't have the technology to alert me if I am too close to an object or apply the brakes for me if I am distracted and run into something? Or GM because my truck can't parallel park itself and when I try I hit another vehicle? If the answer is yes then I say that's chigger Spit.
If you are afraid your equipment is going to hurt you because it doesn't have certain technology then get rid of that equipment and get the tools that do have it or take up knitting. If you can't afford the new equipment and refuse to give up what you are doing, then live with the risk until you can afford it
I have used the saw stop saw and I like it quite well, but I can't afford one right now so I will continue to use the saw I have.
As for buying a saw stop saw, I think I will wait until they come up with a better system than one that distroys your blade and forces you to not only have to buy a new blade but also the system that damaged it.
So in short, I think the lawsuit was wrong and we can't hold a manufacturer responsible for our mistakes.
As a printer of over 35 years and a woodbutcher I saw a lot of folks in the printing industry missing digits when I got in the field. I also saw some who had all of them. We all ran the same equipment, the difference was in apying attention to what you are doing.
I have a scar on my belly from getting in a hurry and trying to lift a stopped dado off the saw without giving it time to spin the dado set down. Made a nasty gouge on my belly. Did I even think of suing Delta or Freud because I did something stupid? No, I told myself that was stupid and resolved to remember the dado doesn't stop as quickly as a saw blade and I went on to finish my project(after replacing the nice peice of oak that was now firewood)
Some things are just dangerous and you have to pay attention to what you are doing. All the guards and covers you can add through government regulations will not stop accidents. You can't legislate away stupidity and carelessness.
Wow! never knew it was that easy to become a judge. You don't even have to have common sense. Another great example of what has happened to this Country. You can get rewarded for being careless and unresponsible if you can afford an ambulance chaser to take your case. Most accidents in the shop occure because the individual had a laps of concentration on the task at hand or lacked proper skills to use the tool in the first place. It does not warrent a lawsuit. Sorry Mr Orsorio this should have been thrown out of court.
To follow up. Briefly, I will try.
Does anyone understand here from a mathematical point of view what the RPM speed of any cutting device needs to be along with the correct feed rate and what that calculation is? Do you all understand and can recite what a climb cut verses a conventional cut is, and why one gives you a better finish with all the safety out the window?
A lay person does not understand any of this and is why we need 2 year programs in the industrial arts. Using any power tool requires some fundamental understanding of sharp tooling, proper feed rate, proper spindle speed, motor horsepower, and lastly stability of the machine. A Delta cabinet makers saw makes such a great saw cut that needs little sanding is because it is massive and does not vibrate and has the horse power head room. A cutter is based on chip removal or IPT which is the feed rate per tooth. We all have to trust manufactures that they know what they are doing because they hire "experts". Tell that to the many Toyota drivers. A dangerous saw is one where the blade is dull, the motor speed wrong for the wood(pine verses oak), and undersized motor horsepower. That is danger written all over it. Again to get the lay person with little to know experience into safely running a machine we need avenues to educate them with.
Taxes: In California we have Mello Roos property taxes. Schools in these districts are flush with money and you do not see any of them laying any teachers off or having any problems. All the other Prop 13 districts see school layoffs with the first thing being industrial arts, music, and sports being cut. We properly pay for our childrens' education, we do not have these kinds of law suits. That to me is the bottom line.
See? and people think doctors are paranoid about lawyers and being sued. The bottom line is ANYBODY can sue ANYBODY ELSE for ANYTHING. Even if you eventually win, it still means being dragged into court, missing work, losing income, and paying lawyer fees. Ridiculous! It's a broken system.
Hey, isn't there also a kickback potential associated with table saws? I've seen postings by individuals with Saw Stops that have had life threatening injuries due to wood being flung off the blade.
If you want a completely safe table saw, don't turn it on, don't put a blade in it, and don't plug it in.
I dont have enough information as to make an informed opinion on the merits of this case. However, in general I do think that manufacturers have a responsibility to take prudent steps to make their products reasonably safe. I think most would agree with that. The issue is really, what is reasonably prudent? I think many people in the "personal responsibility" camp just feel it unreasonable to expect all manufacturers to adopt the sawstop technology. Its too new, too high tech, or unfamiliar. That will change with a little time. I think the technology will eventually make its way into all saws, including hand saws, band saws, etc. It will go the way of the airbag, GFCI outlets, etc. because of the societal cost of not adopting it. There are plenty of laws to help protect the "stupid" people because none of us are experts at everything we might try or do, and even when proficient, accidents happen. Motorcycle helmet and seatbelt laws are examples. To those who have lost fingers and "taken full responsibility" I applaud your honesty, but I still wish for you that you had owned a sawstop. I hope that sooner rather than later, our kids will have one.
You can't fix stupid. No matter what type of safety equipment is installed someone will find a way to get hurt. If all the current safety equipment is installed on all the equipment then most of us would not be able to afford the equipment.
I want to see that flesh detecting technology added to ALL my tools, including hammers, chisels, marking knives, drills, bandsaw, planer and, of course, routers.
After that, it should be included in nails, screws, and wood with nasty splinter potential.
Don't forget, it was the jury that awarded the money. Many juries are made up of people who are "not" knowledgeable of woodworking procedures. They just think it is the little guy against the big tool company. The jury did not perform their assign responsibility, just like the victim did not perform his safety procedures. I have been woodworking for 30 years and have had one injury. Cut myself using a chisel. And yes, it was my dumb fault.
I think "starrynights"needs a rubber room so he can't possibly hurt himself. Hope he doesn't hurt himself stargazzing !!
I myself know and fear my tablesaw. I know it is a dangerous machine, especially in the hands of someone even slightly inclined to be careless. I've never been seriously injured myself, but I HAVE been bruised by a kickback.
However, I don't blame the saw manufacturer! I know several people who HAVE lost or nearly lost fingers to their saws, but none of them have been sufficiently craven to sue anyone! Tablesaw accidents are virtually always the fault of the user. It is not possible, or even desirable, to make these tools perfectly safe. Every safety device has drawbacks, which make the tool more difficult to use, or much more expensive. Sure, I'll take a SawStop machine, but I want it for $1500, and the cartridges must be free!
No, the court made a big mistake to award this man a win in this suit against Ryobi. To demand that any manufacturer use an expensive technology, which it does not even own, and which may be much too costly for the market segment it serves, is outrageous. Users MUST take most of the responsibility for accidents upon themselves.
Yes, tablesaws could be made safer, but in the process they will also be made less useful, harder to use and/or much too expensive for many of us to afford. I for one get some genuine satisfaction from being knowledgeable, self-controlled and careful enough to use these and other dangerous machines WITHOUT GETTING HURT!
Next I suppose, someone will sue a chainsaw manufacturer, for not embedding the chain in a huge block of concrete!
There was nothing preventing this guy from buying a SawStop tablesaw, except perhaps the same things that cause many of us to buy different machines. Nor did anyone force him to use ANY tablesaw. Apparently he mis-judged the hazard involved, and was careless. THAT should be HIS responsibility.
Woodworking machines are necessarily hazardous. Cowards and exploiters should find a safer hobby, buy a SawStop machine, or take up Bridge.
I, like most people here it seems, feel like this verdict is retarded. I don't know if there are further details about a shoddily built ryobi tool. I'm just saying that I cut a lot of both woods and metals on my restored Rockwell model 10. Sawstop is amazing technology, but they cannot cut metals without triggering the stop, and I spent as much as the cost of a ryobi on the Tenryu nonferrous blade that I have running half the time (which is done for on after a sawstop triggering). Between eliminating all aluminum and brass cutting and eliminating portable tablesaws under $500, this all but kills both the hobbyist and mixed media tool sales. Carpentry is like using drugs- it's thrilling, but be ready to pay the consequences if you're a dumbass, ok? (and don't use a tablesaw when you're on drugs).
This is just another example of the way the west is going. We are deep into denial of personal responsibility. Where can this stupidity lead, but towards more and dummer . Shake your head people and stand on your own feet.
Personally, I am in favor of regulated safety. I have no reason to trust manufacturers, whose bottom line is profit for them and their shareholders, to have safety features as their top priority (assuming less revenue for the company). This seems to be the mantra of products sold cheaply and mass produced. Whether they know it or not, safety is the consumer’s number one choice when buying a product (you can also apply this rule to job preference). Given two tablesaws (jobs) with equal price but different safety features, the consumer (employee) will choose the product (job) less likely to cause harm - thereby increasing production and improving quality of life. Harm-reducing features like seat belts, air bags, anti-lock brakes and speed limits etc. are not necessary to make a car go from A to B but are more a reflection of the bigger picture. There is a probability of error when using any machine. The faster it goes, the probability of error increases (try driving a motorcycle at 200mph and see if you don’t crash). Technology makes it so we can create machines that have features beyond the FULL control of most people’s abilities. I have a cheap mastercraft table saw that weighs about 25lbs. Because it’s portable (a product feature) I am more likely to make my cuts outside. If I set it up on a table without clamping it down (clamps do not come with the saw) and try to rip a 2x8 plank – which it has the ability to cut – the tiny size of the table, the weight of the saw, speed of the blade and the weight of the wood create a scenario that will make the saw tip over or slide off the table. There are no safety features built into the saw that reduces the probability of error in this scenario. Because I cannot afford to buy another saw, should I be reduced to use an inferior product – perhaps yes. But at what point do I have to fear for my safety as a result of inferior product manufacturing?
If I fall down and bump my little nose, do I get to sue the earth? If a blue flashing light helps other drivers to see me should we be required to put one of those on all our cars then we would ALL have one. We all know that touching a high power electrical line is dangerous; if I touch one-who is being stupid, me or the power company?
I am being facetious here, but the point is where was his personal responsibility for his safety. By purchasing that equipment and using it he is responsible for the way he uses it. If he got his fingers close enough to the saw blade to injure them, he was not following correct safety procedures for any equipment. If he does NOT know how to use the equipment then it is up to HIM to find out how to use properly designed equipment, otherwise leave it ALONE. No one operates a backhoe unless they have been trained on it.
As my father use tell me when I persisted in something, LIVE AND LEARN JOCKO.
Oops, darn spilled my hot McDonald's coffee in my lap and burned myself. I think I'll sue them because they didn't tell me it was hot even though I've been shifting it back and forth between my hands because it is too warm to hold in just one hand.
And...Hey...if you are still reading this after all the previous entries, do like I did-GO MAKE SOME SAWDUST ON YOUR RYOBI TABLESAW. (Get up away from your computer-looking into the screen may ruin your eyes and your posture, contact your lawyer for advice).
I have been working with a table saw for years with the idea that I am responsible for what ever actions I take and what ever the out come may be. My Grand-father was a wood worker and cut himself many times and cutting a finger off on one occasion. We took him to the hospital patched him up he got well and and went back to work. It wasn't saw's falt, it was his carelessness. This guy that received $1.5 mil. for his carelessness can buy my new Saw Stop cabinet saw.
I have been injured on a tablesaw secondary to kickback of 1/4 ply (classic error) and on a router table, where using guards are problematic. Yes the guard was off the tablesaw and it was pre-riving knife on American made products.
The fact that riving knives are a recent addition to American made saws when they were standard in Europe really shows the true colors of American companies where the bottom line is king. American manufactures need policing to add safety standards. I got an aftermarket splitter and have been happy ever since until the router injury when I sold the 66 and got the professional SawStop.
That moment of not wanting to look down at what was left of my finger is something I did not want to repeat and it is only a matter of the proper set of conditions when the tablesaw is going to bite.
So the bottom line is American industries do not police themselves; the government has to do it for them but the biggest incentive is $$$ from lawsuits not user safety or the desire to build the safest product possible.
So if the lawsuit is a means to an end - so be it. Look at tobacco.....
And do not ignore the statistics of tablesaw injuries - I am sure that the majority of users did know what they were doing and used proper precautions until that one perfect set of circumstances resulting in injury.
I have yet to see any question as to whether the right tool was being used for the right job. I've installed many hardwood floors myself, but the tool of choice has always been a mitre saw not a table saw.
I have been injured on a tablesaw secondary to kickback with a 1/4 ply (clasic story) and by a router table - where guards are a problem depending on the cut. I
I've been using desktop saws for years and a Ryobi like the one shown for a little over 2 years without any incident. I plan to keep using it and keep being very careful. I agree that this is most likely an operator error, unless the blade jumped out to eat the finger and then go back in its slot. Makes me wonder, though, I lost half a finger falling in the rope while water skiing, maybe I can sue the rope manufacturer, the ski manufacturer, the boat manufacturer or...
For all of you who advocate mandating this absurb safety feature, I challenge you to stick your fingers into a moving saw blade. The mfg is smart enough to use hotdogs. BTW, what about bandsaws? skilsaws? radial arm saws? chainsaws? jigsaws? handsaws? coping saws? Where does it stop?
Question one... were the guards provided by the manufacturer in place?
Some of the comments here are funny. I didn't read them all so it wouldn't taint my perspective.
Some are kind of out in left field. Many are interesting in the extreme.
I have a Ryobi tablesaw under the Craftsman name. It's been a beauty. It cuts wood for me just fine...and no doubt if I was dumb enough to shove my fingers through the blade it would cut them too.
I realise that lawyers love this stuff, after all, it's how they make their ripoff living.
From my last sentence, you can probably tell I don't have much patience for this sort of garbage. It is typical of how Americans think. You may not like that but it's true.
Really, what was the jury thinking? 1.5 million? For a cut or two? If I had a dollar for every sliver of wood that has got stuck in my hands I'b be a millionaire. Who do I sue for that? The people that grow the trees? The retailers of wood? God?
I did enjoy the tax comment...lovely! It's not the guy doing the suing who will get all the cash...it's the lawyers and government! What a scam.
Come on. It's about time you got a little realistic here.
That's like saying that every available safety feature must be installed on every car built, isn't it?
You wanna play with wood? Be careful.
My 53 years of woodworking experience have not included getting my fingers mangled by a tablesaw blade. And with continued common sense, it never will.
Only in the USA would a Law Suit like this occur. Blame decisions like this on bleeding heart juries.
It is a wonder we can still buy power tools here.
In response to Khuyser's comment about lawyers - they're still halfway ethical. They only take half the award. In all seriousness, though, I agree with many of the other comments. Lawsuits like this are ridiculous. Unfortunately, as long as our system allows lawyers to profit hugely based on other peoples' lack of personal responsibility, with no limits - it will continue.
I'm glad I live in Canada, where the justice system makes it much more difficult to bring forward frivolous lawsuits. I am sorry for the person's injury, but I strongly suspect that the responsibility resides in that person's mirror.
I too have a Ryobi table saw and on 12/30/09 I cut my thumb. I have a 9 stitch smiley face there to remind me what anyone who uses a saw already knows, they are safe if you use them correctly and dangerous if one does something stupid.
I wasn't using a push stick and reached over to catch a piece from falling off the back of the saw. When my thump heals my first tasks will be to make multiple push sticks and an out-feed table.
I don't mind relating what I did wrong because it might help someone else from doing the same thing. What I don't understand is why someone did something so stupid and expects an innocent party to pay for it.
It is always someone else's fault, is it not? I spill coffee on my lap, sue because it is too hot. A robber hurts himself during a break-in, sues.
Fact 1: Working with blades is dangerous.
It is crazy a tool company can be held liable in this case. It needs to be overturned, and the guys tools taken away.
Let's be responsible for our selves. Hats off to Mr Gass for his invention. I may buy one and try it out, but that is a choice I have to make, not one the government dictates.
you can't fix stupid no matter how you biuld it
1) Please follow this story and report back. Most of this type of settlement are thrown out or significantly reduced on appeal. Keep us informed.
2) I'm guessing the guy who injured himself has huge medical bills and his only hope of paying them is to sue. Another indictment of the current state of health care in the US.
The reason the person won the lawsuit is that the manufacturers uniformly refused to implement the technology arguing that "safety doesn't sell". This is the same situation as air bags and auto manufacturers. Until they were faced with lawsuits, no auto company would adopt air bag technology. Since saw manufacturers failed to offer a safety technology that was readily available, they were held responsible. If we can't count on an industry to offer new safety alternatives as they come available, then this kind of lawsuit is an alternative.
The sad thing about this lawsuit, (and others like it) they reinforces lack of responsibility. The only way this suit warrantes merit is, if the user was told the saw included this safeguard when it did not, or the safeguard failed. Maybe they can sue the electric company responsible for providing the power that caused this accident. Where and when will this crap end?
I have not seen the suit but it will probably be appealed by the manufacturer. One thing to note, being a student of law, like it or not a manufacturer knowing there are ways to inexpensively mitigate personal injury must act with good faith in doing so. The issue here is not whether the manufacturer built a dangerous machine (we all know that to be the case), it is the issue of whether this manufacturer did everything in it's power to reasonably protect a lay consumer of these products.
It used to be we all learned in high school the safety in operating these machines. That to me is the real story here how we have divested ourselves in having good 2 year wood shop programs in high school, teaching kids the safety in using power tools. And look at this tool, it is on spindly little legs that look to me could collapse with just a sheet of plywood and isn't that the purpose of a table saw to cut a sheet of plywood? I for one would never buy such a saw.
As a plug to an organization that I love, here people can find the proper safety techniques, the oversight, and the right power tools to do anything your heart desires for a small monthly fee. http://www.techshop.ws
It is in these environments where lay people can find the safety first protocols so we keep all of our fingers. Like running a milling machine with one hand to dealing with the buttons and switches and handles. Two hands can get you in trouble because we have single focused minds (my wife does not think so however).
Bottom line is manufacturers' of power tools, to the lay person with no training, need to put into place all reasonable mitigation measures into their machines so that the machine takes care of the fingers because the lay person without training has no clue about it.
In addition it is also Home Depot. While not inexpensive, there are tool manufactures (Festool) that use other kinds of cutting techniques in cutting hardwood flooring. A table saw is only but one technique. If Home Depot carried these other techniques, outside of a powerful chop saw, incidents like this will not happen if done safely. But again it is that missing training in our high schools that cause things like this to happen and the manufacturer is left holding the bag.
I think all manufacturers should be sponsoring in all 50 states and in every community library tool sources in the high schools. High schools will have to do fundraiser for the insurance and offer adult night school to those who want to learn more about the ins and outs of power tools (like a machinist who knows that cellophane around a cigarette package is .5 mills thick and uses that to tram up the part meeting his specs and doing it fast). We need these experts in our midst because we have the danger of losing these kinds of art. We need to increase our taxes so schools actually have the money to do what they should be doing. I no boos and hisses. If we as a society do not do what is needed within taxes to having the best in our schools we cannot compete and our inexperienced lay people chop their fingers off and ultimately our economy suffers. It is all interconnected.
Lastly we all here understand implicitly what we need to do to be safe. In addition to that and with Techshops being all over the country, we will have an added ability to be reminded during those lapses in memory towards our own personal safety.
Maybe Fine Woodworking can sponsor a TechShop tool library in your area. Think about it, having most of the power tools you need as well as a 3 axis computer controlled router, an Epilog laser that cuts and etches wood. Being able to pull up your truck right into the bay and unload you project to work on in a stimulating environment. It is all very cool!
I'm a professional woodworker using a high quality Jet table saw. ive years ago,it also ate half of my left thumb AND I take full responsibility for that. I'm still using that saw and have no further misadventures.
I would like to know the circumstances surrounding the Ryobi event. What available safety measures were or were not being employed? What were the conditions in the shop? What physical condition was he in when the event occured (tired, headache, upset about something, rushed, etc). I haven't read all of the postings, so that information may be buried somewhere in there.
I have met or chatted with a nnumber of power tool users ( this kind of thing is not limited to table saws )who have experienced similar accidents. Not one of them has considered suing anyone, but, rather, have all taken full responsibility for their actions.
If you touch a tool, you implicitly take responsibility for the use of that tool and ANY outcomes. You can not whine after the fact and blame the tool manufacturer for your actions.
My recommendation: every tool, hand and powered, comes with a safety disclaimer which must be signed by the consumer before purchase, accepting responsibility for the use of the tool. No choice!!! Even a mis-used chisel can snip off a finger or cut nerves and muscle in a hand. No "SawStop" available there!
Here's a hypothetical for you to ponder: It is 2018. I buy a SawStop or the equivalent licensed product (now a mandatory option) and trigger the brake. Eager to finish my project, and basically cheap, rather than replace the brake and blade, I circumvent the mechanism and keep working. I am injured. Who do I sue?
I think it's outrageous. If the man wanted to have a flesh sensing saw, he should have bought one. If he couldn't afford it, he should have been VERY careful and use wooden blocks to push the wood into the saw.
This is like someone suing Ford for crashing because the automatic brake didn't work...... if the car doesn't have an automatic brake you are supposed to push the brake !!!!!!! and drive carefully.
What a shame, when people try to take advantage of a system that permits dumb people benefiting, from companies like Ryobi who have created so many incredible products to make our lives easier.
BMW has a $15,000 suite of “accident avoidance” technologies, under this criteria then every accident in a car that doesn’t include these features should cause a lawsuit. SawStop is available if you want to spend the money on it but most people don’t want to. If we allow these types of things to continue we will only be working wood through robotic arms in sealed construction chambers.
