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More Details on the Carlos Osorio Tablesaw Lawsuit

comments (285) May 3rd, 2010 in blogs

patrick_mccombe Patrick McCombe, contributor
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In March, a jury awarded $1.5 million in a case against Ryobi for a benchtop tablesaw injury, claiming that the saw should have been equipped with flesh-sensing, blade-braking technology, such as the SawStop system. The verdict, which has major implications for the tool industry, set off a flurry of commentary on the Internet, including FineWoodworking.com.

In a recent article that appeared in The Oregonian, SawStop President Stephen Gass said he felt vindicated by the award. Other tablesaw manufacturers in the industry, including Ryobi and its parent company, One World Technologies, won’t discuss the award, but court documents shed some light on the case.

The blade guard and splitter were removed and
he was making the cut without a rip fence.

In April 2004, Carlos Osorio took a job as a flooring installer for PT Hardwood Floor Service in Medford, Mass. According to the defendant’s trial brief, Osorio had never used a tablesaw before, so his boss showed him how to use the tool and cautioned him about the dangers. A couple of weeks later while installing an oak floor, Osorio was ripping a 21/4-in.-wide floorboard on a Ryobi BTS 15 benchtop tablesaw. The blade guard and splitter were removed and he was making the cut without a rip fence.

More on Tablesaw Safety

Tablesaw Safety Manual
Fight Kickback with a Riving Knife
Master Tablesaw Basics
Safer, Cleaner Cuts with a Zero-Clearance Insert
Tablesaw Kickback: Why it happens
Ouch! First Hand Accident Stories
Fine Woodworking’s Guide to Safety

When he started cutting, he felt chattering and vibration, so he shut off the machine, removed the stock, and cleared away dust and other pieces of flooring from the saw table. Thinking he had solved the problem, he started cutting again, but his difficulties continued, so he pushed the board even harder. His left hand slipped into the spinning blade, nearly removing his pinky finger and severely cutting two other fingers and his thumb. Ultimately, Osorio would undergo five surgeries and 95 occupational therapy visits to treat his injured hand.

In April 2006, Osorio’s lawyer, Richard Sullivan, who first saw the flesh-sensing technology in a CNN video, filed a civil complaint on behalf of his client against One World Technologies, the parent company of Ryobi, Ridgid, and Milwaukee power tools. The complaint alleged that the saw’s design was inherently flawed because it didn’t have "flesh-sensing technology," which would have stopped the blade when it detected Osorio's fingers. Both Ryobi and Gass agree that Gass demonstrated his tablesaw invention to One World Technologies in October 2000. Gass, a patent attorney with a Ph.D. in physics, would later launch his own tool company when he was unsuccessful in licensing the technology to existing power-tool manufacturers.

Late in 2009, when responding to a Fine Woodworking reader's question about why tablesaw manufacturers hadn't adopted the SawStop technology, the major tool companies pointed to a number of reasons why they hadn’t struck a deal with Gass when he first approached them. These ranged from doubts that the technology would work over decades of hard use, to the difficulty—even impossibility—of rolling out the technology through an entire line of tablesaws, especially the small, portable, jobsite saws (such as the saw in the Osorio case) that must stand up to weather and other forms of abuse. Also, most were concerned that if they rolled it out only on some of their saws, it might amount to a tacit admission that their other saws were unsafe.

In any case, Gass went on to found SawStop, which manufactures three tablesaws, two cabinet-style and one mid-sized contractor-type, each equipped with the new technology. It is important to note that as a start-up company, SawStop was able to roll out one model at a time, giving them an opportunity to test their engineering and market viability with less risk.

Osorio's case went to trial in February of this year and was decided about four weeks later. A jury concluded that Osorio was 35% responsible for his injuries and One World was 65% liable. They awarded Osorio $1.5 million in damages even though he was only seeking $250,000. The verdict form indicated that the jury felt the saw was "defectively designed" and the defects were a cause of Osorio's accident.