Honest! I did not know it was a dangerous tool! It wasn't my fault! Myself, I have a deep respect for my tools and am completely aware of the risks. I am always vigilant in my shop as any intelligent human should be.
The worst part of lawsuits is the money doesn't get created out of thin air. It comes out of all of our pockets the next time we buy a saw, or go to a hospital, or buy a car, etc etc etc. The only winners are the blood thirsty lawyers who get their fifty percent cut. Just ask John Edwards! Shouldn't there be some limits on lawsuits? Apparently Congress doesn't think so, but then again they are all lawyers. What ever happened to a profession that used to be half way ethical?
I am a hobbiest woodworker... and an attorney. I agree with ibdegen and others who stated that each lawsuit is unique, and without reading the transcripts and briefs, it is impossible to know which issue was adjudged in the trial.
That said, it is preposterous to me to think a claim would succeed on the sole basis of not including flesh detection technology in their product. If the claimant wanted to have that technology in his saw, he should have purchased a SawStop (a $3000 saw compared to a $500 saw!).
Personally, the table saw is my most used -- and most feared -- tool in my shop. I retrofitted a riving knife to my saw as a precaution to help, I repeat "help", prevent kickback. And while I have pondered the thought of purchasing a SawStop at some point because of the technology, in my mind, I weighed the factors of the inconvenience of having to change the cartridge every time I changed from a dado to a cutting blade and vice-versa. I chose the side of convenience and am sticking with a riving knife, cross cutting sled, and other jigs that help prevent kickback and keep my fingers away from the blade.
Power tools are inherently dangerous. Knowingly using one, a person must accept that fact.
The table saw is probably the most dangerous tool in the workshop. It doesn't have to be.
The Sawstop is a relatively expensive table saw. It doesn't have to be.
If the flesh sensing technology was applied to all table saws, the cost would drop to the point of being almost insignificant -- mass production has a way of doing that.
Most accidents are stupid and foreseeable -- in retrospect. Fortunately, I have never had a serious accident -- but I've had several near misses, for which I've kicked myself for not being more cautious. I'm sure that most of the other commenters have similar experiences.
Forty years ago, highway deaths averaged 45,000 per year. Today, there are twice as many people driving, and most of them are driving further than they did forty years ago -- but highway deaths have dropped to around 35,000 per year. Are cars more expensive? Yes. Are the safety standards worth the extra cost? Absolutely!! Have you, your spouse, your child or your grandchild avoided injury because of them? Most probably.
An industry, in order to remain competitive, will not incorporate safety features because most consumers are too cheap (or too ignorant) to recognize their value. So safety (or lack thereof) must eventually be litigated. And once litigation is successful, an industry will push for legislation in order to force all manufactures to comply -- thus leveling the playing field. This seems stupid and inefficient, but ultimately, it is effective.
So let us all be thankful for litigation and legislation -- they are the only means to save us all from ourselves.
hoover031 writes: "I am amazed at the number of folks willing to defend the right to allow themselves to maimed and injured."
Yes I'd rather be physically maimed than live in a nanny state, becasue a nanny state is what you are advocating.
Individual choice and responsibility play a very important role in healthy human society, sadly it appears the people making the laws have forgotton that.
Glad to see some people actually read the article, the machine in place that leads corporations to adopt safer technologies is litigation, sorry that's just how it works, get over it. Corporations think "safety" isn't marketable? Volvo you don't count... Also an extra $150 bucks to keep those fingers, let's see... I think I go with a life changing injury and a mountain of medical bills. Personally I love the look of a toe sewn onto the hand. Guys suck it up, the technology is there to prevent thousands of injuries and corporation don't care because they didn't invent the Sawstop technology it's that simple. Let's congratulate Gass on actually using his brainpower to improve the function of something and not give us the same saw that's been sold for 50 years!
I agree with the majority...one must be responsible for one's own actions (or inactions). I've even heard of a more obsene lawsuit where an individual used a gas powered rotary lawn mower to trim hedges. He lost his hand. He however won a $10 million dollar lawsuit. The reason being, there was NOT a "WARNING" stating not to use the lawn mower to trim hedges. Our "Legal" system has NOTHING to do with "Justice". Can I sue an auto manufacturer of a compact car for not having the foresight to add sufficient weight and mass to win in a collision with a full sized SUV or pick-up truck?
Some of you have said that SawStop will be happy. I suspect that they and customers will be unhappy. Just as with the invention of TV or Velcro, no one licensed the technology until the patent expired. So there may be only two choices: High priced saws with SawStop technology or SawStop saws. Others may just exit the business until they can get in cheaply.
I am very sorry that the man (plaintiff) injured himself while using his table saw. These tools are made to cut wood and other hard materials - materials that are much denser than our flesh. The saw uses sharp blades that will cut through those dense materials as well as your fingers, thumbs or hands if you get those body parts in the way of the high speed blade. Common sense tells us to use care when using any tools especailly those that cut and are powered with gas or electricity. The jury made a poor choice. We have the personal responsibilty for our own safety in our shops as well as the safety of others who come into our shops. The decision was wrong - no personal responsibility (plaintiff) appears to have been taken in this case.
I feel the same way as a lot of others. If you are using something dangerous and get hurt at home its not the manufactures fault. I use hand tools almost exclusively in my shop and yeah I still cut and nick myself but its not the tools fault. Its mine for not paying attention or being clumsy or just plain stupid. If it has a sharp blade its dangerous period and we need to take precautions.
First, you guys are a little late to the party, no? This has been talked to death on at least half dozen websites already in the past 2 weeks.
Is the guy a moron for suing? Yes. Is he a moron for injuring himself? Maybe, it depends on what he did and how he did it. There is a reason they call them 'accidents'. Don't ever think ' this couldn't happen to me', because it can.
Is he a lot richer than the rest of us? Unfortunately, also yes.
While virtually everyone is bashing the jury, I have yet to see a transcript of the trial published anywhere.
While it may seem absurd that he won on the face of it, there are a million reasons that could have happened without faulting the jury.
Everything from a crappy defense, a misconstrued instruction from a judge (while these are supposed to be crystal clear, I have seen jury interviews post trial where the jurors did not understand the legal concepts involved with the task they were given to perform)etc.
What would your take on this be if the jury was shown a memo from the ceo that stated 'screw woodworkers, nobody is going to sue us' or 'Sure we could add sawstop to our product, but that would be inconvenient'.
My point is, we simply don't have enough information to fault the jury.
Hey, it costs about 8 cents a page, why don't you guys invest a few bucks and make it public? (If that's allowed??)
I, for one, would love to read it.
The fact is, woodworking is a dangerous profession. Every time we turn on the power, we accept a certain amount of risk. Every tool purchase we make, we accept a certain amount of risk. Every time you ignore the safety mechanisms and safe practices, we increase that risk exponentially.
If Mr. Orsorio purchased a saw without the "flesh detection" technology, he accepted that amount of risk, either by fact or function. That saw didn't hurl its spinng blade at him, did it? That saw didn't refuse to release a dull blade for sharpening, did it? That saw didn't set the fence so that it would pinch the stock, did it? The manufacturer didn't fail to include the safety instructions, did it? If he purchased the saw used, and was never trained in the proper use, was it the saws fault?
I have been injured by my misuse of my jointer, and not once did I blame the tool, or the manufacturer. This guy is an idiot that he had the gaul to blame the tool or the manufacturer.
I am amazed at the number of folks willing to defend the right to allow themselves to maimed and injured. I am amazed at the number of people who somehow "blame" Mr. Gass for inventing a great device to protect someone from an injury that could affect their livelihood for the rest of their life.
Since so many are concerned about costs but none that I've read mention the medical cost for paying for a saw injury. An emergency room visit, surgery and continuing care are a minimum of $30,000. A number of contractor saws are in the $500-$600 range. Do the math, SawStop contractor saw for $1499. The difference is worth about $1000. Ask yourself, is finger worth $1000. The way I look at it, buying a SawStop might save me a finger and $29,000.
I've used a Delta 10 "contractor saw for the last 15 years. I learned about the SawStop in Finewoodworking. I took me two years to come up with the money to buy the SawStop. The saw is a quality tool I would recommend to anyone. And by the way it is safe also.
For all of you woodworkers out there who want the right to use any table saw they want because "I'm safe and those other guys are stupid" I truly hope you are correct. I wouldn't want you to have your hand maimed like that "stupid guy" in the law suit.
I recently saw a vehicle automatically stop to avoid hitting something. The driver did nothing, and the vehicle stopped. That is amazing technology that is available for automobiles. I want everyone to go get in your new vehicle and rear-end someone and then sue the maker of your car for not installing automatic braking on all of their cars. Also, fire suppression systems can be installed on all vehicles... Pop up roll bars too, back seat airbags, run flat tires, How about something that inflates in case the car is submerged, so it floats back to the surface and the occupants don't drown. A lot of accidents occur when someone is speeding. How about a car that automatically knows the speed limit and governs the speed. Now the cheapest car you can buy will cost you about $65,000. If this lawsuit gets to the point where Ryobi's parent company has to pay this guy, then the cheapest table saw you can get will be $1,200. I'll still be using my 1955 Sears without any safety equipment.
I mean no disrespect to anyone who has offered an opinion about this lawsuit. From my perspective after retiring from practicing law for >20 years, I cannot do the same. I did not participate in the trial and I have not read the court papers. I also do not know if an appeal has been filed and, if so, what the briefs say.
I only know this one thing exceedingly well from years of experience: every case is unique. There may have been some aggravating circumstances that informed the jury one way over another. For example, what if there was convincing evidence that the judge made a mistake; or Ryobi was going to offer a model with the saw-stop feature but pulled the plug only because it would place the saw at a price point outside of Ryobi's self-defined market; or the injured plaintiff would have bought the better saw if it existed; or the injured plaintiff was a highly skilled craftsman and was exercising extraordinary care; or Ryobi made promisses in its literature that its saw was as safe as the Saw Stop saw; or the decision was based on insufficient warnings in the saw's documentation and on the saw itself when the state of the art in the business requires much more?
I didn't do product liability law so I have no reason to favor one side over the other. I'm just as fond of Darwin's theory of gene pool cleansing. I'm just saying that I haven't seen enough to pass judgment on this case either way.
The makers of saw stop most likely supported this man through this process. When they first created the technology they tried first to make a federal law to require all manufactures to include their technology on all table saws. That failed and they began making the saws themselves, but I am sure they are jumping for joy at the prospect of a requirement for their wares. If they are so concerned about "safety" then make the technology available for free, or for a very low price and other manufacturers will include it.
I will buy a saw stop saw the next time I purchase a cabinet saw, but a contractors saw is a stripped down version anyway. The technology to detect flesh adds so much cost that the small saw market may disappear altogether.
Woodworking is dangerous, GET OVER IT! We can only seek to minimize the risks that are involved by taking great care when cutting, sanding, shaping, routing, coping............
I have been cut by a router bit, I didn't sue the manufacture for my own idiocy, I learned a valuable lesson and am a better woodworker for it.
UNBELIEVABLE! What ever happened to personal responsibility?
Mr. Osorio had every opportunity to purchase the safer, but more expensive SawStop table saw, but obviously CHOSE to spend less money on the Ryobi saw without those same safety features. Nothing wrong with that. We all make such decisions every day. But then we have to take personal responsibility for making that choice. If we are then careless enough to stick our hand in the blade....well....we have to take personal responsibility for that action as well.
I've suffered a few minor, but painful shop injuries over the years and EVERY single time it was because of MY OWN carelessness and stupidity. I know the risks when I walk into the shop and I accept the responsibility for taking them.
Hats off to SawStop for the technology - They are just doing what every business is trying to do - make money. However, If they cared so much about the average woodworker, they'd have an entry level saw with the technology that the hobbist could afford - They are competitve with the high end saws, but what about the millions of us that can't "play in that arena". You don't think we have the technology if we could afford it? I'd like to have a Mercedes in my driveway, but it's not within financial reach...fortunately Ford still makes vehicles, or I'd be riding the bus! What does this technology add to the manufacturing cost?...I'd love to know....
You can't buy a $150 tool and get pissed off because it doesn't have the features of a $3000 tool. This guy took the cheap way out and paid the price. If Ryobi put the functionality into their saw and charged $3000, he would have probably bought another cheap saw instead.
He should have been fined for wasting the courts time and money instead of getting rewarded for stupidity.
Thank you, jurors. Your sense of justice should soon depress the price of used saws so I can buy a good one. Seriously, I expect this judgment will be overturned. If the equipment was dull or unsafe this should be an OSHA issue, unless the user is the owner.
I realize it's easy, and relatively fun, to jump at every chance to attack "liberals and lawyers," but did everyone read the article?
"According to the Journal of Trauma, an estimated 565,670 table-saw-related injuries were treated from 1990 to 2007 in U.S. emergency rooms. The vast majority involved a hand coming in contact with the blade, and about 10 percent ended in amputation. "
"SawStop asks for licensing fees of 3 percent of the saw's wholesale price to start. As the device becomes more widespread, the fees could increase to 8 percent... Manufacturers would have to redesign saws, which could cause a price increase of about $150."
I'm all for freedom of choice, but these numbers are not that high...and the cost increase resulting from a redesign should diminish with time. It's bazaar to me that the major tool manufacturers didn't implement this technology, especially on their higher end products where the redesign cost would have meant a relatively insignificant increase.
Everyone says "it's inexperience" or "his own fault." Sure, those things can play a role, but when progress provides you an opportunity to change a machine from inherently dangerous to far, far less dangerous, the reason not to incorporate the new technology needs to be more than "we won't make as much money." This is especially true when the machine is widely used in businesses and high schools.
And, no, I don't own a sawstop. If the technology had been implemented by the largest manufacturers, I could probably afford one. However, since they all passed and the inventor had to create his own line of tools (increasing the cost dramatically), it's not doable for me.
This is a miscarriage of justice! If anything, the saw should have stupidity detection technology. And why did the idiot buy the saw if that is not what he wanted? Some people never take ownership for their own stupidity and are a parasite on others! The jury is no less incompetent. I hope this is turned over on appeal.
Can't add anything to Dana W's comment. My take - Ryobi hired an incompetent lawyer. One anticipates the first lawsuit against SawStop when a hemophiliac is encouraged to take up woodworking because it's now Perfectly Safe, and bleeds out from that 1/8" deep cut.
Unbelievable! Award defies comment; parallels the McDonald's hot coffee award in the U.S. At least a British judge threw out a similiar lawsuit when someone tried suing McDonald's for hot coffee burning them in Britain.
Something needs to change with our litigious society.
From my perspective it is nonsense to sue the manufacturer. May as well sue the knife-maker for accidentally cutting off your thumb.
What ever happened to personal responsibility? Is this guy not accountable in any part for the injury that he essentially inflicted upon himself?
I see both sides of the saw maker issue. If they had purchased the technology, they could have only offered it on high dollar saws. After a few lawsuits - they would be forced to use it on lower end saws, forcing the prices way up.
Lawsuit aside, I hope the SawStop technology saturates the saw market over time. I bought the cabinet saw a few years ago for myself and a couple of master carpenters that have helped me remodel a couple of our homes. Aside from being dramatically safer, it is the finest saw we have ever pushed a piece of wood through.
Notably, I think it has made the men work safer, because no one wants to be the knuckle head that triggers the brake, ruining a $110 blade and an $80 brake. This is a better scenario than a buddy of mine - leaning over next to a saw that had already been turned off, blade was coasting, caught the side of his hand, and to surgery he went.......
This is wrong! This why the Tort laws need to be changed. He knew the danger of any wood working tool and accepted it. IF he wanted the safety of the new technology he should have purchased it. There is no way to hold an company accountable for something at the time of manufacter it doesn't know anything about, or does not add due to high cost to be able to price it for average consumer.
I too have seriously cut a finger, but it was because of my inattentiveness, not that saw's fault. We need to stop blaming others and take responsibility. This a major problem with America today.
There is a balance between what a company can or should do and what a person should be willing to accept as reasonable risk. There is this whirring, sharp, round thing what part of keep your hands away from it do you not understand. I use an old table saw passed down from my Grandfather, it's works beautifully but doesn't have as much safety stuff as a new one. It however has this long block of wood that my Grandpa used and my father used and now I use. This thing is probably 50 years old and none of us has ever lost our fingers. There used to be men, who were responsible, thoughtful about what they did and understood and accepted risk. Maybe we should try to aspire to that again and if we can't I hear knitting is safe!!!
The writing is on the wall: with such outrageous damages looming, table saw manufacturers will understandably feel obliged out of self interest to include this technology on all their nachines. Prices will skyrocket: woodworking will become a rich man's interest. I won't say the industry will collapse, but there are going to be serious adjustments to the market if half the consumers decide they cannot afford a tablesaw and give up on woodworking altogether. It is a sad day.
First of all, this case was tried in Massachusetts. (Insert Smiley Face Here) That should be enough said.
I am not goung to try and obfuscate this issue with facts (nor correct spelling) like everyone else.
The Sawstop technology is not a "Flesh Detector". If it were, I would carry one with me when bar hopping. ('nuther smiley) It is an electrical circuit with a sensor that detects a sudden change in the circuit. Almost anything moist or metalic will set the thing off. I have spent many pleasant hours using a Sawstop Cabinet saw and have triggered the blade brake a couple of times, but never with flesh. (Well, there was the roast beef sub sandwich incident, but that was operator error). You have to be carefull what you stick into that blade; Pressure treated wood, green wood, really cheap KD framing lumber, dirty wood, wet wood, and bratwurst, all are no-no's. The stopping cartridges are single use and replacements cost somewhere around $90.00. Add the cost of the blade destroyed every time it goes off, as well.
This case should have been thrown out, Floor installers cannot use the Sawstop technology for the following reasons.
Floor installers need PORTABLE saws. Nobody, I repeat, Nobody builds a portable saw with a blade brake. Sawstop does build a "Contractor" style saw with a brake that is portable if you can bench press over 250 pounds and don't install any table extensions.
Floor installers need a saw they can use with rain blowing into the front of the garage where they are cutting. The Sawstop circuitry will go off if it hits moisture.
Floor installers need a saw that will cut right through nails, barbed wire, and bullets hidden in salvaged wood flooring. The blade brake will go off if it hits metal.
For some reason, floor installers need a saw that can be used while kneeling. (smiley)
I made my shop as safe as I could. I have red and blue flashing lights and an air horn attached to the light switch by the door. Each machine has locked double reduntant power switches as found on nuclear missle launchers which require two people simultaniously switching them on to actuate. Every blade of any type is made of nylon and has a rubber edge guard covering the business part that cannot be removed. All beings inside the shop are required to wear military grade self contained air filtration systems. I am no longer using dangerous electricity. All of my machines are driven by a donkey on a treadmill. All of the machines are limited to 20 rpm except for the bench chisels which have all had their blades cut off. Twice weekly, U.N. Safety inspectors come through to insure that I am not violating any safety procedures. Even with all this I still got hurt. Yesterday when I turned on the wall switch, the air horn startled me. I jumped, tripped over my own foot and cracked my head on the concrete floor. I have filed suit against the Ancient Romans. Their concrete invention is Dangerously Hard.
On another note, I can't believe the number of "blame America First" and "Big Bad Evil Business" oriented posters that have taken the oportunity to use this venue to spout off on minimally tangential talking points.
i was gonna write and say i hope the verdict gets overturned, but everyone else already did, so i'll just say please vote to keep the government out of our lives; i use my 5o-something year old walker-turner cabinet saw with the gaping (9 x 2.5") throat just fine.
It amazes me everyday on how often we want to blame our own mistakes and stupidity on manufacturers or others to cash in on a payday. This is why we have 50 page manuals that have disclaimers such as don't use a hairdryer while in the shower... When will we as a civilization will grow past this attitude and actually start taking responsibility for our own actions. Are saws dangerious? Of course they can be, thats why you should be responsible and use them in a safe manner.
Not to make this a political issue, but Carlos Osorio could become a poster child for tort reform. Gee, who would have ever thought a saw blade spinning at 5000rpm could be dangerous!
So long as this kind of stuff is allowed to continue, we will all be paying for Mr. Osorio's negligence.
Suits and damage awards like this cost everyone in the long run.
Here is my two cents worth. For years auto manufacturers refused to incorporate safety features in automobiles. Detroit's answer was always "the American people don't want safety features". The American public now gets in every car seat belts, shoulder harnesses, padded dashes, collapsible steering wheels, ABS brakes, roll-over protection and a whole host of other safety features, each one directly traceable to one or more lawsuits brought by these same bottom-feeding attorneys everybody is castigating. Your kitchen appliances are shock-proof because some attorney brought a lawsuit against a manufacturer who failed to adopt available safety technology. Everybody in this country has benefited from lawsuits brought against manufacturers who failed (or refused) to adopt available safety features on their products. Look at what's happening to Toyota right now. Toyota is accused of sticking their head in the sand and in pursuit of profits ignoring a safety defect in their electrical system. It's great to say the market place will require manufacturers to produce safer products but the reality is, proven time and time again, that many manufacturers will pursue profits at the expense of the buying public. We can stop the attorneys from pursuing their campaigns for a "safer" America and suffer the consequences. I am all for personal responsibility but I am also in favor of demanding that manufacturers present me with the safest choices...and adopt the state-of-the-art technology to provide me with both safe and efficient products. A balance is called for. As has been pointed out, we have to accept responsibility for our own conduct. Also remember, it was a jury that made this decision, not an attorney. If you want to blame the jury for having been deluded by some smooth-talking barrister, remember that our national elections demonstrate that about half the people are deluded by the person you didn't vote for.
When woodworking tools get so expensive that you can no longer afford them you can thank the lawyers and juries that bring about these rediculous suit awards and legal mandates passed requiring all sort of bells and whistles be put on equipment to protect the stupid and careless. Another classic argument for tort reform.
While I am sorry for the person’s injury, and I think the sawstop technology is a great safety advance, I believe inexperience was the ultimate issue here. People buying potentially dangerous (and they all are in the hands of those without experience) should educate themselves through either product literature or DVDs and books available on the subject before even turning the switch on the first time. The most important thing to remember when operating any machinery is "be here now”. That is how I have worked for 24 years with no injuries (other than splinters). Another thought is that there seems to be an epidemic in this country of people refusing to take responsibility for their own actions/mistakes, placing the blame on others (and in some cases profiting from it). I fully realize that large corporations do not always look out for our best interests over their bottom line too. I'm not sure what the solution in these situations is. And in conclusion, my observation (from experience) is that ryobi table saws seem, in my opinion, to be tremendously underpowered for the tasks some people put them up to thereby adding another safety issue.
Judgements like this infringe on our freedom of choice. It will only limit our choice of affordable tools. I have the saw pictured in this article and it is a very good value. I disagree with the poster that equates cost to safety. The most expensive portable saw is the Bosch which I'm sure is a a good value but is not any safer. I bought the Ryobi instead of the Bosch because it met my needs at half the cost. If I used the saw a lot, I would have purchased the Bosch. To my knowledge, there is not a portable saw with the Saw Stop feature. I suspect this feature would triple the price of the Ryobi portable, which would put it out of my reach. I have been using table saws for 45 years and still have all of my digits by following instructions I received in shop class when I was 14. If you depend on technology to make up for bad safety practices and the technology fails, you are SOL.
I feel the comparison between seat belts/air bags and tool safety is off the mark. Seat belts/air bags do not triple the cost of cars. Safety in the shop is entirely up to the user. You give up control of safety when driving since you are sharing the road with drunks, cell phone users and varying road and weather conditions.
Blaming lawyers for this situation is also off the mark. The American public (us) is making these judgements when we are placed on a jury. Our “Let’s stick it to the man” mentality is an open invitation to have the government protect us from ourselves.
Finally, accidents are not inevitable. Accidents are preventable. All of my "accidents" have been a result of poor judgement on my part. A tool cannot be designed that can't be out smarted by a dimwit.
It amuses me that people like old guy with all his fingers have bought a Ryobi and then applaud this lawsuit.
How much did you pay for your Ryobi table saw? I see them at Home Depot between $100 and $220.
The Sawstop Contractor model is $1499.00.
Ryobi is in the low end tool business, they are making them as cheap and feature free as possible, so people like YOU can afford them.
If this lawsuit holds, what do you think the licensing cost that Gass is going to offer his technology at? Every manufacturer will have three choices: 1. license from him at a price that's not going to hurt his own sales (so expect prices of the cheapest table saws to be the same as the cheapest Sawstop) 2. stop making table saws 3. try to make an end run around the patent, get sued, not be able to provide products for 10 years while the lawsuit gets worked out.
Now, if you are stupid enough to applaud this lawsuit, have you gone the next step to realize that a circular handsaw can feature this technology? Ready to pay $1500 for your handsaw? What about every other power tool that you have that can potentially injure you?
That's why this is stupid. This is a market killer.
This is why Gass is happy about the lawsuit, because consumer choice just dropped overnight: it's buy from Gass or nobody. He just got awarded a *MONOPOLY* on power tools.
The last comment is for the jerks who immediately want to paint this as a liberal/conservative issue. I don't know why you guys have to knee jerk into every single thing on the planet and turn it into a political football. I am far from being conservative, and I think this is a terrible, terrible thing with far reaching consequences. So please don't point the finger at us.
This is a very stupid jury who has no idea what a table saw is. They think that this customer got sold a dangerously defective product. If you want to blame someone, blame the idiot who didn't know how to use it, and blame the lawyers that were smart enough to convert his stupidity into $1.5 million.
This should rule in favor of the manufacturer on appeal. This is a tragic accident and I have seen first hand what can happen with a saw, but rulings in recent years (Ford, et al) have ruled there is a reasonable risk responsibility of the user when using a product. If not, the cars we drive would all be steel plated tanks.
On Novemebr 11, 1990, I almost severed the last digit on the middle finger of my right hand on my table saw. The bone was cut through but a very talented hand surgeon was able to repair the bone and reconnect the tendons and even thogh it is 1/8" shorter than the one on my left hand it is hardly noticible. This very close call and traumatic injury taught me a very valuble lesson. DON'T get too close to the blade. I was not using a push stick on a small object and since that time I have several of them very close and available for use when I turn on the table saw. A Saw-Stop would have saved the injury but the reason for the injury was my stupidity ONLY and not the fault of the manufacturer of the saw. (The saw that I was using then probably pre-dated the SawStop invention anyway.) Coffee is hot and machines can injur but the operator is the responsible one. I have since been a great safety advocate and the warning that I got was taken seriously.
This law suit is ridiculous. I've been a woodworker for 15 years, and in that time, I too have had cuts to my fingers and hands. I choose to Not use the factory guard, that came with the saw. Any one who picks up any woodworking tool needs to know how to use them safely-or don't use them. You can cut your fingers with any tool that had a blade. Whats next: a bandsaw, scrowl saw, jointer, planer,drill press, miter saw, chisels, knives, drills, etc., etc? Whats ;left?Should we be made to put a guard on my wife's kitchen knives?
Assuming the headline captures the essence of this award and that no actual Ryobi product defect was alleged - I truly hope this award is reversed on appeal, and that the press reports the reversal as much as it has reported the award.
A spotlight might also be put on law firm that has tentatively earned a large percentage of this award. I question the ethics of them advocating that anyone has any rights at all in relation to things they did not buy.
I doubt that Ryobi was in any way negligent in the design of their economical product offering! They've done an amazing job of driving down prices on entry-level tools. Even though I do not buy products in that economy range, I'd hate to see those prices inflated just to finance a bunch of lawyers or the Sawstop folks. Indeed, the price of all non-Sawstop saws is at risk of price-inflation from this award, and that's simply ludicrous!
Perhaps the case should be brought to Steven Colbert's attention so he can "wag a finger" at these folks on television? Maybe William Shatner should reprise his role as Denny Crane to blast this decision in public?
To me, our legal system is a tool that some people chose to use for justice and other people use for other reasons. Those who interpret the laws can twist and bend them like steamed white oak; the more they get paid the more convincing and tighter they can bend them. I believe those who make the laws have various motivations, generally driven by moneyed interests and lobbyists more so than by public opinions and elections; I've never seen Seat Belts, Hot Coffee or Blade Guards on any of my election ballots.
So, it starts and ends with the plaintiff. The Lawyers, Judge and Jury are interpreting the Laws they did not make and are "just doing their respective jobs".
I've never understood that if my home or shop was robbed it would be my fault because I failed to have and use a lock on my door. So, we must all buy a lock for every door and carry keys for each of them and put down the arm full of white oak to get the keys out of my pocket and unlock the door, pick up the arm full of white oak again and go inside...every day, year after year. So, the system allows anyone to go uninvited into my house or shop and steal whatever they want if I leave it unlocked. I'm responsible for being robbed; not the robber? The car manufacturer is responsible for my flying thru a windshield in an accident because it didn't have a seat belt; not the driver who bought a car without seat belts and ran into that white oak tree that jumped out in front of him? The tool manufacturer is responsible for me loosing a finger because it doesn't have the latest safety technology; not me for willfully choosing that tool and lack of appropriate setup and use of the tool?
I support the idea that new technology can and does make things better. And I believe those things that are actually better will be implemented in products as consumers demand them. I do not support having these things forced down my throat by a legal system mandate against free choice.
I support the Personal Responsibility, Common Sense approach voiced in many of the other posts here. Any product can be harmful in one way or another. The use of the product is the variable and that is determined by the user.
BTW, does SawStop have a lock on the cabinet door and AC power lock-out system so that fingers can't get caught in the drive mechanism? Technology could provide a finger print reader or retina reader so that the saw is only energized when a recognized/authorized operator is standing in the proper spot in front of the tool. And the brake could slam into the blade if the guy blinks when he is about to sneeze during a rip cut. It only costs what, maybe about $15 Grand, but think of all the fingers saved. Maybe the insurance companies would reduce rates appropriately to make up for the higher expense. Patent Applied For. CopyRite 2010.
All of us know the first rule of using a table saw (or any power tool for that matter): obey the rules for using the saw. For those who do, the flesh sensor isn't necessary; but, of course, accidents and attention lapses happen. I'm glad that my car has air bags, but I hope never to have to use them. Same would go for a table saw with a flesh sensor. I'd like to see the flesh sensor feature on all saws. As that begins to happen, guess what? The prices will come down. A lot of us are probably like pilots -- it'll be the other poor dumb sap who augers in. The reality, though, is that any of us can lose a finger -- or worse -- to a table saw.
Obviously Ryobi pushed this man's hand right into the blade so they must be guilty. Now if he had cut off his head, the award rightfully would have been only $1. The fact that no tablesaw was available with such safety devices in 2006 and that no one was sure of Sawstop's device at the time or whether people would pay for it of course was not important to the "MY OPINION" stupid ignorant greedy jurors and crooked judge. Why let reality enter into the courtroom.
People all over the world laugh at us for the warning labels that the crook lawyers have made necessary to avoid liability - hairdryers being a case in point, "Do not use while in shower or bath tub." Ryobi should have insisted this guy not have or use electricity ever again as part of the settlement.
I have the Sawstop professional tablesaw -I bought it for because of the quality and the safety device. I also own a Bosch contractor saw and have never injured myself except with a chisel. Can I sue the chisel manufacturer?
I feel manipulated by the Sawstop inventor to force market in buying rights to his patent............
There are some people in this country that would sue if they hung their toilet paper upside down.
My saw (as do all machines) came with a manual that clearly states "Keep your fingers away from the blade as serious injury may result" So... if your dumb enough to stick your hand in a meat grinder don't complain when it hands you hamburg back.
I would love to see the SawStop technology on all saws. It's a shame the industry did not see the wisdom in doing so when they were offered it. Now they SHOULD have to pay dearly for it.
As to those of you who that can afford machines like that, good for you. I have a cheap (old) Craftsman. I know enough to respect my tools regardless of what the name on them is. I also own several Ryobi tools, they make a fine tool. Woodworking is my hobby not my livelihood. If I had to make a living with them I would probably spend the extra on better machines. Then again if it were my livelihood I could probably afford them too.
I agree with the comment above that this frivolous lawsuit will make it difficult to address real manufacturing defects/failures.
This story just astounds me. As a recent table saw statistic (moderate cut on my left hand), I know first hand (no pun intended) that table saw accidents can be frightening. But I never gave thought to suing Ridgid because of my injury. My injury was my fault, plain and simple. I'm guessing that of the tens of thousands of annual table saw injuries documented in ER's around the world, the vast majority are probably due to pilot error, and have nothing to do with the tool. All tools are inherently dangerous, much in the same way that your kitchen cutlery is dangerous. Simply, a tool used the wrong way, or used in a careless manner will hurt you. Even if you use them the right way, tools can still cause injury. I'm not saying that injuries are inevitable, but they are a part of the hobby/business of woodworking we enjoy and it take active measures to mitigate injury.
I can understand Gass making the above comment. It's his way of saying I told you so. Not professional, but it happens. However, if there's any truth to the comments above that he actually supported/subsidized the lawsuit against Ryobi, I would be astounded. Because of my aforementioned injury, I've been contemplating getting a SawStop. My decision would most definitely be affected by his involvement in the lawsuit.
Finally, I too expect that this decision will be overturned on appeal, and once again, the only winners will be the lawyers.
I'd be suprised if this award held during the appeals process. Just think of the precedent it would set. For example, anyone who chose to buy a car without optional airbags could sue the manufacturer for not making the airbags standard.
I think one reason juries make awards like this is that it is like winning the lottery for the plaintiff. And at some level, the jury members each think that maybe some day it will be their turn to win the pot of gold.
I myself have cut off part of a finger from a Craftsman radial arm saw. There would have been merit to sue because there was a default with the product that Sears later did recall, offering $100 to turn in the saw. I fixed the problem but using a saw is dangerous as well as many other tools of the trade. Caution and common sense is the name of the game. I wasn't cautious and it cost me. A lawsuit in this case is ....stupid, but don't blame the man for suing, blame the judge for allowing it to go fourth in the first place. This is something that is happening in all parts of our society now, nobody wants to blame themselves it is always somebody else's fault.
I think that this stinks real bad whos fault is it that he did not go and get the Delta that has this and I read a piece the other day that says their are 50 more cases to come to trail yet so what is going to happen to the woodworking industry if every time someone gets cut on a saw is it going to be like this. What about all the skillsaws and bandsaws that are out there? We had a discussion about this at our last woodworkers meeting and we are going to send a letter I dont know where yet because 1 of our members is trying to find the best place to send it we are all going to sign it. This is an unjust to Ryobi and I think it should stop here and now. James
Ha, the new America. And then they wonder why no manufacurer can afford to stay here with their factories. It just exposes the real reason for Americas woes, Lawyers and liberals, and Massachuseets is the epitome for the worst of both.
American justice system is insane.
I think this case points out (yet again) how smart lawyers can pull the wool over judges' eyes, and the 'winner' of the case (really the lawyers) is the wrong party. Somehow the silent majority who believe that people are responsible for their own actions have to get this imperative rule of life across to the justice system before it's too late. The cost of living is just going to increase exponentially as manufacturers pass on the cost of both making things idiot-proof (impossible) and insurance costs to consumers.
Perhaps it's time for an online petition for folks to sign - it would make the Guiness Book of Records - and (optimistically) might make a difference. Trinity.
I own a Sawstop table saw. It comes with riving knife, anti-kick back mechanism, blade guard, dust collection, and an emergency brake.
Ryobi was well aware they could add similar features to their saws, and chose not to. Much is being made of the folks at Sawstop being "sleazy" and "greedy"; the same can be said of manufacturers of tablesaws without this necessary safety equipment, who don't add it in order to keep their saws at the lowest possible price point. Ryobi and the others have been selling defective saws from the time the technology first became available, and they failed to install it. Eventually, the emergency brake mechanism will be compusory, same as seatbelts, airbags, and bicycle helmets here in Alberta.
Good on ya, Sawstop!
This law suit should not have been allowed. We all know the dangers of table.radial and bad saws and treat the with respect.
When i was at school(40yrs ago) are teacher would use the cane on anyone who did not work the way he taught us. He demonstrated with a coked sausage and said look no blood but if its your hand or fingre it will bleed. Yes we never forgot and only 1 boy did and he did it only once. The sawsafe is a brillant idea and should be made ava but like all things it costs.
Taking your time and working safely will stop most accidents
So what did this guy do to damage him self and should he not take atleast90% of the blame if it was an unsafe act he knew the risk as we all do some doutful cuts at time but we know the risk and if we get hurt it is our own fault
The next thing will be a person climbing a mountain, falling, and getting injured or killed and the state (where the mountain happens to be located in) getting sued because the state didn't make the mountain "safe" so people couldn't get hurt/killed when they fall. The best way to not cut your hand on a table saw is to not use a table saw. After the lawyers are done with the table saw companies--to make sure the saws are "safe"--each saw will be so expensive no one will be able to buy one (scientific and technology advances cost money).
Steven W. Lindeman, M.D.
I haven't read all 181 post but agree with the over all consensus of posters so I won't repeat what has been said. Due to not reading all the post this may have already been said, but one other thought to throw in is, if lawsuits like this are allowed and awarded the end result will be that all of us pay much more for our tools. My family and I have been in the medical equipment business for over 25 years and this is exactly what has happened in our business. When people find out how much a wheelchair cost and comment of how high the price is, I point out to them how many lawsuits there have been against companies that make wheelchairs (a whole lot of bogus ones like this lawsuit) this results in product liability, lawyer fees and all the other very high expense of defending yourself, being added into the cost of the product. Medical equipment is too high, but a good portion of that is directly due to lawsuits. I hear of lawsuits like this one and I am afraid the government is going to take what I do for a hobby and make it so expensive that I will not be able to enjoy doing it any longer, due to I can't afford to. I guess lawyers and folks with their fingers cut off will be the only ones who can.
Nothing left to say ! The woodworkers of America have spoken, At least we now know where the moral thread of our Country thrives. Forest Gump " Stupid is as Stupid Does " or something like that. I actually enjoyed the outrage of views, Next step with the courts will be ARE YOU A WOODWORKER, OR HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ?? answer YES YOU ARE RELEASED FROM SERVING ON THIS JURY WHY ?? YOU ARE BIASED..GO HOME WE DON'T NEED YOU GrampaRon
Jamie; I am in complete agreement with you and with probably 95% of the other woodworkers who have responded to this story.
In my way of thinking, this story is a prime example of the big difference between the Legal System and the Justice System. And there is indeed a DIFFERENCE. Too often the Legal system is used to try to obtain justice. The legal system is making everyone responsible for the actions of a few stupid, inept or careless persons.
That having been said, I am considering the replacement of my table saw with a SawStop. The reason - I have been using woodworking tools and machines for over 70 years without anything more than a little nick. I was well taught safety in a school class shop. Having turned 80 last year and still woodworking, I am more aware of my slightly reduced capabilities and lessening attention span and I want to continue enjoying my shop activities with all digits intact for a long time yet.
I see some issues. 1) The saw manufactures will all beat a path to saw stop. 2) Everyone will now be even more reckless because the have a "Blade Break" to save their ass. Tools are dangerous, woodworking can be dangerous. If you choose one or both of those options you will be subject to dangers. It is you who is needs to deal with (be following proper procedures) the dangers. A portable table saw (like the one in the picture) is more dangerous than a shop model (cabinet saw). The direct drive and lack of horsepower makes the saw more likely to cause injury (my opinion. I have never seen a portable saw with the safety equipment AFTER be puchased. I have had comments made because I set-up a make shift finger board and pushstick on a jobsite that I needed to use the company tablesaw (a portable) In the end all manufactures need to sell a product with reasonable safety equipment. It is the end user who needs to be responsible fo the use of the safety equipment and following procedure.
As the owner of an equipment rental company, I find this decision disappointing but not surprising. The implications are such that if anyone hurts themselves with a piece of equipment, then it is the responsibility of the equipment manufacturer. Nevermind that you chose the piece of equipment, and chose NOT to buy the one with more safety features.
I have encountered this mentality before. Whether it is the laborer who steps into the trench with a running trencher or the operator who stands underneath the load of a jammed forklift, the jury usually decides the case based on pity rather than common sense. So much so, that most insurance companies settle before heading to court. It is aggravating beyond belief when you know that the ignorant actions of the operator are at fault, yet you must absorb the financial damages.
The net result of this case will be that all insurance companies will settle tablesaw injuries before heading to court and workers comp insurance premiums will rise.
I find it hard to accept rewarding someone who through their own actions and negligence created this injury and then benefited from it. It is like hot coffee held between two legs, the warning should be if you cannot comprehend the safety features and common sense to operate this machine-you are asked not to use it by the manufacture.
One thing that many people have missed is that SawStop was simply NOT AVAILABLE ON ANY SAW in 2003. It wasn't introduced until about 2005.
Could it have been available in 2003 from Ryobi? Sure. Ryobi had been negotiating with SawStop well before the saw was produced. They had completed a contract and it was just waiting for Ryobi to sign. RYOBI NEVER SIGNED. THEY BACKED OUT AT THE LAST MINUTE AND CHOSE NOT TO PRODUCE THE PRODUCT.
I expect that all of that was presented to the jury. That just might have been what caused them to side with the injured man.
I would also point out that Ryobi was not defenseless. They are a huge company and had access to the best lawyers. They lost fair and square.
Could this guy have prevented the accident? Yes. Could Ryobi have produced a saw that would have prevented the accident? Yes. The jury found for the victim. Deal with it.
Absolutely ridiculous - Stupidity and a lack of care caused the injury. If he wanted the Saw Stop technology, he should have bought a Saw Stop instead
If you're just plain intent on slicing up the blame pie here, at least make sure you serve a big slice heaped with ice cream to Ryobi. It is frustrating to read all of the callous criticism here of the operator, SawStop and the lawyers.
You don't have to believe that the operator was careful enough to feel compassion for the terrible injuries he suffered. You don't have to like SawStop's marketing methods to appreciate the innovative system they developed.