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Posted: 9:27 pm on January 19th

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Posted: 6:05 pm on February 12th

Mortimor Mortimor writes: The real issue is the corruption of the court systems in the US. The Judge is an attorney, the laws are written by attorneys, and both plaintiff and defendant were required to have attorneys. In these lawsuits, every attorney is a winner, either directly or indirectly. Fairness and justice take a back seat to greed from the attorneys. The Judges are the worst of all, with a very high percentage being active alcoholics and thus not only corrupt but impaired.
Legal decisions are written in a manner to allow for appeals, and often are 50+ pages long, which of course means more billable hours for the attorneys.
It is time to cap attorney payments, much as has been done with physicians. No attorney's labors compare with that of say a cardiothoracic surgeon performing a heart transplant ion, so lets cap attorneys' maximum total payment for a case and all of its appeals to what a the physician is paid for the transplant, for cases where the plaintiffs case involved risk of death. For lesser cases they could be compensated for the equivalent of a hemmorhoid removal. Judges should be sanctioned if more than 3% of their decisions are overturned (Note that the Federal 8th circuit court of appeals is, when their decisions are reviewed, overturned by the US Supreme Court 79% of the time in the last decade, Incompetence or corruption?) The legal system permits gross incompetence by judges throughout all levels. The idiot judge in this case is no worse than the idiot judge who allowed a lawsuit to proceed against a Brit rock band who allegedly produced a record that when played in reverse made noises that could be interpreted as the words, "do it" and thus caused the plaintiff's son to commit suicide.
Posted: 9:06 am on October 6th

sawzall316 sawzall316 writes: Workman's comp filed the lawsuit, not Mr Osario's lawyer.

Posted: 6:38 pm on March 21st

bwanderson79 bwanderson79 writes: The lawsuit was beyond frivolous. To hold a company responsible for your own stupidity, lack of training, and general misuse of the product is wrong and immoral.

Regarding Mr. Gass - the man who created an apparently worthless technology. I say worthless because consumers aren't clamoring to pay a lot more for table saws that have the technology, and companies aren't convinced it actually works either. Since he can't seem to sell his idea on the FREE market, he's decided to see if an unelected bureaucrat at the Consumer Product Safety Comission will make his technology mandatory. In other words, he'd like to force us to buy his product using the threat of fines or imprisonment; all in the name of making us "safer". This is the definition of crony capitalism, and I'm sick of it. Whatever happened to a little personal responsibility?
Posted: 9:51 pm on January 14th

sdunmire sdunmire writes: Making safer tools does not signify the end of personal accountability.

Furthermore, utilizing the court system to compel companies to make safer tools does not signify the end of personal accountability.

Arguably, the courts are just another tool. And the ultimate personal accountability is represented in the freedom for ANY of us to utilize them to change things that one believes should be changed. That is, after all, why they are there.

Reasonable people may disagree on the role of government in regulating an industry, but I fail to understand why this man shouldn't be entitled to at least make his claim.

And, unless you heard all of the testimony, you're just spouting opinion by disputing the jury's decision. Don't lay claim to the facts.
Posted: 5:02 pm on January 5th

woodsurgin woodsurgin writes: In a way, this is an indictment of our education system that we could produce jurors who are so ignorant of reality, and a judge who is so, apparently removed from reality, to even allow this case to proceed. May God help us.
The airbag comparison doesn't make total sense in that operating an automobile, you are dealing with the interaction of other vehicles. You are more in control of the operation of the tablesaw.
We have taken shop classes out our our schools for whatever reasons. We want to create a society where we cannot be injured. This isn't reality. The purposes of shop classes is many fold. For those going into the trades it is obvious. For those going into management, art, politics, or whatever non related field, it is important to understand what has to happen to transform a piece of wood into a finished product and the content of the work involved. From whatever standpoint you are coming from, this is valuable.
Our education system, and the lack of parents' teaching their kids about physical reality, has produced jurors who are removed from reality.
When we turn on any power tool, we need to make sure our brains are connected to our hands.
I am glad to see the introduction of the riving knife and guards which still allow you to see the blade. My worst tablesaw injury was the result of kickback, which a riving knife would have prevented.
Mr. Gasses saws are extremely well built, but won't substitute for our not using our brains.
Posted: 9:03 am on December 3rd

sschwab sschwab writes: OK,it looks like I'm going to be in the minority here but this looks like the debate about airbags for cars two decades ago. At that time the technology existed to dramatically reduce death and injury on auto crashes. The auto makers resisted using all the same arguments we see here. Too expensive, won't work, liability for cars not equipped during transition, etc. I know all about it because I was a safety engineer at GM during this controversy.
Two decades later, the costs have dramatically dropped due to technology and volume and the number of lifes saved per year is well into the thousands. There's not very many people against airbags today and most would say that the legislation was effective.
The tool companies simply aren't going to step up to this on their own so unfortunately, we need to have it forced on them by legislation.
Posted: 8:16 am on December 3rd

Joebot Joebot writes: As a high school woodworking teacher, it was a no brainer to buy the sawstop. I've never personally had a table saw accident ( a few heart pounding close calls) nor have my students because of the way I choose to teach my kids about that snarling beast. OUr decision to get the sawstop was not mitigated by the court at all. The extra thousand bucks pays for itself a thousand-fold if it prevents one of our students from a serious injury.