And really, the lawyer bashing? Ryobi could have decided to spend a few extra dollars on each saw to make you, me and Mr. Osorio much, much safer, but chose not to.
Corporations do not have a conscience. If you made a hope chest for your infant daughter to keep her toys in, you would install a safety closure device to protect her because you care about her safety. When manufactuerers install that same safety device, it's because they got sued with the help of lawyers. Corporations don't care about your daughter, they care about profit. Once they lost a lawsuit, they had to add the safety device in order to continue to have affordable insurance.
--OK to recap--
guns don't kill people, people kill people.
Cars and roller-blades kill people when they are unfortunately MISUSED.
Did our unfortunate Mr. Osorio PAY for a flesh detecting device? Did he make a phone call, search the internet to see if HE could retrofit HIS SAW for HIS JOBSITE and His Work STYLE.
My son called me last week to tell me about one of their employees that cut off 2 of his fingers and damaged 2 more with a table saw with the blade set at full height---to cut 3/4" WOOD FLOORing. Are we Noticing a Trend Here?
The old carpenter's rule---Don't have the blade extend above the material more than you are willing to cut into YOURSELF--isn't just about making a nifty cut in the product.
Mr. Osorio, I can feel your pain....having had 2 run-ins with circular saws throughout my career----both times initiated by my breaking more than 1 rule at a time. Guess what?
I sued no one. I was self employed, had insurance disability insurance. My general contractor and home-owner (his client) were never threatened with litigation.
I was treated fairly and graciously, by them, and given the opportunity to stay involved in the process and supervise for the general contractor during my re-hab.
Our unfortunate “wish I were a carpenter” needs to take a seat on the short bus with the “hot coffee in my lap” lady.
That is the most pathetic thing I've heard in a while. That's like a driver filing a law suit against an auto manufacturer for driving off the road and hitting a tree!
I feel bad for the guys at "Saw Stop". Here, they come up with a revolutionary product on their own, they take the risks and market it themselves and are being rewarded for their hard work and ingenuity. Now, because of the legal system siding with idiots like this, what will happen to the Saw Stop company's marketability once the government steps in and makes "their" sensory technology a standard? Don't get me wrong, I'm all about quality products, but it should be up to the consumer whether or not we want to pay extra for the equipment of our choice, and companies nor consumers should have to pay the price. Just another example of how one person can ruin it for everybody else. -TLR
i have been doing woodwork for 45 years, and got my share of cuts. i still have my first table saw that i bought when i was 14 years old. made by sears. what safety stuff. you are either a woodworker or someone that should not own tools or use them. wonder if the idiot, and i mean idiot, would take his wife's curling iron and set in a tub full of water to test GFI outlet.
What's next? Someone bringing a lawsuit against the tool manufacturers because the sawdust in the shop from the power tools is a carcinogen for certain types of wood? Let's see, pretty soon we'll have a bunch of tools in the shop that can't cut your fingers off, can't put any sawdust into the air, can't damage your hearing for putting out too many decibels, can't throw any chips in case you are too stupid to wear eye protection, and, oh yeah, can't cut wood. The choice I make about the tools I buy is mine, not the government's. The safety precautions I choose to take are mine, not dictated by some lawyer. From all the posts below, I can see that all of us woodworkers are passionate about what we do as a hobby. It's pretty obvious that there wasn't any clear-headed woodworkers on that jury. I hope the story comes out just as loudly when the appeal happens and the case gets thrown out.
- Mike in Colorado
Aaah, my friends you miss the gist of what is to be.
It is the RIGHT of every American to be free of suffering and misfortune. As I write surely there is legislation pending that provides to Mr. Osorio ,and all others who lack the resources to buy SawStop, a free federally approved SawStop 'like' saw.
This Save The Fingers bill will be funded by taxing the excess profits in the flesh cutting saw industry and thus provide the peace of mind we all are guaranteed.
We'll need to actually approve such legislation before we can know the actual law itself.
Perhaps Carlos never mind a Sawstop, Carlos should've been given an IQ test at time of purchase- that at least might have proved that he was too stupid to own a table saw.
Yet another frivolous court decision. Isn't it too bad that stupidity isn't painful?
I'm amazed by this! Is anyone actually responsible for anything they do anymore? I don't see any mention of contributory negligence in the report, but seriously, if you are using tools regardless of whether they are top of the range or budget tools, you should always use them as though they don't have any safety features whatsoever.
Both at work and at home I've done some awful mischief to myself, but I've never considered that someone other than myself or chance was to blame.
Looking at the sawstop technology briefly, it's a good idea, but it's not fool proof by any stretch of the imagination. The plaintiff above would still sue because it doesn't provide continuous repeatability, i.e. you have to stop work and replace the sawstop cartridge each time it is triggered. It's not necessarily always convenient to do that, maybe you've run out of cartridges and need to buy some, or you're nearly finished a job.
The problem with lawsuits like this is it makes it much more difficult for people who have genuinely suffered because of a defect in design or manufacture, rather than the absence of a safety feature.
Safety features actually make people take more chances and risks around machinery than the absence of them. I've seen it done and couldn't believe it, the response I got was "It's got a safety system that prevents that". No machine should ever be considered to be safe because of a feature.
The legal profession is wholly to blame for instilling the whole "It's not your fault you're injured, it's someone else's" belief in people. I wonder how many lawyers would accept a case where someone who lost a case like this decided to sue the original lawyer.
I saw a documentary on the phenomenon of "no-win, no-fee" legal injury claims in Britain recently. It has left town councils in an awful way, because they cannot do anything without first considering the risk to anyone. If one of the cases is anything to go by, they soon won't be able to allow people to walk on footpaths in case they trip over something, or enjoy the public parks in case a tree falls on them! Yes, someone claimed against a council because a branch banged them on the head!
It is the gASSES of the world and the people of that ilk who have the finances and wherewithall to find an attorney who will persue this type of litigation. My guess is after he received his patent and gained notoriety among sawmakers as a nut gASS began looking for a story about someone hurt using a saw. He then put his legals on the unfortunate stooge who hurt himself and they convinced him there was money in it. They then weasled their way infront of the most liberal judge they could find and "whellah"...stooge gets 1.5 mil, lawyers get their 3rd and gASS gets the publicity he desires. This is how our justice system works. There is only one solution...SHOOT ALL THE LAWYERS.
I think of it this way-- if I had two tablesaws in my shop,
a Delta and
Which one would I choose to let one of my sons use (when they are old enough)
Which one would I choose to let a neighbor or good friend use?
Which one would I choose to let a client use if they were paying me to teach them?
The technology isn't just "nannying" it is good sense, and anyone that thinks otherwise should take a good hard look at what "self responsibility" really means. The other companies chose to take a chance that this "expensive" technology would never see sawdust... they lost that bet and are now going to pay the price for choosing to not even give us the option for a MUCH safer device. This is the reason for government regulation is instances like this; the government has to step in because the companies will never volunteer to do so.
Juat my humble opinion,
OMG, I just took a moment to read the full article from the Boston Globe... A hardwood flooring installer? Are you kidding me? Those guys should be banned from television on the home-imporovement channels. The first thing they do when they get a saw is take off the blade guard and splitter! Geez... I wonder what is going to happen next!
It is very unfortunate that people can't take responsibility for their actions, even more that the American courts reward such ignorance!
And don't think that Canada is free from such nonsense. It happens here too just not as frequently and hopefully for less ridiculous cases!
You hurt yourself, see a doctor and move on. No company can prevent misuse and they all publish warnings in their manuals. Read it, learn form it and work at it. Nuff said.
What a bunch of garbage. Personal responsibility and the fact that the guy was cheap and didn't pay for that technology should have thrown this case out. This is a great injustice to all Americans; soon we'll be forced to pay higher prices for tablesaws because a few are just plain stupid. I for one can't afford the Stop Saw. I want to badly, but for the moment it's just out of reach. Maybe someday soon.
My first reaction is that you get what you pay for. If the budget brand included that technology then it wouldn't be a budget saw anymore. How typical of a common sampling of the public to assume that we all should have proprietary technology and it should be near-free. Saw-stop doesn't even make a portable saw with this technology, and for that reason alone the case should have been thrown out.
On second thought, this says something about the marketing of Ryobi tools. They typically include more gimicky features the the other brands as value-added selling points. These features give a false sense of quality. They cause a inexperienced and careless user to feel like the saw "has it covered"...is "loaded with technology" and that with that saw, they are a pro. With the quantity of business that Ryobi does, this 1.5mil is small and can be rolled into the cost of doing business.
If the flesh detecting technology meant so much to this man why did he not seek it out and purchase a SawStop saw to begin with? Obviously the person either didn't know about it or just deceided to buy cheap and take their chances. When you make a decision based on money don't blame somebody else when it goes wrong.
I cut my thumb off and the doctors had to sew it back on.
wonder if I could get some one to get me a large some of money from it.
Do I get the money from the saw maker?.
I forgot to say that I was useing the saw it just didn't jump up and cut me.
Nothing was wrong with the saw, it just happened.
I seems like that some people are just looking for something to sew over.
Ryobi may have lost the first round on this, but the appeal will go before a judge...And then the question should be asked:
"did you read your instruction manual?"
" did it say keep your hands at least six inches away?"
" why didn't you do this?"
"If you knew the technology was available, why didn't you buy that saw?"
Ryobi most likely will win on appeal...
I can't imagine how a company is responsible for someone else's patented technology. While Sawstop's technology is a marvel and likely will one day be incorporated as a standard feature on every saw one day, if it isn't a mandated safety requirement, I just can't see how they won. Maybe Sawstop ought to sue Mr. Osorio for not buying their product? Maybe the State of New York ought to be sued for allowing saws to be sold which lack Sawstop's safety technology? Perhaps if Mr. Osorio had cut off his knee, the court could've more easily seen that he didn't have a "leg" to stand on.
. . . my mentor father has told me many times, " . . . remember to read, understand, and follow all the safety rules that come with your power tools and the most important of these . . . "
dharlock wrote: "Maybe we need more government legislation to protect us from being stupid."
I know this was written in jest but somewhere along the way society has taken a wrong turn with so much legislation being enacted taking the place of ration thinking and common sense.
You see it at some street corners where local councils have errected a dozen street signs on a single corner in an attempt to keep up with the growing number of ways a motorist can screw up. What they fail to realise is that when they errect a dozen signs on a single corner it becomes a dangerous distraction.
Unfortunately this all leads us further down the road to Stupidity. The more the government legislates to protect us from ourselves the dumber we become, a spiraling cycle. We need greater, wiser minds to get involved, minds that are not so quick to write laws for circumstances that really just required a little common sense and thought.
Of course this award is ridiculous, but responsibility for the decision to do so should be directed to the jury. A lot of blame is directed at one group or another, but personal responsiblity applies to not only the user of a tool, but those make the decision to grant such compensation.
If someone with a Sawstop tried to cut a piece of wood with his nose and it cut his face would he have Legal Grounds for a Lawsuit? If I'm not mistaken you still do receive some kind of abrasion or flesh wound with the Sawstop , Don't you?
I do wonder if Mr Osorio approached an attorney, or if an attorney sought out Mr Osorio ??. My expectation is the later.
To change this entitlement / nanny state mentality, it will take time, but a good first step going forward is to make sure you never elect another attorney to a political office. Now actually would be a good time to elect accountants and perhaps a few good woodworkers based on the comments I have read here.
The PURPOSE of a saw is to cut what you put in front of it.
If you don't want something cut, don't put it in front of the saw.
If you don't want your hand cut, keep your hand away from the saw.
If you cut your hand on the saw, it's not a "manufacturing" defect.
It is some form of "user" defect (ignorance, carelessness, inattention, etc.).
If I was independantly wealthy...I'd sue the lawyers for screwing up our system! I'm not so I'll try not to think about it!
Not surprising to see the right-wing rants appearing here as they do everywhere. Two quick facts about tort reform: most people who get injured by poorly manufactured products do NOT sue; and there are several states that have had major tort reform (e.g. Texas), and have little or no benefit to show for it regarding costs, court schedules, or really anything else. These extreme cases always make the headlines, but the number of people injured by actual, foreseeable product failures is staggering.
As to this case: It will no doubt be going on to appeal, as most of these do. Highly unlikely that it will be decided in the man's favor at a higher court, for these two reasons: He had the option of buying the other saw, and the "reasonableness standard" says that manufacturer's don't have to have every latest feature on their products, just the ones most common, reasonable, and expected. Most saws coming with a splitter or riving knife, and a saw guard.
Saw Stop has been supporting these lawsuits, lobbying for their product, and trying to cash in. They have every right to do that, but come off a bit sleazy in my opinion.
Every car does not come with side airbags. Every product does not come with all the latest safety features, and no one expects every manufacturer to have every feature, especially when those features are patent-restricted.
I agree in this case that the liability lies with the owner/user of the saw. But let's stop throwing every liability case into the bin and assume that it's all about bad lawyers, bad juries and greedy people. There are enough shoddy greedy sleazy people on both sides.
I cannot agree more with the other comments below. All I can say is I'm glad I live in Canada where that case would have been tossed out as a frivolous action. After all, the Dr's fees and hospitalization would have been free. Payment enough for such stupidity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I can only imagine the nasty injury but running any power tool has an inherant risk of injury. My saw does not have flesh detection however if it did I would treat it with the same respect and follow all safety precautions. Based on the merits of information provided in this case it sounds as though the award was in part a sympathitic jesture. Folks, we all pay for this when we go shoping or buy insurance. The only thing that will stop this is tort reform.
In response to ‘MarkMacLeod’, like I said if you are not smart enough or careful enough to use the machines then DO NOT USE them!
Every user is responsible for their actions. It is not a car that kills but the person operating it! A car is built to get from one point to another. The driver is in control of the car. If you don’t take care of it or drive correctly, it is the drivers fault not the cars or the manufacturer of that car (except to Toyota and their technology of the self accelerating car). A saw is built to cut. It does not care what it cuts (know where your fingers are). The operator has to be smart enough know the limits.
Technology is good but there are always glitches(EX: Toyota). You can’t think you are always safe with it.
I have taught my son to use all my woodworking machines like I was taught without all these bells and whistles. He now has son, my grandson and he will use my machines likewise. The wisdom and learning will be passed down again generation to generation…
Good luck to Ryobi. I stand behind you.
Whoooooa! Let's not put the cart before the horse here gentlemen! Does anyone know or did the lawyers check? -to see if this guy is a citizen of the U.S.?
Maybe we need the technology to check for 'Brain' engaged and 'safety first' measures in place before the machines can be turned on!
When I was about 11 or 12, we neighborhood kids used to go to the shop of a private school nearby. The teacher used to let us make things, and even use the machines. I had been taught how to safely use the big table saw, but, of course, I was a big expert, and didn't need the blade guard. One afternoon I was making many repetitious cuts for a spice box, and managed to stick my right thumb into the blade. It chewed up the 9 to 12 o'clock part of my right thumb, and the doctor just snipped off the mess that was left there.
I had to apologize to the shop teacher for not following his rules, and for causing him so much grief. It never occurred to my parents to sue.
It didn't put me off woodworking -- or table saws -- but it did impress upon me the importance of taking serious things seriously, and being responsible for what I had control over. You rob a kid of a sense of personal responsibility -- which is personal power -- and you are a thief, indeed.
Maybe it is time to take some of the money from S.E.T.I.
and re-direct it to S.T.I.
There is a universal "human flesh detector" for every tool ever created by man. It's called the "brain". Every mammal is supposed to have one. If you don't have one...file a complaint with the manufacturer. And, while you are awaiting resolution of your compliant, stay away from tools.
Get real! This is a perfect example of why our country is such a mess. Each of us, individually, are responsible for our own actions. If we do something we know we shouldn't or isn't the best possible way to do it, we alone are responsible for when things go wrong.
If we knowingly drive a car with mechanical issues, it is no one's fault but our own. If we use a saw or any kind of a machine, we know the risks going in. There is always the possibility of injury with these types of machines.
The real crime here is the lawyer and his client who started the suit. The court that allowed it to get to verdit. And the jury who awarded it. I'm betting each person on that jury was thinking "well, if we give him a big payout for being stupid, then when I do something stupid I can sue and get's lots of money, too.
Responsibility and accountablilty are two of the most important things we have as a society. Sadly, they are all but dead. Every person in this mockery of justice needs to be held responsible and accountable for their actions. Stop making the rest of us pay for someone else's stupid mistakes!
Too be we can't do a "citizen's appeal" and get stuff like this overturned. Maybe disbar a few lawyers while we are at it.
Mercedes-Benz has a technology that detects the presence of a car in front of you and, if necessary, slows your car down to maintain a safe distance. I understand it will also apply the brakes, if necessary, to avoid running into the car ahead of you.
Using the logic of this lawsuit, if someone without that technology (which is almost everyone) runs into the back of a car while driving, they could sue their car manufacturer.
De facto - The logic here is that every manufacturer must implement every safety device known to man into everything they sell. CRAZY!!
Here's another example of what's wrong with this country. Another individual not taking personal responsibility for his actions and a jury treating the legal system like the lottery. I'm betting that the members of this jury are the same ones that are complaining about the high costs of insurance, whether it be healthcare, auto, or any other. People wonder why things are so expensive but when you have to factor decisions like this into the cost of your products and doing business it's a no-brainer. The technology is out there but apparently whoever purchased the saw didn't think it was worth the extra cost. So therefore, Ryobi is to blame? We as consumers make choices every day as to what features we're willing to pay for and what risks we're willing to accept when buying a product, whether it be a power tool, auto, or anything else. Quality and safety features come at a cost. If there was an inherent flaw in the design of the product then they should be held liable, but I'm sure that wasn't the case. I hope this verdict gets overturned on appeal, if possible. If I were the judge in the case I would've set aside the verdict. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! And let the ambulance chasers get some honest work.
So, was this guy using the appropriate safety guards when he sliced his fingers off? Did he not have a choice when purchasing his saw, whether to get the SawStop or his inevitable meat grinder?
How many of the jurors were woodworkers?
I will be the first to admit that the SawStop is a great idea for anyone and an ever greater idea in shops with unskilled labourers. It is also a nice saw in general. However, since you are able to override the sensor, in order to cut green wood or conductive material such as non-ferrous metals, you would still be at the mercy of your own stupidity!
I have a 60 year old Delta Unisaw...
So the guy knew about the technology, bought a saw without it (cost saving?), did something stupid then gets a big payout because the manufacturer did not forsee his stupidity? What next? It is time people start taking responsibility for their actions. No wonder the cost of product is so high-manufacturers have to cover the anticipated lawsuits. Even if the manufacturer is vindicated they have thousands or perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars tied up just defending themselves. Get real people. Wish I was on that jury.
view from Australia.
I agree with most respondents - what sort of idiot buys a saw thinking it can't cut you? - and why pay them good money that will get built into the price of all our tools.
I was going to ridicule the US legal system, but:
the blog has is funded by google ads. It had two Australian ads from ambulance-chasing no win no fee lawyers on the page
Your system's bad, we are catching you.
Our system has got to be the worst in the world! We sue companies because of our own stupidity but let murderers and child molesters walk the streets. We encourage radical groups to speak out against what we believe but make it illegal to say a prayer in school.
I think I'll jump off of a building and then my wife can sue God for not warning me about gravity.
I will go out of my way now to buy Ryobi tools. And if I'm stupid enough not to realize that a tool that can cut wood can also cut me than I deserve to lose a finger or two.
Ah you are all crazy - or a majority of them.
The reasonable man test is "is there a technology out there that will reduce the risk of injury in a product or machine that has a known risk (and now a preventable risk) associated with its use?"
So there is - and SawStop has it and I am sure they are willing to sell it for a price - just as each of you would be if you had thought of it and done the R&D
Does Sawstop have to sell it to other manufacturers? I don't know if there is any legal imperative to do so - there may be an ethical reason to sell it to other manufacturers.
If other manufacturers don't buy it or can't come up with their own, they may be out of business. It really depends on how much they want to stay in business. It may be that all other manufacturers are now at risk of being out of business - because their technology isn't good enough. Does anyone remember the Corvair or the Edsel?
The idea that each user is the only one responsible for risks is quite simply - stupid. Would you drive a car with a known mechanical problem that has a known fix? No, probably not. Well maybe YOU would but would you let your grandkid?
In the course of the last nearly half a century, I have three times encountred the blade of a table saw. On none of those occasions did the fault lie with the manufacturer of the saw, but, rather, with my own carelessness and inattention
Perhaps that this verdict will make saw manufacturer to get licensed, or to build their own "saw stop" security.
I want to buy this kind of saw, but here in europe, there are no distributors.. What a shame.. My fingers are priceless..
I'm not going to waste your time with a lot of words, although there are some very good comments on this topic.
If I am injured in an accident while driving my 68 Camaro, am I to sue GM because the Camaro has no airbags?
Only in America! I can only hope that the Canadian courts reject such a ludicrous claim.
WOW! What a prime example of too many lawyers without any legitimate work. Goes back to the old " What do you call the Titanic sinking with a full load of lawyers?"
ans: A damm good start!
If anyone wonders why insurance costs are so high, and why we are so disillusioned with our governing bodies, they are not tuned in to things like this. The guy should not be allowed to use new paper as he may cut his finger and sue the paper company. Why is Health insurance so high in the USA? Because idiots on juries award exorbitant sums to lawyers (they get most of it). Same scenario here. Too bad the guy got hurt, but perhaps one should know enough to keep your fingers out of the way (been there done that; dumb ass mistake. Maybe I can sue Sears for not coming out and adding the new technology to my 40 year old table saw!). Accidents happen, but most all were preventable; The majority are caused by inattention or stupidity on the part of the injured party.
I agree, the inmates are in charge.
Gee, I feel better already!!
I'm not aware of technology that detects whether or not you have a brain. If all tools are to be made so that there is no chance to hurt yourself, there won't be any tools.
So if I need some cash, all I need to do is go out in my shop and find a sharp object that is not protected by a manufactures guard. What if i'm to stupid to put the guard back on after I use it. (sounds like a problem for my lawyer). People use the since God gave you. If you do not have any, stick to building things with Legos. WARNING Legos are small and can be a chocking hazard, so do not put them in your mouth.
I'm glad to read all of the sincable comments on this blog. It just reinforces what I already know. My follow woodworkers are down to earth adults who take credit for what they do well and take responsibility for their own mistakes. It's unfortunate that we still have that 1% that will cast a dark shadow on the rest of us.
If this award is considered taxable, which I know most of it is: $1.5 million - 40% tax = $600K going to the government. Government must be paid before lawyer. Now $1.5 million - 50% to the lawyers for their work = $150K to the plaintiff for being stupid or careless. ($750k - 40% for taxes paid by the lawyers ='s another $300K to the government) 750K + 300K = 1.050 million for taxes. Wonder how much the state and city gets out of the original?
Ever wonder why the government (state and federal) made up mainly of lawyers, allows these lawsuits to happen?
Just a thought.
It,s obvious to me that mandatory safety classes are in our future, thus fulfilling our requirements for "big brother" to grant us a woodworking permit--if we clear the background check, of coarse.
If this award is considered taxable, which I know most of it is: $1.5 million - 40% tax = $600K going to the goverment. Goverment must be paid before lawyer. Now $1.5 million - 50% to the lawyers for their work = $150K to the plaintiff for being stupid or careless. ($750k - 40% for taxes paid by the lawyers ='s another $300K to the goverment) 750K + 300K = 1.050 million for taxes. Wonder how much the state and city gets out of the original?
Ever wonder why the goverment (state and federal) made up mainly of lawyers, allows these lawsuits to happen?
Just a thought.
I hope this guy doesnt buy a gun
As scandalous as the "hot coffee" suit (as mentioned) or the one against the small arms maker when someone shot themselves after leaving a bullet in the chamber. A travesty of common law and the "reasonable man" test.
But you can imagine how the questioning went:
Q: "Did you speak with SawStop?"
Q: "Did you add their technology to your saws?"
Q: "Why not?"
A: "Talks broke down"
Q: "Over what?"
Statement: "So your company was too cheap to protect the fingers of millions of innocent American wood workers!"
Framed as corporate greed versus some poor schmo, of course the jury took the baited hook. Never mind as everyone notes, the Ryobi is an entry level saw. The fact that they knew of the technology and rejected it because it was too expensive makes them guilty, even though had they added it the schmo would not have been able to (or wanted to buy) the more expensive saw.
Tools are dangerous--how could this be news? And there is not enough safety equipment in the world to compensate for stupidity, carelessness, neglect or over familiarity that breeds contempt (and ends in accidents)
Does this mean I can sue Stanley for not having flesh-detecting devices on their hammers? This is another example of what can happen if we let the inmates run the insane asylum. There must be tort reform, and it must become clear in the statutes that a purchaser/user is responsible to understand the operation and dangers of whatever it is they buy, and responsible for the consequences of using the device improperly. This ruling will make, for example, all automobile manufacturers responsible for every accident. Imagine the requirements list to make it impossible for an idiot to hurt him/herself or someone else with a car! Or even a kitchen knife, or any other tool or instrument.
The Sawstop is not the end all solution to safety. Every piece of technology has a failure rate. It is simply a matter of time before there is a failure and a Sawstop user is seriously injured or maimed. The great thing from a product liability lawyers perspective is that Sawstop through their advertising, demos, actions along with Gass's comments related to this suit have set themselves up for a whopping suit down the road when that one brake that had some kind of defect fails to engage and a Sawstop user loses a finger. The more of brakes on the market coupled with time guarantees a failure sometime. Plus people keep saws for a long time. What happens when we find out that some part of the technology degrades with time? I can just envision the comments from Sawstop's legal staff now.
If Mr. Osorio was planning on being less safe, he probably should have probably purchased the SawStop in the first place, it's obvious he knew about the technology. Anyone who is serious about woodworking knows the dangers associated with it. Just because someone does not either exercise safety or purchase a safer tool, is a choice, not the responsibility of the tool manufacture. Legislation like this is what makes things so expensive, and we all know how expensive it already is. I hope others do not follow this guys lead, we can't afford for the industry to "idiot" proof all of out tools.
It's pretty basic. Not even arguable, basic common sense. If you want to be protected with flesh sensing technology, you buy a SawStop. If you can't afford, or are not interested in that technology, you buy a standard saw that has been used for decades, and assume the risk.
I've been a cabinetmaker all of my working life, 35 + years, I cut my thumb on my PM 66 about 12 years ago, doing a bunch of repetative cuts. This was due to being inattentive and probably overconfident from using the saw for years. Was this the table saw manufacturer's fault? If you would answer yes to this, you are a very stupid human being and not worthy of breathing the air I do. I was using the saw, I put my thumb in harms way, I got it stiched up, and life went on.
No person or entity on earth should compensate me for my stupidity.
This lawsuit proves beyond any doubt that TORT Reform needs to be addressed and juries need to take a common sense or stupidity test before being allowed to take part in a courtroom proceeding. "My two cents"
This is unbelievable and very frustrating. No politics but this is why we need TORT Reform.
A way to solve this problem is when the saw or any equipment is purchased, the consumer needs to sign a release form acknowledging the understanding of operating and safety using this product. Because we live in the USA (U Sue America) the form must be written in 200 languages so we do not offend anyone for not having the document and training video in language of their understanding.
This is crazy and outrageous!
Remember McDonald's coffee is very hot and it is just as hot served at my house. Do not sue me if I do not have labels my cups. I just warned everyone.
If millions of these saw brakes are sold, how many will malfunction over that time and how many people will start exercising less caution using their saws as a result of their new safety device?
You can still get hurt with a flying workpiece. Would the money be better spent giving mandatory safety classes than buying an expensive to buy and expensive to replace safety device. Will expensive to buy and replace safety devices be required for all dangerous shop tools? Which additional shop tools will be excluded?
On the other hand, there are just some days every once in a while when you don't quite have your wits about you and you really shouldn't be using your saw.
I'll bet the lawyers made sure there wasn't a single woodworker on that jury and instead chose people predisposed to be frightened by "loud, scary power tools". That's how the justice game works; tell me the outcome you want and I'll bargain for a group of people likely to hand it to you.
I wonder if this inventor has ginned up business by farming himself out to lawyers as an "expert witness" and ends up with a cut of that settlement?
I'm other one of those guys who got cut on a tablesaw. All it took was a fraction of a second of inattention. Since SawStop came out it's been high on my list of wants. I haven't bought one yet but their advertising campaign has made me more aware of the dangers and made me a safer woodworker in the process.
This idiot in Mass. is part of what's gone wrong in this country. Nobody accepts personal responsibility.
A saw should not be sold with a blade. Then it would be a nice piece of furniture. A saw blade could be bought for the saw but should not have teeth (they could cut you). If you want to cut something with the blade you would have to have it ground. After YOU get a permit or license to have bright shiny objects within your reach and have proper supervision available you could begin to CUT things.
I bought my saw to cut wood and rumors are it will cut meat also but I have never tried that theory I leave it up to the butcher (who hasn't sued for cutting his finger with a knife yet).
This is a ridiculous lawsuit. I can't believe a bunch of clowns awarded his stupidity with $1.5 large. I bet he goes out and buys another cheap saw and spends the rest on rims for his truck. I have been using portable table saws for years without injury. There is a reason the plates around saw blades are a different color. It means bad, It means stop, or danger Will Robinson, danger. I agree with everyone that says what happened to taking responsibility for your own carelessness.
Maybe I can get a piece of the action and get compensated for all the band aids I have bought over the years. I had a saw that someone dropped a lam beam on, it cracked the case and I cut myself on the housing picking it up. The maker should have made it out of shatter proof plastic. How about the lumber companies for not making splinter proof wood. Stupid.
I buy these types of saws because of the price point, size, weight. If one gets damaged on a job site it is not a major deal to replace it or for someone to replace it. Now, the manufactures will be forced to put saw stops on their products, my $300 - $500 portable saw will become $1500. This will also hurt the people just getting into woodworking without "Norm A" budgets. It was 10 years of slugging it out with a 10" Makita portable before I could afford a cabinet saw in my personal shop.
Thanks dummy, next time you complain about the cost of things remember you are the cause in this instance.
I've had my share of close encounters with the tablesaw and I take responsibility for my actions. I remove the guard, I choose to operate the machine as I choose and I'll accept the consequences. Common sense is one of the greatest tools I use ritually. When I do get a saw with a safety switch, I'll still use common sense as my primary safeguard.
I caught my thumb on the top of the blade as I was bringing my hand back from pushing a piece though. My fault, I had the blade up too high. It is crazy to blame the saw manufacturer for not having skin detection technology. Never the less, I did buy a SawStop several years ago.
I cut my left index finger on my table saw all the way to the bone. I can't blame the saw for this,just my own disreguard for safe sawing. I never at any time thought about sueing anyone over my mistake.
A work colleague once told me "You can teach everyone everything, EXCEPT common sense." Obviously, everyone involved in this case didn't use common sense.
It really doesn't matter whether you're using a Ryobi, Steel City, Delta Unisaw, or a $20,000 sliding table saw, common sense outweighs all of the fancy gadgets like "flesh-detecting" technology. If you're not 100% confident that the cut you're trying to make is safe --don't make the cut.
You have to ask yourself these additional questions: What would this jury do if the jerk who injured himself on a table saw were to cut himself using a sharp hand chisel. Would he bring a lawsuit just because he was stupid enough to put his finger in front of the wood he was paring down?
With all of the quality woodworking clubs/guilds in this country, one of the best places to learn is by being a member in one of them. Our club willingly accepts all skill levels from rank beginner to seasoned pro. The knowledge sharing is tremendous, plus both hand and power tool safety are at the top of the list.
Maybe the solution for the general public, judges, and lawyers is to become a member of a woodworking club, and LEARN more about tools that all have some degree of potential for personal injury.
Member - Rochester Woodworkers Society
Unfortunately, the sue culture is seen as an American invention and has also taken hold in the UK. It is a relief to read the many comments by our American friends decrying the stupidity of courts awarding people for thier own lack of training and judgement. Am I right in thinking that the decision was made by a jury? If that's the case, what are the chances of having 12 idiots in a room together other than a mental institution. I now await a similar circus to appear in the UK on the basis that what happens in the US happens in the UK not long after!
I won't add to what has already been covered from every possible angle, except to state unequivocally that I fault the user and his (a) purchase, and (b) usage decisions that led to HIS injury. Shouldn't be turned into my injury. And it almost certainly will be overturned on appeal; lawyers work both ways. Would love to have a video of what actually happened that fateful day; I bet the jury would have thought differently if they saw how this injury actually came to pass!
Mostly, I just wanted to say to ihateusernames and smokei0117 and dharlock and several others, God bless you for using the English language in your posts. Many others (with the exeption of those for whom it's not their first language) clearly find it easier to post with horrific grammar, spelling, and word usage, while complaining that we are losing our ability to act as one wishes without accepting the consequences. Here's a consequence: when you talk / write like that, no one takes you seriously. I had to work to understand a more than a few posters' real point, and from then on just scanned past all the crap. I don't mean writing as if you were Wordsworth himself, just, I don't know, like you had graduated from high school. But perhaps you didn't want to take responsibility for your actions back then, to actually do homework and take English seriously, or maybe they didn't seem like serious consequences. What, a country full of people who can't properly state an opinion isn't a serious consequence?
And so you know, I'm a soon-to-retire Marine with 15 years' experience in my shop, having designed and built (for myself and clients) cabinets, tables, benches, chests of drawers, etc. so I'm not just a lurking grammar nazi. I care strongly about this community, and I hate to see it represented by so many folks who make it look like it's overly populated by the uneducated. Geez, use spell check at least...
The saw should have had a "Careless Detector" to avoid the call for a lawsuit.
I used to demo the SawStop when I worked part-time in the Leesburg Store. I remember one loud-mouth from Texas who bragged to me about how he had used a UniSaw for years and never hurt himself. The SawStop is not a secret...this cheap jerk, (And careless one, obviously!) decided that he was so much smarter than the rest of us and bought cheap. He got what he paid for and that jury should be put away where their sheer stupidity cannot further damage society.
When I get my shop built, this spring, I am taking my venerable and great Unisaw out of storage and putting it on the market...I am ordering a SawStop Professional Model.
I recently noticed, my table-saw doesn't make dinner for me. Perhaps I should sue.
Seriously, what next? Will auto makers be required to install flesh-detecting technology on their bumpers to minimize pedestrian fatalities? You know, rather than suggesting to the pedestrian that he/she might want to look both ways before crossing!? Maybe bullet makers should be required to have "bad" flesh detecting technology installed, so that only bad guys get hit. I think, however, a more useful approach might be to have courtrooms equipped with "stupid-case detectors". Apparently this is needed, since there seems to be so little common sense left.
I find it ironic that numerous posts here rant about the lack of personal responsibility in (place your percentage here) of our society, then go on to blame the lawyers and judges. Wake up people, it wasn't the judge or lawyers who made the decision, it was the jury, our peers, us.
While I am not happy with the verdict because I also believe it is another example of our eroding sense of personal responsibility, I will not pass the buck.
The law is created by legislators,the guys and gals we elect and re-elect year after year. We sit back with the complacent/safe mentality that "all politicians suck",(except mine)so I'll keep voting for him. Then what do we get?
In my opinion if someone has served in the legislature more than two terms, they are no longer working for us. They work for the lobby or interest that gives them enough money to finance their next campaign.
Take a look at Washington right now. You couldn't have a clearer division between the "take care of yourself" and the "I'll take care of you" dynamic, and its seems to be evenly split. Does that mean that half of us want our noses wiped while the other half want to do it ourselves?
We have to get off our collective a***s and do more than complain. The beauty of this country is we can have a revolution every 2, 4 or 6 years, a bloodless one. Its called election day. Time to start over, clean house. Or we can continue to sit back and say "dumb jury, dumb judge, dumb lawyer, I'm so much better and smarter than them, pass me another twinkie".
So we have another millionaire idiot running around. These juries are about as stupid as you can be. If he wanted a Saw Stop he should have bought a $3000.00 Saw Stop instead of a $500.00 Ryobi. The item is available to anyone who wants to purchase it. What whould the Ryobi cost if outfitted with a Saw Stop? I sure hope Ryobi wins this one on appeal. Two bad he didn't cut something else off so he couldn't breed anymore lepers to society.
Many of the posters here are sharing a common set of points
The law is an ass or a variant that is the same that modern people expect to be molly coddled.
I have been using woodwork equipment for years and have not hurt myself, therefore its just user error
Whilst these are interesting points if wood workers hold to them they are swimming up stream against some very large and long running trends in society.
In the 30s I could buy a plane flight, a table saw and an automobile all 3 were likely to kill or maim me. Over time we have recognized the dangers and where possible ameliorated them. Airline safety is unrecognizable from the fragile and dangerous planes of the 30s, so to for automobiles.
Saws on the other hand have remain unchanged, particularly in the US. In many other parts of the world safety is given a higher priority and where a safety feature is identified it is mandated. But look at a 1930s table saw it is practically identical to the modern version.
It is hard to see any manufactured item where this general trend of improving safety is not true. Things are introduced and through use we see the dangers, we find ways to fix the danger. This happens in every aspect of society and has been happening since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Its even safer to be a solider than it used to be, and that would have to be a job that has DANGER written all over it.
Now that one company has introduced a clear and huge improvement in the safety of table saws it is obvious that this improvement will flow through the industry. The path may be regulatory or it may be via the courts but it is certain to happen.
And frankly as a woodworker I applaud the idea that my hobby can become safer.
So respectifully I don't think the courts are out of line here. They are firmly in line with a long running trend in society
I don't think evidence that dangerous tools can be used safely is an argument against making them safer. Statistically across the whole population of users table saws are dangerous. Making them safer is an obviously correct thing to do.
It will be interesting to see if the core idea in the saw stop technology can be extended to other dangerous tools. I hope it can.
Finally just a nod to the more expensive argument. My car has seat belts, airbags ASB and stability control as well as a high safety passenger rating. All new cars in Australia have to be like this. I am sure it cost more. but over all of the population of car drivers and passengers we are all much safer as a result.
SawStop technology is sure to end up in every saw and that is a good thing.
How come he didn't buy the SawStop machine? I always wondered where the McDonald's lawyer went to work after loosing the "hot" coffee case - now I think I know.
Why didn't Mr O buy a saw stop band - seems he was aware of it and what it offered, yet he bought another brand "with knowledge and aforethought" it could injure him.
AH ha, Ah ha, And every hotel that serves too many beers, and every casino where the one arm bandits take all our money and every driver that exceeds the breathalyser,and smashes his car, and kills someone else,,,Comeone youré unbelievable mate. I'D RATHER HAVE MY FINGERS and be responsible for my own destiny rather than blame blame blame.
Just another McDonald's hot coffee case showing how one person's stupidity can, in the end, cost society a lot of money and jobs. Our legal system is broken and cannot be fixed because so many legislators come from the legal profession or are taking money from the funds financed by trial lawyers.
AH ha, and every hotel that serves too many beers, and every casino that takes all our money and every driver that exceeds the breathalyser.
Comeon!!! I'D RATHER HAVE MY FINGERS and be responsible for my own destiby rather than blame blame blame.
There's Your Sign,
What you are about to read is only my opinion.
You can be sued for anything, I think the jury should be sued for being idiots. The legal system should be sued for letting idiots allowing to bring stupidity in to question.
If the legal system was fair for everyone, everything would be written so everyone would understand. But then we wouldn't need lawyers (Now wouldn't that be stupid) .
Lets see what's next..... MORE STUPIDITY :)
From my European view it is unbelievable how the US society uses its legal possibilities to get money for your own stupidities. What about kitchen knives, needles, sharp pencils, etc. Even being born is a risk someone could sue his/hers parents for. I really hope industry can stop this nonsens. And yes, I am willing to pay more for any safety feature that should be available. But that would be my own decision, not a legal matter or issue.
In Nov. 2008 I cut off my right index finger on my powermatic tablesaw. I did not use my blade guard or my riving knife. Kickback! I had seen the Saw Stop demoed at tradeshows. In Texas we have contributory negligence. If a person is more than 50% negligent he loses his case. I WAS 100% NEGLIGENT!!! I violated every safety rule we woodworkers have. If we all had sawstops us dumbasses would figure out another way to injure ourselves.
This is america , there are three ways to get rich in this country , earnit, steal it , or sue it , unfortunately the last 2 being the easiest , are the most popular , frivaless law suits are and have been going on hear since the creation of this country , I've been a Cabinetmaker/furnituremaker for a little over thirty years , and I still have all my fingers and toes , when someone is injured on a tablesaw or anyother peice of equipment , 98% of the time it's because they were not operating the eguipment in a safe manner or following safty guidelines , and to be quite honest , in my opinion , many so called safty features are more dangerous then if they weren't there at all like blade guards , needed on some things like mitersaws , but on a table saw it's more in the way then safe , even the drop down ones that attach to the side of the saw in my opinion are more dangerous then if they weren't there at all , and it would not be nessesary to put any stopping device on the blade if you used the 2 push stick method of feeding the stock through the saw blade keeping your hands and fingers well away from the blade , and most of the saw accedents I've seen was because the person was crosscutting on the tablesaw without a crosscut box , in my opinion the safety features on most equipment is to allow for the stupidity of the operator , and once again you choices will be squashed and you won't have a choice on how best to safely operate a peice of equipment , it will be dictated to you , just like the rest of our civil liberties that are being squashed under the foot and disguise of public safty by the fed gov , remember when you had a choice of weather or not to were a seat belt or own car insurance or get on an airplane without a strip search , or when you could smoke just about anywhere , eventually at the rate things are progressing in this country , we will be a dictatorship , told what where and when we can do anything and then they will tell us how it's to be done , including having flesh detection technology on a freakin tablesaw , I don't know about you all , but I'm sick of my civil liberties falling by the wayside and being told what I can and cannot do , and have little to no say in the matter , and it wouldn't surprize me if it were found that the guy who invented the technology hadn't prompted this guy to sue the saw manufacturer , not like it hasn't been done before just look at the insurance industry , and the sad thing is we're letting it happen , if people don't start standing up and crying fowl we'll be in a dictatorship faster then you think .