As for the lawsuit, where was the judgement against the employer? THEY're the reason for the guy's accident. Where was the supervisor of this employee? If that were the case, maybe lots of woorworking and construction shops would re-evaluate their common practice of removing all the safety stuff from their saws and calling guys who use push sticks sissies.
Posted: 7:50 am on December 3rd

lpower lpower writes: one question , if these idiots have their way what happens to the millions of saws and saw owners which exist now . do we have to dump our saws or operate illegally or can i knick my finger and sue for millions ?
Posted: 6:03 pm on October 8th

doddsjzi doddsjzi writes: The Sawstop technology is intriguing, but the founder's remark that this case makes him "feel vindicated" makes me feel like I have no interest in buying any of his products. It's very shortsighted for a manufacturer to take a ridiculous verdict like this as support for HIS product while other manufacturers are victims of a nonsensical verdict. You'll be next, buddy.
Posted: 3:02 pm on May 18th

John_Bellona John_Bellona writes: 2 things to say here.

This whole things is a bit backwards why was not PT Hardwood Floor Service not found guilty of hiring a wetback and then fined accordingly. When is the American Business Owner going to be held responsible for hiring legal workers rather then illegals. It is ridiculous that Ryobie was held liable for this incident (its not an accident if you are stupid). As long as American businesses continue to hire cheap labor over Americans shit like this will continue to happen.

Now for my rant at Fine Woodworking. Who the F are you F'rs to tell me how F'ing many characters I need in my password. What are you my F'ing mother. Fck you and your website security, this is America let me F'ing decide what I want not you or you political party/government/web designer. You guys are as bad is the F'ing jury that determined this award against Ryobie.

John Bellona (an American)
Posted: 6:34 pm on May 15th

mg50 mg50 writes: i've been woodworking for over 30 years. my saw is my fathers 1950 Craftsman. NO SPLITTER, NO GUARD!!!!!!! i WANT TO SEE THE BLADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i also use a rip fence etc. i can count on one hand[5 fingers] the times i've had kickback. just another instance where this half assed agency is trying to protect idiots from themselves. i wonder in carlos has a green card!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that judge and jury should be horse whipped!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted: 9:52 am on February 11th

grldfry grldfry writes: I read all of these and agree that the operator was the one at fault. Ryobi or any other saw manufacturer can't guarantee that some moron wont disable even this sawstop technology thereby causing an unsafe condition which most likely will cause injury. I also wonder if the sawstop technology would fail if there is wax on the table top, as most wood workers use to make work flow more easily. Wouldn't wax work as an insulator? I bet then that some ambulance chaser would sue sawstop for ineffective safety products and getting some shmoe millions just because he used a common treatment on the table top and being careless in using the saw because he felt the sawstop was a cure all!
Posted: 10:15 am on February 9th

NoelNNY NoelNNY writes: Gass leaves one flaw is his proposal (to become more wealthy) and that is the volitional use feature.

We need only one or two volunteers to cut themselves after switching off the feature, cut a piece of aluminum, and then leave it off and have a small injury.

We can then take Gass to court and sue him for not putting technology on the feature which reminded the user the last time the saw was used, the feature was user disabled.

Of course, Gass cannot put this feature on his saw (the inability to use the saw without his feature enabled) and a good lawyer could argue this and possibly win.

But then again one would think McDonald's had good lawyer when some spilled their coffee in their lap.........


Posted: 5:52 am on February 9th

Ledeen Ledeen writes: wow, I just saw this post and as with many other, I am furious!

I do woodworking as a hobby, am female and have been woodworking now for about 6 years. As someone else mentioned I have a healthy fear of my tools and those spinning blades. I read all manuals, I read books on table saws before I used it once..... I learned from both the user manuals and the books you must rip wood with a fence! PERIOD, no excuses, PERIOD.....

I think Sawstop technology is great and maybe the manufacturers could offer it as an option. I completely understand they didnt feel they could add it onto all theirs lines and still be comptetive. I pray our stupid government doesn't make it mandatory, as many manufacturers may just stop making the equipment since at some point its not worth it any more.