OK, this ruling is so stupid it barely justifies comment. Hang on to your older, well-made saws! Their value just jumped a ton. Why, because it won't be long and saw makers will have to make a choice: Do I stop making table saws, or do I start selling saws that cost $2,500 or more. Who knows...this judge may just outlaw woodworking altogether unless one is a trained and licensed woodworker. Wait until this this idiot judge sees a lathe work! It won't be long after that and all lathes will have to have automated chisels that follow templates guided by lasers. You put in your piece of wood and just watch! Hey, that will be fun. Give me a break. What are we becoming? I pray Ryobi takes this to a higher court. Preferably one outside the state of hysteria, a.k.a., Massechusetts.
You guys, as always are light years ahead.
Noone in C&EE country would go for a suit because of the employer's not acquiring an invention available (flesh-detecting or other technology).
Otherwise, power-tool injuries I fear most in my wood-working practices, the latest one being building 8'6'' wood-epoxy sailing dinghy (launched fall 2009).
I agree with most of your comments and have used and sold most of the available tablesaws out there today. Here's what I usually find is the bottom line. People don't buy the sawstop tablesaw unless they have already been hurt or you tell them to check with their insurance company in regards to how much they will save if they have a multi-person shop.
The weekend warrior or one time user will simply by the least expensive saw possible to get the job done. The sawstop technology is great but before everyone gets on the bandwagon, first decide if the customer is willing to pay the price. If this system was put on the jobsite saws we use today the first time it goes off you would have to throw the saw away. These saws just aren't built sturdy enough to take the punishment of this mechanism. got to youtube and watch the slow speed video of this!
One final thing That I've been told is that while Mr. Gass was shopping around his product, Delta almost purchased it but when Gass himself wouldn't commit to any of the liability of his invention, which is customary in such instances, Delta decided not to go through with the deal.
this lawyer and judge are 2 of the reasons why the legal system in this country is pathetic . the laweyers and judges do nothing but take away the person having to need a brain or be responsable for their own actions . this guy should have payed out the extra money to buy the right saw, or LEARNED HOW TO USE A TABLE SAW SAFELY before ever being allowed to touch one. This type of frivilous lawsuit is the reason why everything costs so much anymore.
It does seem ridicules the courts, judges and lawyers chasing ambulance get involved with a self inflected injury with a saw he purchased and used of his own free choice.
In 2006, when these negotiations were going on in relationship from the product marketing, He filed suit. Correct me if I’m wrong, but was the time line of technology even in existence as a marketed product, in a mass production sense.
I think Saw-stop is a fantastic safety product and an innovation break through that will eventually be on every saw sold, with their patent pending technology.
As air bags and seat belts were slow to catch on, their now a standard safety device on almost every vehicle produced in North America.
The end game will see a huge improvement in public safety but years down the road and is a heads up to industry to follow Saw-stops leading technology.
Right or wrong I don’t believe suing for entitlement money if there is any left over will serve the public’s interest, but on the other hand, (please excuse the reference), it may very well, speed up the process of building safer table saws in the future.
It is many, many good comments here that I agree fully with. In fact, I believe the judges in the juridical system also understand and agrees that personal responsibility is a fundamental principle in this case. However, there are economical interests. I can only understand the outcome of this lawsuit from an economical perspective: It is not about justice and reason, but all about mony.
This reminds me of the Motorcyclists big battle against big Ins. Company's trying to get Helmet Laws passed through Congress to force Motorcyclist's to wear Helmet's. In some States our Constitional Rights were upheld. "Let those who ride decide". When is Big Brother going to stop dictating what is best for us.
When are people like the claiment going to realize he had a choice when he bought that saw, he could have spent a couple thousand dollars more and bought the saw with all the bells and whistles, but the fact is he didn't want to, or couldn't afford to put out that kind of money.
We all can't afford all the new refinements to woodworking tools, it's getting too expensive anymore to persue our hobbies as it is. The claiment made his choice and paid the price. Get these bloodsucking Lawyers out of the way so those that can't afford the hightech and high prices can get back to work on our woodworking projects. And take up the Anthem like our biker brothers and "Let those that ride decide" and stop trying to put companys out of business that employ people in these almost unbearable times.
It is INSANE that a man can sue because he chose to use a device without a particular safety mechanism. (ex: I slipped on ice because I was not wearing crampons. Can I sue Nike?) It is a ridiculous and offensive verdict. I too hope he loses on appeal.
The silver lining to this stupidity: this verdict may force new high-volume negotiations with Gass. At higher volumes Sawstop technology will be cheaper. Maybe we will all win in the long-term.
Seems to me that person will not take responsibility for his own life or whatever he does. I was always under the impression, adults are set apart, in my mind, by the fact that we take responsibility for our own actions. If you are dumb enough to cut your hand, maybe it is time for Darwin to step in and assist us with people like that.
A friend chopped all his fingers level with his little finger on a spindle moulder. He would not think off doing anything because HE made the mistake.
It feels like I can grab the person and shake him, get some balls man.
Even though the braking system has been invented it is still not public domain. How is it that an individual can successfully sue a company for not providing a device that they are not allowed to manufacture or use? If they built a brake on their brand of saw they would be sued, if they don't they are sued. Nice legal system. Should never have happened unless the brake was mandated by law, which cannot happen until the patent is up. This is indicative of the larger trend in our society of zero personal responsibility.
The Jury must ride Little School Buses to award any settlement. Millions of Table Saws with the same potential.
This was a SawStop effort to have ALL Saws to be required to have them. I suspect the Jury was Tampered with.
There is BIG Money behind SAWSTOP- Lobbyists have been trying to have Laws passed since it came out.
Next will be a Rubber Hammer so I don't mash a Finger Nail.
If this quy is as sharp with his accounting skills as his attempting to rip some oak, imagine the shop he will be able to build with a mild 200k. The only set backk is, he'll definitely have a few more body parts missing after he tries his new planer or even the nasty drill press.
Here's an idea. Send him a hole hog as a congradulations gift and instruct him to try on his basement walls. Then suggest, What ever you do don't let go....
Counting a mill with missing tendons in your fingers isn't worth it in my books!
So people would do just about anything today not put in, "a good days work".
Is the same person who sued Mcdonalds for getting burnt with "HOT" coffee? Come on people, there are some things that are just inherently dangerous. Maybe the company that made the saw should sue him for trying to cut his fingers instead of the wood that the saw was made for. This law suit thing has definitely gotten out of hand.
You people should also report that early on Gass sued the US Government to make his SawStop technology standard on every table saw sold in the US.
So this guy is far from lily pure in his motives and objectives.
If anything this might cause manufacturers to STOP making table saws or at least selling them in the US market.
And who's going to lose then? Woodworkers will.
Just because he won a verdict doesn't mean he was paid one, thin dime.
I'll bet the Defendant, manufacturer will be fighting tooth and nail to have this verdict reversed on appeal.
No one has an absolute obligation to make a 100% safe, product.
I'll bet the appeals court will ultimately find that law was misapplied in the trial court and reverse the judgment.
Odd thing to have to put your faith in the legal system. but that's the way it is in life, sometimes.
This makes me want to pu.., throw up!
I agree with a lot of what has already been said. What ever happened to personal responsibility? Oh, I know the legal industry helped stupid people make money from their own carelessness and the rest of us pay for it. Maybe everything we touch should be covered in bubble wrap and we should be required to wear head to toe chain mail. I have been working with power tools both in production shops and on my own for over 50 years and still have all my body parts intact. I have no intention to put this device on my old Powermatic saw. I think I will just continue paying attention to what I'm doing when the blade is running and if I hurt myself, will take responsibility: What a concept.
What really burns me is that we are all paying big bucks for this idiocy in everything we buy. Friends shouldn't let their dumb Friends use power tools.
The fact of the matter is that humans are inherently stupid, lazy and unwilling to take responsibility for anything....well, at least 80% of us anyway. The remainder ends up paying for the inability of the masses to do anything more complicated than breathing.
I’ve got a wonky peace of rubbish Record contractors table saw which I use for all my woodworking projects, and I make a point of being safe when using it. It’s actually a very simply concept; if you don’t stick any part of your body into the blade, you won’t get hurt.
It’s very similar to all of us blaming our governments for not doing enough about crime and global warming etc, but when called upon, we usually don’t want to get involved, or I’m not responsible for global warming cause I drive a hybrid.
Like I said, we’re inherently stupid, lazy and unwilling to take responsibility, and as long as we allow our societies to carry on, on this tract, we’re also not allowed to have an opinion.
This country is rife with people whom lack any measure of self reliance and responsibility. This is an example of the height of entitlement so many of our people have come to, and what a terrible lesson to theach our children. I would personally be too ashamed to bring a law suite against a company for having misused their tool. If you have a Saw-Stop and trigger it, you've misused the tool.
Most saws come with guards that many wood workers remove (it gets in the way a lot). However, once you do this you accept full responsibility for getting your bloody fingers in the teeth.
That said, I have to cast a bit of shame on Ryobi's lawyers for having lost this suite. They clearly didn't take the matter seriously enough. I'm sure they'll be more on the ball in apeals court.
Saw Stop technology is prohibitively expensive. I have a cheap $100.00 table saw that is nicely portable. It's a little scary and I don't use it often (I use my nice Jet 99% of the time). If this lawsuite prevales, budget saws will be a thing of the past. Even your $400 and $600 will cost much, much more.
Maybe someone should sue Saw Stop for not providing adaptions of its technology for every other piece of shop equipement.
I could rant all day on this.
I agree with the concensus here. Yes sawstop technology is available but expensive. If a buyer chooses not to purchase it, the manufacturer shouldn't be held liable for the buyers choice. I've read many of the comments here, and most of you are speaking as individual woodworkers who buy your own machinery. What about your employees? Do you think the employer has a responsibility to use available technology to prevent injury? How about your local school? Should kids be using saws without safety stops? Your Insurance carrier probably has a point if he tells you to spend the extra money and avoid the claims costs. If I recall correctly, many large tool manufacturers balked at the technology because using it on their table saws would create new liability for all their other products, not because the technology was too expensive. SawStop as a small company, sticks to high dollar equipment because they don't have the financial muscle to mass produce equipment profitably. For most manufacturers, it wouldn't cause undue expense. Revamping their entire product lines WILL be disruptive and very expensive. Don't be surprised to see the consumer product safety commission mandate this sort of technology. I hate the handle I have to hold down when walking behind my lawn mower too, but enough fools reached under a running mower to force the rules to change.
First of all anyone who purchases a power tool and uses it without using the common sense of watching what you are doing deserves to get injured. I have been doing shop work for years and I have in fact cut the edge of my thumb off on a table saw. Did I blame the saw maker or the push stick which was faulty, no I blamed myself for not using common sense enough to use the tools correctly. So to Mr. Carlos Osorio pull your head out of your backside watch what you are doing and if you intend on cutting yourself then buy the saw that would have saved your fingers and stop assuming that just because the technology is there then it should be equiped on all brands. Do you know what a patent is, think about it.
Secondly to Big_E Saw stop does in deed have people that have put their own hands on the line for their product because I have seen it in person. The technology works and it isn't a case of extortion, it's a case of other companies being too damn stupid to get the technology when they had the chance. Any other company could have had it but they didn't want it so SAWSTOP designed their own saw which happens to be of top quality and design. Cudo's to their inventors who were smart enough to do the right thing.
In any case the only extortionist in this case was Carlos Osorio. If you are man enough to work in the shop then be man enough to take the blame for your own screw ups and stop extorting money from the innocent like Ryobi (which admittedly I don't much care for) and the rest of us that now have to pay the cost of your screw ups. I'll tell you what stay out of the shop and out of any area where your mommy can't protect you.
Look you guys I was born into the trades. Yes tech ideas are great but there is never a sure thing. How many people have lost their fingers to a saw, any saw. Most of the time it is always because of operator neglect This suit demonstrates where we are going as a country, as a people and as a society. To bad in the future the words United States will lose the meaning.
what do I think of it, not much, ultimately it is the user who is responsible, not the maker of the machine, unless it has a serious flaw that makes it dangerous, it is the user who has to be aware of the blades, where their fingers are, don't allow themselves to be distracted or become complacent of the equipment they are using.
only a moron blames the machinery for their own stupidity or lack of care.
case in point, I know of one young apprentice many years ago who cut off 3 fingers in a bandsaw accident, his own fault because he was not careful in making sure where his fingers were, he didn't get paid $1.5M, but the workshop and insurance covered his medical, they reattached his fingers and he still works in furniture restoration today and with all his appendages.
Seacruise, Is a table Saw the only thing you have in your shop. What about a jointer,router,bandsaw,drillpress. I can go on and on. It is not the Damn equipment causeing the problem it's the user.
Ihateusernames, people like you are what is wrong with the world today. You are saying it's the equipments fault people get hurt. Please explain. I've being woodworking over 30 years never owned expensive equipment and have never cut any part of my body in the wood shop. So,your saying I can go out and kill 10 lawyers with my cheap .45 it will be my equipments fault not mine. Your such an IDIOT.
Count me in too. Sawstop is available to anyone who wants to pay for it. You want it, you buy it. You wanna buy cheap tires or not keep fire extinguishers in your kitchen -- that's your business. You wanna smoke or use drugs, that's your business. In all cases, you may be called upon to pay the piper. That's your business. But leave me out of it. I surely do not want to pay an additional few thousand dollars for a saw because somebody didn't take the time to be careful. He had a responsibility (that he could easily figure out) and chose to let his guard down. I'm really sorry for him ... but that's his problem. Don't make it mine.
So why didn't Carlos purchase a Sawstop? He choose not to for a reason, aparently he didn't consider the added safety worth whatever the cost, cost in dollars or cost in features/convenience compared to the Ryobi. Shame on Carlos for not acepting the consequence of HIS decision.
How disappointed I was when I read this article yesterday. What has happened to our society when people are no longer responsible for their own action?
If I buy a gun, load it and shoot myself..is it the guns fault? No
If I buy a car and run it into a brick wall, is it the walls fault, the cars fault? No
If I'm running on a bridge and jump off it, is it the bridges' fault? No
Then why is it that if I purchase a table saw with a spinning carbide steel blade and I get injured, it's the saw manufacturers' fault. Just because they don't want to be extorted by Sawstop.
I've seen so much change in this country in the short 40 years I've been alive, it's frightening to think what will happen in the next 40.
How do I even know that Sawstop technology even works. All I see is demo's with hotdogs. If they technology really works, why don't they use their own fingers?
This is like smokers getting compensation for the effects of their habit.
If working with any tool, you are well aware of the risks, beginner or experienced.
Only because Sawstop came up with an overpriced option, doesnt mean working with table saw is idiot proof. Its the users responsibility to watch his actions.
Am i allowed to sue car companies now because certain technologies are available now, but not installed in my car?
I would make a major bet that this gets overturned on appeal.
slahiri makes an excellent point- should car mfrs be required to incorporate every feature found on expensive autos? for example, Porsches have phenomenal computer controlled stability systems that can selectively brake individual wheels, retard engine power, etc., to maintain control in fairly extreme circumstances. in short, you can do things at high speed in a newer 911 that would be suicidal in an ordinary car. should hyundai have to put all that stuff in a sonata?
on the other hand, seacruise makes a stupid point. what you consider a 'fair opertunity' (sic) to somebody who actually has to manufacture these machines at a profitable price may not be 'fair' at all. while it's difficult to compare apples to apples because SawStop makes a pretty deluxe unit, just look at the price of theirs vs. other reasonably comparable eqpt. and i keep reading the company's line of "only $150/unit to build this into ordinary saws." my.....eye...
here's a hint for the slow kids: if it can cut a 2x4, it can cut you. if that's too much for you to handle, maybe woodworking is not your ideal hobby.
Infuriating. I'm sure the sole holder of the patent on "flesh detecting technology" is cheering the verdict.
Sawstop has lobbied to legislate mandatory use of their system at many levels, including they be a required feature on all saws sold in this country and, having failed that, required use in all school wood shops. Such obviously self-serving tactics are "unsavory" to say the least. Imagine a school shop outfitted with all Sawstop table saws. Now imagine a bunch of teenage boys when they learn that all they have to do is touch the SIDE of the blade to see this really cool mechanism in action! Every Sawstop would be out of commission within a day.
I would never buy a Sawstop product because of their sleezy marketing/lobbying tactics. I have also dissuaded three saw buyers (that I know of) from purchasing a Sawstop when I told them of their practices. I hope this bad press spreads like wild fire.
It has been my belief for years that people like the judge are fine examples of why first cousins should never marry or have kids. Why would you feel the saw is at fault when there's for shure a loose nut pushing the board. Why are all the deaths on the hiways acceptable and a cut finger someone elses fault.
This infuriates me.This moron needs to buy a gun and clean it as does the judge and jury in this case as well as the lawyer involved. By the way there should be open senate jobs available soon for all of them. This demonstrates the low mentality and entitlement attitude of the general populace. These people need the government to look out for them and hopefully they will all soon be locked up for their own safety.
This is ridiculous. I own the exact model of saw Ryobi table saw pictured here and am very happy with it. One of the reasons I was able to afford it was that the manufacturer didn't have to add a bunch of silly, government-mandated features - which inflate costs. Look, we deal with some fairly dangerous tools, but a little caution goes a long way. I've never even come close to being cut with this saw. But, I treat it with the respect that is due to it.
Remember Saw stop tried to get its divice required by law and failed. I have been a pro wood worker for 50 years and in that time have had two accidents one on the jointer and one on the table saw but sill have all my fingers and toes.
when I think of the accidents I kick myself not the machines or the maker It was I being carless, stupid,not giving the machine the respect it desevers.There are rules that must be followed or pay the price to gods of the machine. these accidents occured not as a novice but as a 20 year vetern I learned to be supper aware on all machines all the time never allowing any distractions and always being safe. It maybe a great divice and its works. But it may take away the edge to be safe on all the tools in the shop. Yes I said tools. Even hand tool, has any one seen the damage a really sharp Chiasel can do? these law suits are the way that this divice is going to get mandated on all table saws. Again its the carelessness of the operator not the machine. Iown a roybi tablesaw for on site instalations and have comparied it to the others, aside form being lighter (a plus ) It is just as powerful It easly cut 11/2" material with a sharp blade. Instead of awarding this guy money they should make him go to trade school to learn the tool of his craft.
Here we go, it was only a matter of time. Now that this case was won by the plaintiff and awarded damages the floodgates will open. Pity. Whilst sawstop technology is great we as woodworkers have a responsibility to take the necessary precations to prevent accidents. I didn't and I lost the tip of a finger. I can tell you I use about every safety item there is and it actually has improved my work from a consistency standpoint. In our litigious society it is so easy to claim foul against manufacturers that don't have the latest and greatest in idiot proofing their tools. Do we really need to go there? Look at the disasters in the car industry for example. We now have what are suspected as flawed claims of vehicle misbehavior. Is it the easy money, 15 minutes of fame? Heck, does adding all these driving aids make people better safer drivers? No, it simply makes crappy drivers less likely to kill themselves and others and gives the clowns a false sense of security.
So in the case of manufacturers picking up Sawstop technology, I wonder how much the licensing was? Did they figure that the technology was as yet unproven? Did they feel that lawsuits with extra safe technology that may fail may mean much larger payouts? Who knows but to sue Ryobi for technology they did not have that may have been available will only cause prices to go up as manufacturers ramp up litigation insurance costs and eventually add yet more costly upgrades.
I am very sorry for the man who was injured. I know a number of people who have suffered similar injuries (most are worse than what Mr.Osorio incurred). I will not expound on the necessity of personal responsibility. A number of other people have already done a wonderful and most articulate job of that.
I would just like to add that the decision in this lawsuit is a perfect example of the 'right of entitlement' mindset which is so prevalent in this misguided society. "Feed me, cloth me, house me, protect me from myself, etc. etc." I imagine the members of the jury were hand-picked from an Oprah Winfrey studio audience. (sorry, all you Oprah fans)
I sincerely do hope that Ryobi appeals this case. Hopefully, the lawyers, judge, and all involved will be able to come to a wise conclusion and have this erroneous decision overturned. And if not, well, at least now Mr.Osorio will be able to afford to buy himself a SawStop
First, a statment of fair discloser. I bought a SawStop contractors saw last November. Now, I do not like unwarented litigation. Nevertheless, this event is not a big shock. It is really quite perdictable. And, I suspect that any saw manufacture that does not provide this technology will be driven into bankrupsy. They were give a fair opertunity and they turned it down. Now, it is time to pay the piper.
In addition, I would think that anyone that buys a table saw that does not have this or competitive techonolgy, when it is clearly and easily available, is showing blatent disrecard for themselves, their spouse and their children. It is simply a matter of responsibily. If one cuts ones fingers or hand off one cannot provide for ones family properly. If a family provider does not take significant protection to stay safe it is nothing less then spouse and child abuse. Enough said. --WW
Sawstop may have a great technology, but it's price point puts it out of my reach. Yeah, luxury cars incorporate a lot of extra technology but should I be deprived of my own transporation because I can not afford a Lexus or BMW etc? I get the car that fits my budget and adjust to its limitations.
I would like to question why this guy did not plop down the $4000 or so needed for the SawStop in the first place? Why buy something that is not top of the line and then blame the manufacturer for missing features. I am sure Ryobi did not hold a gun to his head... Mind you I know at least one person who has a Ryobi saw and is quite happy with it.
Can we have a follow-through and find out what eventually happens to the award? And, if possible, who gets it - this guy or his lawyer?
I love woodworking and in a few more years I will retire to my shop on a fulltime basis. I have had NO FORMAL TRAINING in woodworking. Sure I watched Norm (always read and follow the safety instructions that come with your power tools and most important of all->always wear these-safety glasses)and the This Old House gang and all the videos on woodworking I could-BUT I HAVE NEVER HAD ANY FORMAL TRAINING, and yet after 25 years I still have all my fingers, toes, eyesight et cetera. BUT I work safely->RULE # 1 in my shop is NEVER LET A MOVING BLADE TOUCH YOU!!! I work slowly and safely and yet I make a ton of sawdust.
In my professional life I am a College Professor teaching Business, Economics and Law. I teach my students, everyday, that life in a free society is all about choices. THE CHOICES YOU MAKE DETERMINE THE LIFE YOU LEAD! Unfortunately this horrible decision (if not reversed on appeal) will make all woodworking power tools more expensive. Which will have a series of unintended consequences, most of which will make the average woodworker LESS SAFE!
One need only look at private aviation and the sad story of litigation against the small private plane manufacturers. More than 4 decades ago when I was a Boy Scout my Scoutmaster (a blue collar employee of Montana Power the local electric utility company) owned and flew a Piper Cub. We used to fly the freeze-dried food into the Bob Marshall Wilderness and put our “halfway” food cache for our Troop’s annual 110 mile 10 day trips at Schaefer's Meadows. Today the same person working for the same company could never afford to own and fly a small private plane->a tidal wave of litigation against small plane manufacturers has made private planes too expensive for blue collars workers. So the Boy Scouts suffer, the blue collar workers suffer and the rest of us lead lives that are less than they could be.
If the act of buying and using a table saw is not an assumption of risk by a citizen with free will-then this country is really on the road to Perdition and most likely is already doomed. I urge every reader and woodworker to do the math-> divide those $1.5 million + attorneys fees + loss of innovation and the added cost of further idiot-proofing every power tool manufactured and/or sold in the U.S. and ask yourself how much more will you be paying for tools because of this terrible decision.
By the way I own and use a Ryobi Table Saw, which I bought over a decade ago and built into a workstation with precision sawing and routing capabilities and I have NEVER so much as nicked myself with it. It has been a great tool, FOR THE PRICE! Everything in life is a choice so I choose low cost and by building my workstation around this Ryobi Table Saw I got great value and I continue to have all my fingers and toes.
I had always dreamed of buying a fancy cabinet saw for my retirement gift to myself-but I will not pay extra for the unsafe actions of someone who assumed the risk of owning and operating a table saw and then sends me the bill when they screw-up.
Finally is it just me or did anyone else cringe about what this decision means to the continuing destruction of personal responsibility and honor?
so your saying that all saws are no good. Well I have ran them for years and yes you don't let three year olds run them. I think someone was looking for a quick dollor. If you don't know safty on power tools then don't run them and we will have less law suits. Its all vabout the money. GET A REAL JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But, rcwagner, about knocking American culture, in Europe (for example) they wouldn't have had a jury for this type of thing. So I believe it is valid to knock the "American" legal system, as many have.
There are more constructive ways to force safety legislation other than using a big heavy expensive disruptive non-productive and yes, ridiculous, stick.
I agree with you about the fund though, absolutely spot on.
It doesn't help that anyone who had ever used a tablesaw would probably have been disqualified from sitting on that jury.
It's obviously quite a popular opinion to knock American culture and legal maneuverings but there is an upside to this. Who would think to drive around in a car these days without a seatbelt on? The strength of your car seat, the existence of the headrest, airbags, and the seatbelt are all driven by lawsuits. There was an interesting article in the LA Times about this very thing, inspired by the current Toyota mess. (http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-toyota-litigate14-2010mar14,0,2005316.story) Yes, vehicles are much more expensive today. That's the price you pay.
While I don't agree with the large sums being awarded plaintiffs and their lawyers (probably mostly the lawyers) and would rather see the punitive awards go to the general fund, there is some benefit in the existing system.
and the coffee at McDonalds is too hot. Sorry, we as a society have gone completely off the deep end. I have to agree with swingman.
do we realy need ambulance chasers?
Anyone who purchases a table saw these days is quite aware of the dangers
in using such a machine. In fact most woodworking tools are dangerous..
Why not have simlar mechanisms in portable saws, routers, sabre saws etc.
It really poses a terrible problem for manufacturers since anyone who
misuses a machine and his wounded can sue the makers.. The other side of
the coin is if manufacturers build such elaborate safeguards into these machines,
the costs would be prohibitive and few if any weekend warriors would make
purchases. It appears that we are entering a new society that the individual
is not responsible for any of his follies.
I am a lawyer with many years of experience defending products liability cases. In a former life, I was also an electrical engineer.
Without knowing all the facts, it is difficult to make any specific comment on the Boston case. But since that sort of thing has never stopped me in the past from giving an opinion, I offer the following:
The article seems to lead to one inescapable conclusion; namely the jury in the Boston case had its head someplace dark and smelly. Manufacturers and sellers of products are generally held to the standard that they are liable for injuries caused by "defective and unreasonably dangerous" products. Fault is not an issue. Whether a product meets this test is usually determined by answering this question: "Does the product pose a danger that is beyond the contemplation of the reasonable user or consumer?" How anyone can say he or she did not understand that a 10" saw blade, with 40 or more sharp teeth, spinning at 3200 rpm and capable of cutting oak flooring might cause serious damage to a human hand escapes me. The jury just saw an injured guy and a rich company and decided to engage in a little wealth redistribution.
Product development is a process characterized by compromises that are made to meet price and performance criteria. The fact that the plaintiff was using a Ryobi saw means that he was not interested in buying premium equipment. (This is not a knock on Ryobi. The company has a business model that is different that Bosch or Festool.) I suspect that the plaintiff would never pay the premium price that would have been required to purchase a Saw Stop contractor's saw.
When I was involved in designing electrical equipment, we had a saying. You can make products fool proof, but you cannot make that damn fool proof. The plaintiff wanted a product that was damn fool proof, but he did not want to pay for it. As a result, you and I will eventually pay for this verdict through higher prices for the tools we buy.
Ryobi should appeal.
I would suggest that everyone go to Inc. Magazine's web site and read this article (http://www.inc.com/magazine/20050701/disruptor-gass_pagen_3.html). If you do only a modicum of "reading between the lines" it will help you to better understand and put this all into perspective.
It is quite impossible to be in the heart or mind of another individual, and I would never profess to be able to accomplish that. However, it is interesting to consider issues from different perspectives, and one of those perspectives could allow one to clearly hypothesize that the evolution of SawStop was a licensing scheme from the beginning.
To set the perspective... a lawyer comes up with the idea, and three more lawyers invest. They assure adequate patent protection, and then try to license the technology. So far, so good, but it seemed there were no "takers."
Manufacturers cited "unproven" technology and too many "false trips" of the safety system. Perhaps more importantly, manufacturers may have had the very real concern of potentially greater litigation if it could be shown that users were "lulled" into a false sense of security by the technology. In a perverse sort of logic only an attorney could really appreciate, the argument "I thought it was safe so I was careless and cut myself, so now you owe me money" is a very real concern to manufacturers.
So we have an inventor/lawyer who wants to license his "flesh-sensing" technology, per the article's author Melba Newsome, to everyone. Newsome writes, "It could potentially boost the safety of all power saws, including band saws and circular saws, as well as nail guns, lawn mowers, and other products."
No doubt, visions of fully intact sugarplums and fat royalty checks were dancing in the heads of the angel investors that saw the scheme. But alas, even after petitioning the Consumer Product Safety Commission to make SawStop-like technology standard on all table saws, there were still no takers. So what's a guy to do? Well, being a lawyer, the founder of the company undoubtedly knows his law, and the Inc. article quotes him as saying "The legal standard says you have to make a product as safe as you reasonably can, and if you fail to do that, you're going to be responsible."
The only way to show the manufacturing world that there is a safer way to make a saw is to, well, make a saw. So that's what SawStop did.
Now I am no conspiracy theorist, but let's imagine that I invented a new safety iron for clothes. The hot platen of the iron would be covered instantly by a flesh-sensing technology that would prevent me from ironing over my hand, leg, or other sensitive body part. Unfortunately, no manufacturer wants to license the technology because they are concerned that the customers' false sense of security might give rise to even more lawsuits, not to mention that a $20 iron would subsequently have to sell for many times that price.
What could possibly stimulate these reluctant manufacturers to incorporate my "safe" iron technology into their products? How about a nice big fat juicy personal injury award to some hapless ironer? Even juicier would be the knowledge that I had built a couple of my "StupidStop" irons and demonstrated that there was a way to build a "safe" iron. Manufacturers of irons would be forced to beat a path to my licensing door or stop making irons.
Well, you can read the Inc. article yourself, and form your own judgement, but for me, the decision to not buy a SawStop saw was made when I read the last three sentences of the last paragraph of the Inc. article. The author states, "Indeed, Gass still dreams of getting out of manufacturing altogether. He really doesn't want to make the power tools we buy. He just wants to make the power tools we buy better."
At this point, I am rather unwilling to plop down thousands of dollars with a manufacturer who, by his own admission, "dreams of getting out of manufacturing altogether." The prospect of product upgrades, continuity of warranty, parts availability,and even, yes, even liability responsibility seem slim, at best for a company whose leader expresses that sentiment.
I too have had close calls on equipment, I use them for a living. If everyone agrees it's not the fault of the saw, then how do we get the lawsuits stopped? Replace the judges? Makes me feel kind of small.
I spent about 30 years in thr electronic service field. I wouldn't have had a job if electronic products were 100% reliable. Think of all the electronic products you have owned that have failed. A day will come when someone will suffer a severe cut or amputation on a SawStop product. I think the 1.5 million will be just a starting point in the lawsuit. Guys, work safely, put the guard back on your table saw, forget all the bad habits Norm taught. Use push sticks. Anything to keep your hands well clear of any cutter be it a saw blade, router bit, drill bit (you did secure that part before you started the drill?), or jointer.
Great...now because of this DB we will have to pay more for tools that will ensure the we are unable to hurt ourselves. Perhaps they should make a law that you HAVE to try and cut a hot dog on your table saw so you can determine if its going to cut you or not. Instead of using the highly dangerous bicuit cutter we can instead use marshmallow glue. Moron.
I read the comments posted here and agree with almost all of them but its an even simpler solution that we need. Stop permitting these type of idiotic lawsuits. It helps no one except a minority of lawyers who will bring these cases and their greedy clients.
As nearly everyone points out these types of lawsuits cause the rest of us to pay higher prices for everything!
Total BS and fine a example of what is wrong with out court system today. We are changing our nation into a loosing group of people, unable to take care of or think for themselves. The rest of the world does not take this attitude and is leaving us behind.
The SawStop is a great idea but other manufacturers should not be penalized for not offering that technology.
That's B.S. Ryobi violated no laws or regulations. And since 99% of companies dont' employ that technology, they were acting well within the norm.
When one looks over from the old Europe one can only shake the head. On one side there seems to be a fight in the USA for the right to buy, wear and use an abundance of guns ofn the other side there are ridiculous lawsuits like this (I know of others in aviation).
Are the people in the US becoming just whiners whith a nerd like attitude? Sad for a nation with such a great history and past. Makes me wonder about the future. Really sad....
This is ridiclous. If he wanted a saw with this technology he should have spent the extra money and bought one. I've been a carpenter for 24 years and using table saws for 35 years. I have all of my fingers. No close calls. Sawstop is great technology and has it's place. Just not on the cheap saw this greedy guy bought. I guesss Ryobi and all tools prices will go up with this news. I hope they appeal and win. If he does poor work are they responsible for that too. A skilled trade doesn't blame their tools. On safety too. Dave.
A friend and I were discussing why SawStop had to put produce it;s own saws and he mentioned that if other companies bought the technology, they would be admitting that their previous saws were inferior. Having taught woodworking for 7 years in a private school, the worst situation for me was teaching kids to use the table saw. I have lost fingers using one and it was nobody's fault but my own. I own it, I live with it. Never once did I consider suing someone for my carelessness.
A little over a year ago I was in the market for a new cabinet saw and seriously considered the SawStop, but for a comparable machine it was decidely more expensive. My fingers and hands are certainly worth spending more money, but on which machine in the shop, the router, shaper,sanders, mitre saw and drill press? Unless every powertool I own is capable of saving me from myself it, it didn't make sense to me to have one safe tool amoung a whole bunch of others that would just as gladly devour my digits. It just made more sense to me to have and use safe practices for all the tools.
i read a longer article that said SawStop has sold 20,000 saws since 2004 and claims to have 'saved 700 fingers'. one out of every thirty users has had a limb/digit threatening event in the last few years (you must figure most have had their saws much less than 6 yrs)???? that seems like a VERY high rate of incidence. or is that just how many cartridges the company has replaced? or are their customers a self-selected group of the more accident-prone?
Unbelievable!! At age 65, I have been using power tools since the 7th grade. This is why stuff is so expensive. Nobody will take responsibility for their own studidity. Safety, safety, and more safety. It is our responsibility to insure that we work with our brain as well as our hands.
Attaboy (or attagirl) to '2dtenor' for sharing with us some reasonable legal perspective regarding these seemingly silly and unfair jury awards favoring people "who obviously should have known better."
As it happens I am a stand-alone struggling inventor with patents currently pending directly related to table saw safety which are, among other things, intended to more fully level the playing field between tool manufacturers and injured operators making frivolous legal claims involving product liability. My "Whirlwind Tool," new flesh sensing technology website can be readily found on Google and YouTube, but note that I HAVE NO HARDWARE to sell. Instead, I aim to interest the table saw manufacturers to take note because under simple license we offer something very special. You may view videos of prototypes by visiting my Whirlwind Tool website, but in the context of this important LEGAL and JURY AWARD thread, let me point out some Whirlwind features.
Whirlwind provides a solid physical blade enclosure and electronic barrier to prevent the operator from contacting the blade.
When the operator's hand comes too close for comfort, even outside the physical enclosure barrier, the saw will immediately shut down and non-destructively stop the blade in one second. This is an attention grapping event.
The saw may be restarted only after the operator acknowledges that it is safe to do so.
NOW FOR THE HAPPY NEWS FOR DEFENSE LAWYERS!!!
** Whirlwind is primarily for new product but possibly for field retrofit.
** The Whirlwind equipped saw will NEVER start without the Whirlwind safety blade enclosure in place.
** That is, UNLESS, the supplied 'Supervisory Override' key lock feature is positioned so as to intentionally disable Whirlwind.
** Each and every START of a Whirlwind equipped saw, unless overridden with the key as stated above, will require that the saw operator each time simply depress a button acknowledging that ALL SAFETY CHECKS HAVE BEEN COMPLETED, thereby ARMING the safety blade brake and allowing for just ONE start operation. Each succesive START of the saw will also require that simple extra step by the operator.
** AS WE MAY ALL CLEARLY SEE, UNDER THESE CONDITIONS, WE ASK THE SAW OPERATOR TO ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE INTENDED OPERATION AND ABSOLVE THE MANUFACTURER FROM OTHERWISE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES.
If you agree that this concept has merit, please help me spread the word that new table saw safety "flesh sensing" solutions are coming soon, not just my Whirlwind Tool, but many others. It is not right that in the 21st century, we accept 19th century safety features on this most important tool.
My best to all here -- always work safely. DavidWW
There was a lead story on the front page of the Oregonian this morning on this topic. The tone of the piece is that a local garage-inventor (Stephen Cass lives in Wilsonville, just South of Portland) is being quashed by an evil corporation.
Cass' idea of an instant shut off when skin contacts the blade, is a really good one, and although I've never even nicked my fingers during thousands of hours of table saw operations...I'd support this new technology as an options to the traditional table saw I'm now considering buying. But unfortunately, this working idea has a serious glitch...it'll trigger even when my finger is no where near the blade. False positives like this are expensive...and I challange any wood worker sympathetic to this technology, to maintain their sympathy when, for the 4th time, they get to spend the $$ necessary to replace their safety mechanism and expensive blades.
If the consumer products safety commission is able to make this technology mandatory even though it continues its false positives, then they should not be surprised to hear of web-sites that offer instructions on how to disable the mechanism.
When manufacturing potentially hazardous consumables, consumers must be warned of their potential hazards, whether that is a ladder, an over-the-counter-medication, a folding chair, a cup of very hot coffee or a table saw. Once purchased, the consumer has the personal responsibility to read and follow the safety precautions. If they don't, then that is their responsibility.
I simply don't understand why this is such a difficult concept for some to grasp.
I am a lawyer and an aspiring woodworker. I now have a general practice but I have represented plaintiffs in personal injury cases and I have represented defendants in personal injury cases.
There are a few errors some of you are making in assessing this case. I will say that, after the final analysis, I disagree with the jury verdict . . . but I was not at the trial and did not hear all of the evidence.
As far as people taking individual responsibility, you should understand that responsibility for an accident does not need to be assigned to only one party. Sometimes, two or more people are negligent and their combined negligence causes an accident. In fact, in almost every personal injury case, a jury is asked how much blame should be placed on the plaintiff, how much on the defendant, and how much on other perties not involved in the lawsuit. Quite often, plaintiffs get assigned a percentage of fault; we call it comparative negligence.
More importantly, it is a mistake to judge our civil justice system on the basis of cases such as this. These cases are abberations and not the norm. When people like this sue and lose, it doesn't get mentioned in the media, so of course you have a distorted perspective of what happens in our courtrooms. And, when cases such as this get reported, you don't get all of the facts. For example, everybody knows about the McDonalds' coffee case, right? Well, I'll bet you don't know all the facts of that case.
79 year old Stella Liebeck suffered third degree burns on her groin and inner thighs while trying to add sugar to her coffee at a McDonalds drive-through. Third degree burns are the most serious kind of burn. McDonalds knew it had a problem. There were at least 700 previous cases of scalding coffee incidents at McDonalds before Liebeck's case. McDonalds had settled many claim before but refused Liebeck's request for $20,000 compensation, forcing the case into court. Lawyers found that McDonalds makes its coffee 30-50 degrees hotter than other restaurants, about 190 degrees. Doctors testified that it only takes 2-7 seconds to cause a third degree burn at 190 degrees. McDonalds knew its coffee was exceptionally hot but testified that they had never consulted with any burn specialist. The Shriners Burn Institute had previously warned McDonalds not to serve coffee above 130 degrees. After hearing this evidence, the jury came back with a decision- $160,000 for compensatory damages. But because McDonalds was guilty of "willful, reckless, malicious or wanton conduct" punitive damages were also awarded. The jury set the award at $2.7 million. (That is a bunch of money, but punitive damages are supposed to punish a defendant for wrongful conduct. How much profit does McDonalds make in one day?) The judge then reduced the fine to less than $500,000. Ms. Liebeck eventually settled with McDonalds for a sum reported to be much less than $500,000. McDonald's coffee is now sold at the same temperature as most other restaurants.
When abberant cases like this tablesaw case come along, the verdict makes big news. You won't hear about what happens after the trial, such as the judge reducing the amount of the verdict or the case getting reversed on appeal. Most people in the legal field are intelligent and have good values and beliefs; we are not stupid and we don't need people who have eaten the pablum served up by the mainstream media to tell us what is right and wrong.
It is easy to criticize our system when you don't have all the facts. Before you react to stories like this, do some research, and wait and see what happens after trial . . . if the media ever bothers to tell you.
Ryobi had it coming.
The government mandates many things related to health and safety. In agriculture they determine what crops can and cannot be treated with. The FDA tells us that melamine can't be put in baby formula. The EPA tells us how much discharge coal fired plants can emit and they set minimum air and water quality standards.
If we left it as a choice or let everyone decide on their own what a minimum safe standard is I'm sure we'd be living in a toxic unsafe cesspool with no government intervention.
True, a bottom end auto is probably not as safe as a Hummer in a vehicle crash with identical conditions. But what the regulations do is set a minimum bar that all manufacturers have to meet. Such as seat belts, airbags, brake specifications, gasoline tank design, etc. The requirement of seat belts by itself has saved tens of thousands of lives since it's institution. Can anyone imagine if consumers were given the option of choosing seat belts in their vehicle in order to save a few dollars?
I think the same holds true with new technology on saws. If is scientifically documented that it can improve safety then the minimum safety requirements should be raised to accommodate that technology.
Surely your joking about the Government being responsible to protect us from decisions like this. As you said,
"accidents happen". So why sue if it was just that, an accident?
I personnaly intend to purchase a Saw Stop in the future, but don't believe that everyone should have to because an accident may happen. I have had accidents involving my PM-66 tablesaw, but only when I made a mistake. I was too tired, or not paying attention, etc.