I hope the company appeals this stupid decision and gets someone worth their salt to defend them. Everyone who has any experience in woodworking can see this guy was at least 90% or more at fault. Plus, if the employer didnt clearly tell the guy how to use the equipment. Then he should be help partially responsible.

But for goodness sake this is just ridiculous.... like everyone else has mentioned we have lost all self responsiblity in this country. Too many lawyers as far as I am concerned...... has done allot to contribute to this.
Posted: 7:16 pm on December 31st

OldRattler OldRattler writes: I have long realized that behind every sensless little thing I run across that protects us from ourselves there lies one of the Sullivan-like legal beagles who brought a frivolous (albeit successful) law suit on behalf of a person wholly in the wrong to begin with and the fallout hits all of us. This apparently means the "safety notes" included with every tool you buy are meaningless. There is not a single positive comment supporting the guy for obvious reasons.

Its hard for me to not blame the judge who allowed this case to go forward.
Posted: 7:35 am on October 25th

JJerman JJerman writes: People need to take on responsibility.
If you decide to buy a table saw it is your responsibility to educate yourself. What I don't like about the SawStop technology is that it will make your average person less alert.
What if the technology is faulty on a particular saw? The only way to find out is when you actually have an accident.
Shame on the justice system for removing responsibility from the individual

Posted: 2:25 pm on October 18th

MarkEE MarkEE writes: As one who has had fingers mangled by a table saw, it was his own fault. It was my own fault. I feel for the guy, I REALLY do! But come on, no blade guard, splitter or RIP FENCE and it it the table saw manufacturer's fault? Please! I wish I had that lawyer when I almost lost three fingers. People have to realize that many things in life are dangerous and take responsibility for their actions or inaction.
Posted: 9:45 pm on July 6th

just_mich just_mich writes: This unfortunate incident has absolutely NOTHING to do with SawStop technology!!!

I believe the true culprit here is the employer!!! He's the person ultimately responsible for creating a safe working environment and training for his employees! In Canada, we don't sue the @#$% out of people just because we can... and we have worker rights to protect them from dangerous working situations!

Shame on America for chasing the almighty dollar at all costs! What is/are the future plan(s) for making sure that something this irresponsible doesn't happen to another uneducated worker?


Posted: 6:26 pm on June 17th

tamba tamba writes: " I do believe an industry should take every opportunity to make a dangerous tool as safe as possible. I commend the guy who invented a tool that will save fingers from being removed in an accident. If the other tool companies would have followed SawStops lead, this accident and many others could have been avoided."

I believe the implication is a technology exists that could have saved Carlos from himself. Thus Ryobi is liable due to neglect.

The blade guard was removed, a technology that helps prevent loss of digits. The ripfence was removed, a technology that helps prevents kickback and loss of digits. And yet they were removed. So if Ryobi indeed had incorporated the flesh sensing technology and someone disables it, by this juries logic, Ryobi would still be responsible!!!

When you alter the design and intent of safety features of an inherently dangerous machine and then show patent ignorance in its use, it is my opinion that you should not be awarded 6 times more than you asked for in a lawsuit!!!

If this suit becomes a precedent setting case, why would anyone build and sell a tablesaw??
Posted: 6:55 pm on June 14th

bertsy bertsy writes: What happened to the idea of people being responsible for them selves. It wasn't Ryobi's fault that Carlos didn't use a push stick, feather board, or rip fence. Besides, what small time company can afford to shell out the extra money for the saw stop. It's ignorant law suits like this thats closing american companies and forcing us to buy from china and else where. I say shame on Carlos for not praticing safety, shame on that ambulance chasing lawer for causing this mess, and last but not least, shame on the judge for allowing the law suit in the first place.
Posted: 2:40 pm on June 14th

dgogel dgogel writes: The reason this upsets me is because everyone on this forum, and in the woodworking/construction industry are paying for this litigation. That's right you and I are responsible for paying this $1.5 million to this clown. People think that they can just sue a big bad corporation and no one else gets hurt. WRONG. These companies are an integral part of our personal lives. They employ us, they help with our medical insurance, they fund our retirement, and they provide the goods and services that make our way of life possible. Corporations = Individual Americans. And guess what, when the corporation gets sued, the individuals are the ones who lose. It may be through less employment opportunities, lower wages, or a higher price of the goods that we want to consume. One way or another all the individuals get hurt.