If you take a look at the auto industry's government mandated safety requirements, they lessen but DO NOT eliminate deaths or injuries. If I buy a bottom line car, I'm not going to be as safe as I would in a more expensive car with all the latest safety devices. Do you want the Gov't telling you what car you can or can't buy? If you were to run off the road and crash at night and bleed to death before being found, is it the car manufacturer's fault you chose not to buy a car with On Star?
The government needs to stay out of personal choices, and courts and judges need to stop these frivolous lawsuits which impede every day on our freedom and liberty. That includes the freedom to make decisions that sometimes hurt us, but we as a people need to learn to live with the consequences, and accept personal responsibility.
Bottom line is if every saw is required to have this device, and if this trend continues, then woodworking will be a hobby only for the rich and famous. No one else will be able to afford to do it as a hobby.
And by the way, the free market IS self regulating. Saw Stop has been on the market for several years now and their market share hasn't exploded and passed that of the other saw companies; those companies who take all reasonable steps to ensure a quality and safe saw.
I have no idea what transpired in the court room but the argument the attorneys must have made were obviously convincing to a jury. It would be interesting to know whether any of the jury understood the nature of woodworking and the tools associated with the craft.
But surely the issue of product liability must have entered into the courtroom arguments. And from what I know of those jury awards that concern these liability issues a manufacturer must show they took every precaution available to make their product safe under reasonable conditions. The fact that Sawstop technology is available and it was not available on that saw automatically means the manufacturer did not do everything in their power to market a safer saw.
One product that immediately comes to mind are the Halogen torchiere lamps that were heavily marketed in the 1990's and early 2000's. The exposed halogen bulb gets extremely hot and often there would be no cover over the bulb to prevent combustable material from contacting the heat source. After several fires and lawsuits the manufacturers began installing mesh screens or glass over the bulbs. Whether that became a mandate I do not know. What I do know is that if a manufacturer were to overlook that detail now-a-days having the past knowledge of their history they would surely be held liable.
There are plenty of products that get recalled because of these omissions as we have seen. Most notably children's toys. Sometimes someone has already gotten hurt sometimes it's some flaw that wasn't caught during product development and the manufacturer issues the recall in order to avoid any future product liability.
What a joke! I wonder if that was the same jury that awarded a woman millions for spilling McDonald's coffee on herself.
What happened to the days when you were responsible for your own actions? Now when someone makes a stupid mistake or uses something inappropriately it is automatically the manufacturer's fault. Bull.
Had to include another comment I found under the originating article's comments at the Boston Globe ...... it says it all:
The hammer manufacturers will be next, for not including thumb detecting radar.
Now that sounds like a great idea!
This is a spoof, right?
Excuse me, but since when does a proprietary system become required on ALL saws and the reasoning for being able to win a lawsuit when the IDIOT bought a cheap Ryobi in the first place.
Surely this must be a spoof. Surely. If not, this is one of the best examples of our legal system gone to hell.
Maybe the guy shouldn't have put his fingers in the way of the blade! And, for you sawstop lovers .... you CAN still get hurt on a SawStop; yes, you can.
Why can't I get picked for a jury trial like that? Wouldn't it be fun to hear all the BS sob stories and just say "tough crap!" to his face. Especially to any bleeding hearts in the jury alongside you - don't take any personal responsibility, sue someone else. He should pay any wages of the jurors that need to leave work for this putz.
He will never see that money and rightfully so. He is not entitled to it. As for all of the well wishing for Mr. Osario; we ARE what our actions reflect, and if those actions show us to be an idiot, well... Nothing good can come of this decision.
It also occurs to me that a child could have argued this and won on behalf of One World Technologies. Hopefully the same team who argued the first round of this battle will be replaced in the inevitable rematch. Shame on this country's legal system for this and so many other egregiously revolting assaults on common sense!
Any excuse iS good to do easy money. Sorry for the injury to mr Osorio. Its not easy loose fingers but as everybody already expresed here tool was not the fault.
Salesman create on you the think of necesity so you think you need the product. That's the first rule on sales. Once you are convince you need the product the next step if buy it. With precaution and knoledge of tool use you can avoid all this.
I have a good idea to avoid this type of accident and its 100 idiot prove. To avoid this just LEAVE MACHINE OFF.
When is this country going to begin to hold idiots responsible for their own actions? Our judicial system has become a joke when it comes to this sort of litigation. Shame on the lawyers, the judge, the jury, and of course Mr. Osorio. How dare him take this issue to court. Saw Stop technology was available when he bought the saw. He chose to take the cheap way out, knowing the risks involved in using a table saw. And if he didn't, it's his responsibility to learn before using the saw. I'm sure there was an owners manual clearly stating the dangers and safety precautions. The lawyers took care of that years ago. Now we are bombarded with so many warnings, that we ignore them. Whose fault is that? Frivolous lawsuits maybe?
By the way, I might add that I am a professional woodworker. I have used a table saw safely for about 45 years without the new technology.I have been injured much more by box knives and screw drivers. I guess I should have sued Stanley.
I'd like to add another examble , attempting to show how ridiculous this whole lawsuit is. There is obviously technology for safety glass. So, if someone doing something stupid and puts themself through a window without safety glass, and is injured, then according to this court decision, the glass manufacturer should be held liable for the injury. All glass will have to be safety glass, because the technology is there, and we must protect the "little people" If this ruling stands, no one will ever buy a cheap tool again, because all manufacturers will either stop making them, or their tools will be so expensive, hobbyists will become extinct. Mr Osorio,and of course your lawer, I hope you enjoy your 1.5 million while the rest of this once great country pays a huge price.
This is absurd!! Why not sue every single car manufacturer out there for not including alcohol detecting technology to stop cars if the driver is too wasted to operate the vehicle. After all, that technology has been around for yeas, and apparently it's good enough for arrests and convictions based on the results. That would save far more innocent lives than SawStop will save guilty fingers. Or maybe we should insist that every tool get this technology, from drills, to sanders, to planers, to jointers, to chop saws, to hand saws, to chisels, to clamps, to hammers, to...
No wait, I got it, let's include IDIOT DETECTION TECHNOLOGY
This is about the most absurd thing I have read. I am sorry someone was hurt but if you are not smart enough to use the machine DON'T USE IT.
I took shop class from 7th grade on. We were 'taught' how to use ALL machines not just the table saw safely. I don't have 'flesh-detection technology' on my saw and never will. I don't have a guard on it. I know how to use and I respect it. I have been woodworking for years without any accidents. I never perform an operation without first stopping to think about what I am doing and the proper procedure.
I have read a lot about the SawStop. If someone thinks they need it, let them buy one. But they now have this false sense of security. Anything mechanical can break at any time. Look at Toyota and the sudden acceleration. The perfect car is not perfect without faults.
I am not spending over a hundred dollars for a new saw blade and however much the sawstop mechanism is when that would activate. Some will say this is cheap insurance compared to loosing a finger(s), surgery, therapy...I am not perfect but extremely careful.
I see two big mistakes. The person did not know what he was doing with the saw and the ignorant jury awarding this person that amount. Obviously, the jury did not have an understanding of tablesaws, safety and woodworking.
Look how many professionals there are today who do not have this device and have all their fingers. Of course it is the typical lawyer who came up with this wanting to make a bundle.
I hope One World Technologies, Inc., (Ryobi) will appeal this decision.
You can take my 'device' free tools when you pry them from my cold dead fingers!
This is sad. Another man has an accident and instead of blaming it on himself, as he should have, he blames it on the tool he was using, except because he can't get compensation from the tool, he blames his accident on a new and rare technology that wasn't incorported in the tool's older design. How stupid is that? Personal responsibility is a part of life, and life has its risks, or there can be no life. We woodworkers have known that since the first time a caveman hit his thumb with a stone hammer. If anyone refuses to accept that responsibility then he owes it to himself to get out of woodworking and take up a hobby or vocation that doesn't involve tools. At the moment I can't think of any, except maybe lawyering. I've had my share of accidents, they were all my fault. I take responsibility for them, no one else. Most importantly, I learn from them, always, so I don't repeat them.
If the lawyers really want to do something useful for society, they should take on the gun manufacturers because those devices are actually DESIGNED to main and kill, and yet we allow some 25,000 handgun maimings and deaths to occur EVERY YEAR in America, most to people, often children, who were merely unlucky enough to be in the path of the bullet and no where near the device itself when it went off. But they won't do that. There's no compensation in it.
It's about time society started to wake up with regard to the dangers of cutting tools. Legislation should be enacted to outlaw the use of knives for cutting vegetables. It is well known that you could put your eye out. All manner of havoc is possible once the untrained get their hands on tools.
However, we should not worry about this. Liability will be released by the placement of a sticker on each tool that says, "This tool is for decorative purposes only" or "not for use by idiots"
The sooner we mandate the SAWSTOP and require vegetable cutting permits, the better off we all will be.
What if Carlos had cut his fingers on a Bandsaw? A tool Mr. Gass provides no flesh detection devise for, would he still be entitled to $1,500,000.00?
By the way, I just viewed the videos posted on the SawStop website. I would never want to raise the saw blade to cut a 3/4" plywood as high as they did. There is no blade guard being used on their demonstration saw. They showed a few interviews of guys with maimed fingers. As a public service, they should also present a video demonstrating proper procedure on operating a table saw to lessen the risk of bodily injury, wether or not it sports an electric capacitance sensing devise.
Where will the court's refusal to invoke the concept of personal responsibility lead? To a limitation of personal freedom. Sharp woodworking tools (and the injuries they cause) have been around at least since the egyptians cut the first known dovetail joints a couple of thousand years ago.
Powered woodworking tools have been around since the first time someone connected a belt driven shaft to a lathe (think waterwheels - first used a couple hundred years before electric motors.)
There was an interesting comment to the Boston Globe article:
There's more to this story, and as usual, the Globe missed it. A lawyer invented the Saw Stop - basically an explosive cartridge, triggered by low level electrical current when it touches human flesh. It reacts so quicly, clamping on the blade, that it stops the blade's rotation before serious harm occurs. Great, but very expensive. The inventor then tried to sell his design at a premium price to all major saw manufacturers (no public spirited safety advocate was he then), demanding a huge commission on every saw made with the cartridge. The manufacturers, for various reasons, said "No thank you", and returned to their traditional blade guards. The lawyer/inventor eventually started manufacturing his own saws (in China), and sells them now - they are substantially more expensive, and you won't find one in the home shop. Now, insurance companies that have paid worker's comp benefits for folks who cut their hands on saws have banded together, and are financing a coordinated attack on saw manufacturers, protraying them as unconcerned with safety, and bringing suits in the names of the injured workers to recover what the insurers paid for medical bills and comp benefits. It's safety, blackmail and revenge all rolled into one conflict."
Woodworking is an inherently dangerous activity and we have the freedom to engage in it. This attitude of "If somebody invented something safer we all must trash our existing tools and buy the new safer (and more expensive) tool" will either bankrupt us all or turn us all into scofflaw criminals.
I was taught that every tool saw is a safe tool when operated properly but is an unsafe tool when operated inproperly. Even the SafeStop proponents cannot argue the SafeSaw cannot cause injury. (Imagine someone falling into a SafeStop Saw. SafeStop's wonderful technology will stop the blade and limit the personal injury but it will not eliminate the same injury someone would get if they fell onto a stationary saw blade!)
Should we outlaw sharp knives for chefs? We can all eat what comes out of the cuisinart! But what about the poor dishwasher who cuts himself on the cuisinart cutter?!?
This flight from holding each of us accountable for our personal safety practices and the responsibility for the unfortunate outcomes for our failures will result in more futile efforts by courts and legislators to save us from our shortcomings.
Unless we elect and appoint judges and legislators who uphold the principle of personal responsibility, we will lose the right to buy and use traditional and economical tools.
I am sympathetic to Carlos Osorio and I hope the money will improve his life if not his injured hand but remember, we all pay the expense of unreasonable tort awards every time we buy a new tool. Corporations will increase their anticipated costs to their customers, particularly when their competitors are doing the same thing.
Kennywho What "egregious actions of others" could have possibly been committed here. The case was not about a malfunctioning saw, but the lack of incorporating a technology, that as a last resort protects a negligent user from his/her mistake. Where is the egregious action? Has the table saw been a death machine that the evil corporations have been pawning off on us at the chance to make some quick cash?
If this technology is vital to the well being of table saw users, then why wouldn't everyone rush to buy one the instant they came on the market regardless of price? Isn't your finger worth a few hunderd (or even thousand) extra dollars? Apparently most people have made the CHOICE that they can operate a table saw safely without this safety device (and by my estimations over 99.9% do).
People should be presented with the evidence on table saw injuries, educated about using table saws, and then be allowed to make a choice about which saw to purchase. (All of this information is readily available). If every table saw user comes to the conclusion that Saw Stop is a necessity, then it will be incorporated into every table saw by consumer CHOICE. My next saw will probably have saw stop. But it will be because I am willing to pay a little extra insurance on my digits, and not because the government forces me to do it. If someone else disagrees with my decision and wants to save some cash by not using the technology, well, it is a free country....for now.
P.S. If you engage a Saw Stop, you have used your machine Negligently.
Amazing and Irritating!
I am sorry that Carlos suffered this accident, but it seems that several issued were overlooked in the settlement of this case
Was the flesh detecting feature available when the saw was purchased? If it was why was the saw purchased knowing that it did not have the safety feature? There is a substantial difference in cost and design between the Ryobi and the SawStop and a decision had to have been made to buy the Ryobi. How can a manufacturer be held liable when a product is purchased when the buyer made a decision to purchase a product based on price and not safety features.
The real irritating issue is the fact Carlos Osorio was not using the tool correctly or following proper safety procedures. I taught wood shop and I was very detailed in my presentation on the operation of the table saw. Prior to operating the saw each student had to operate the saw under my supervision before they could use the tool. Further, there were certain jobs that could not be done on the saw. As I was taught in becoming a pilot, “There is no such thing as an accident”. Errors were made prior to the incident or the injury would not have happened. This is another example of a growing trend in thinking that it is not my fault, somebody else caused it to happen.
Finally, when does a manufactures liability end? Using this case a precedent, could an injured carpenter sue because a saw he was using 20 years ago did not have this safety feature. In looking at the saw in question, I would feel that there were a lot of other features that were factored into the decision to buy. Portability, size, cost are all issues that had to have been part of the decision process. Further more I would be willing to bet that if Carlos had been using the SawStop he would have been irate over the cost of the repairs after his finger was saved. I have seen demonstrations of the SawStop feature and lots of things get destroyed when the feature works.
I just do not understand how the facts could have been presented in this case that led the jury to uphold the liability issue. Not having been at the trial, I can only imagine how Carlos’ lawyer must have had to present the facts that led to the juries decision.
Having an accident with a power tool does not mean one is irresponsible. Accidents happen. It is the duty of government to protect the public from the eggregious actions of others. If technology becomes available that will prevent accidents, the government needs to make that type of technology the standard for all manufacturers. People, especially corporate executives, are too interested in profitability to care about the individuals that are harmed by their products. The only way to make corporations accountable and responsible is via strong government regulation and enforcement.
The free market is not self regulating.
Can we switch the argument from the saw, to the use of airbags in cars, or seatbelts for that matter. It does add cost, it doesn’t prevent all accidents, you still have to use your head when using an inherently dangerous product. But now its federally mandated, and it does lessen the harm done in some accidents. I know some Luddites here long for the “good ole days” before seatbelts, and complain that “if all drivers just used common sense, we wouldn’t need all those safety measures”.
Yet another sad commentary on America. If you CHOOSE to use a table saw without saw stop, you must also CHOOSE to accept the inherent risks associated with that piece of machinery. 10 years ago could someone also sue a manufacturer for not inventing Saw Stop? Additionally, Saw Stop is a last resort to save you from YOUR mistake.
This is a difficult subject....
I have been on the wrong side of a saw blade, once the table saw, and once the circular saw. The circular saw almost took my life. I thank modern medicine for putting me back together almost 100%. I am not too sure how one can blame a stationary tool for cutting his fingers off. I use one of these "table top" saws on the job site at least three times a week. This man was installing hardwood flooring. I have seen installers make rips in 2-1/4" oak and not even use a fence, let alone a guard (I know all saws today come with fences and blade guards). I have seen them use the same saw for making cross cuts without a miter gauge. When a tool is used carelessly it will bite you, your luck dictates how big a chunk that bite will remove. I have yet to see any table saw that could not rip a piece of 3/4" flooring.
Jamie please do not take offence but I blame the lawyers for these types of lawsuits I know those of you that read "knots" have read my response to a post yesterday, but I am going to say it again. Many years go I was watching Sixty Minutes, A man was working on a farm, and he set his extension ladder up on a pile of frozen manure. When the sun came up over the barn the manure got soft, the ladder kicked out and he fell breaking his leg. He sued the ladder company and of course he won. I don’t have any new ladders right now but I guess they come with frozen manure warnings. I am sure everyone out there has heard of lawsuits like that, the lady that spilled the hot McDonalds coffee in her lap is one I am sure we all know.... It goes on and on and on.
All this said I do wish Mr. Orsorio the best.
Chuckles all around!
This is absurd; at what point do we need to take responsibility for our own actions?
As a Professor at a college in Canada that trains future cabinetmakers, I find this settlement beyond comprehension.
The problem here is that anybody can be a cabinetmaker... just buy the machinery and tools and presto, I'm a cabinetmaker. Wrong. We owe it to ourselves to be educated and familiar with our tools. We need to know how to recognize what is safe and what isn't. We also need to know the limitations of our tools and machinery.
Maybe we need more government legislation to protect us from being stupid.
Take a course!
I'm going now to the toy store to buy a squeaky hammer so it won't hurt when I hit my finger!
Wow. I can't believe tax payers are actually paying a judge to make ridiculous decisions like this.
This Carlos individual should be locked up for life because he's a liability to himself and to everyone around him. I mean really, if he was locked up he would have never cut off his finger.
What ever happened to personal accountability?
If the saw stop was available for purchase at the time he bought the ryobi, I fail to see how the tool company could be at fault. Why didn't Mr. Orsorio buy a saw stop to begin with?
This judgement will hopefully be reversed by appeal.
Another nail in the coffin of the concept of bearing personal responsibility for your actions ...
I'm a lawyer and a woodworker living in Canada. I'm 31.
I own a Sawstop saw. I got lucky and my wife demanded that I buy it instead of one without the brake on it (I was looking at a General). I know, you are all saying, "oh, he's a lawyer with lots of money". Well, I have a lot of student loans and I'm young so that's not as true as one might think. I went out of my way to pick this saw and to be perfectly frank, I'm glad I did. My wife also helped me pay for it. I have remarkable peace of mind when using the saw and, while I observe the proper safety habits, I work easier knowing there is a backup. My wife also doesn't worry about me, which any married man will tell you improves shop time and the condition of one's nerve endings.
The saw is one of the industrial ones, not the pro (the industrial was the original). It is a beast of a machine, willing to cut anything I've yet thrown at it and it is also a very, very well built and tolerance-d machine. Where am I going with this? The inventor, Mr. Gass, didn't just try and build a safe machine, he built a great table saw.
The gentleman who cut his fingers off was using a cheap table saw. Frankly, you get what you pay for with tools. While I'm sure Ryobi is a fine company with good safety standards in place,I would not work with one of their tools. Cheaper tools cause more accidents. I used to build houses and this maxim has borne out in almost every conceivable fashion. I bet the saw was underpowered and he was trying to rip a piece of oak. The saw probably kicked back or bucked on him and his hand tried to push the wood through thus costing him his fingers. I feel bad for him. I wish he could have afforded the more mobile Sawstop contractor saw.
And about the cost of the saw. Mr. Gass and his business partners aren't greedy. They invented a great product (the brake) that others would not licence from him. Then, he designed a great saw that I would consider buying without the brake and attached the brake to it. Good for him. Other saw manufacturers need to step it up. Riving knives are only the beginning (as mandated by U.S. law this year). Users need to pressure machinery makers to focus on safety as well as quality and cost. I paid more for the saw because the safety feature was worth it for me and the saw looked and felt solid. I was right on the latter, I hope I never have to figure out if the former is as effective as Mr. Gass has demonstrated it to be.
Finally. You can't buy a Ryobi and expect Sawstop/Powermatic/ Delta cabinet saw or even Bosch table saw quality. You buy a cheap Home Depot saw, you get cheap performance and the concomitant risks. I'm not saying don't buy a Ryobi, I'm just saying, recognize the limits of the machinery you work with and respect them. I do things on my Sawstop I'd never do on a table top saw. I won't do things on my table saw I should be doing with a jointer/sander/bandsaw/jigsaw.
Go on a lumber run with Matt Kenney and he'll show you how he reads a stack of lumber to help him find the perfect board
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In this video Michael finishes the first of the three boxes. Gluing-up, planing, sanding and finishing bring a new piece of art to the world.
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Michael begins carving the saddle lid box with his ripple pattern along the top. Then turns to his 5/30 gouge to texture the sides of the box. This isn't work…
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