Hundreds of Thousands of responsible individuals are forced to pay the price for one idiot. Taking responsibility for your own actions is tough, but it is what a decent human being would have done in this situation.
Posted: 1:16 pm on June 13th

stanrisk stanrisk writes: I like the one where the guy says that the courts should demand that the companies use the SawStop technology like the auto industry and air bags, this ignorance in how our system works, (or should work} is why we are in decline!
Posted: 10:46 am on June 13th

dgogel dgogel writes: There are many inherent risks in life. And you CHOOSE to accept those risks when using dangerous equipment. If you do not want to take risks, then choose a job or hobby that does not involve dangerous equipment (there are plenty out there). If you do choose to take the risk, then take the responsibility for your actions and the consequences of those actions. Anyone who supports this decision is pathetic.
Posted: 12:24 am on June 13th

howard52 howard52 writes: While it is true that every manufacturer should strive to produce the safest equipment possible the ultimate resposibility for using the product as safely as possible remains with the user. No manufacturer should be held responsible for any unsafe actions taken by the user.

Remember the adage, if you build something that is "IDIOT PROOF", sooner or later, a better idiot will come along.
Finally and seriously ... does anyone doubt that there are people who would gladly cut off a finger for a million dollars?
Posted: 8:41 am on June 10th

ninefingers ninefingers writes: I tried to take a casserole out of the oven. I didn't want to waste time looking for potholders and burned my hands instead. I later realized that there is no warning sticker on the stove telling me that the inside of the oven is hot as well as anything that has been in there. Watch out Kenmore - I coming after you.
Posted: 12:01 pm on June 6th

Barshfield Barshfield writes: Sorry to not have added my two cents earlier. I'm a hobbyist woodworker and an attorney (as was at least one other contributor). As a lawyer, I have done some personal injury cases myself, both as plaintiff's counsel and as defense counsel. I like to think I can see all sides of this as far as the "who is to blame" issue. From my view, accidents happen but, with the ever-present 20/20 hindsight, many things could have been done that would have changed the outcome.
The plaintiff could have been smarter (knowing what he was doing), more attentive (both to the training given and to his working environment), more patient (waiting to make the cut until the available safety attachments were indeed installed), more strong-willed (to bring up the lack of safety equipment to his supervisor), and more inquisitive (about the proper safety measures to be taken, assuming he knew enough to even ask). To receive the $1.5 million award, he had to first relinquish a portion of his quality of life. (By the way, from what I've read so far, I can't tell if his injured hand was his dominant hand but, if it was, that is even worse).
The tool manufacturer could have installed the Saw Stop mechanism, a point the jury was somehow persuaded was important. The tool manufacturer could have installed an auto-feed mechanism that was remotely controlled, so the worker did not have to touch the saw at all, except during setup. The tool manufacturer could have elected to not provide a useful tool to the market at all and, instead, required anyone who wanted to re-dimension wood to rely on natural decay rather than interactive mechanical methods. How far is reasonable for a tool manufacturer to go to ensure the safety of the users of its products? It seems that, just like automobiles (as in air-bags, as another contributor mentioned), the safety bar seems to be moved higher and higher as improved technology becomes more available. In this case, that available technology has been proven, but not incorporated into the saw in use. The tool manufacturer was indeed responsible for having not installed this available technology. But was it unreasonable for the tool manufacturer to have excluded it to the point that the manufacturer was liable for the worker's injuries? As for me, I say no. But the decision was not mine and, in fact, it was not that of the attorneys either - it was the decision of twelve disinterested people.
Now the real reason I write - the supervisors here. It sounds like whoever trained this guy did a horrible job, failing to instill in the worker any sense of the safety issues surrounding proper use of a table saw. Even if the direct training was excellent, it appears to me that subsequent supervision of the worker's performance was woefully substandard. You shouldn't train a person and then think everything you told them actually stuck in their head. The worker's performance needs to be observed, the training reiterated where needed, and the cycle repeated. An area where one can get into big trouble is the training that a supervisor should not tolerate - learning by bad example. If this worker was taught all the right things, but then saw another more seasoned worker taking shortcuts and getting away with it, the worker learn will learn a new "standard" of performance and complacency and figure he can do his job "just like the big boys." In short, apart from the worker's lack of common sense (or at least what sense a carpenter or woodworker should have), I blame his supervisors (for lack of a better name for them). They either didn't train him right and then monitor and correct his performance (i.e., what the law calls "negligent supervision") or didn't hire the right person(s) to teach him or look after him (i.e., what the law calls "negligent hiring"). Think about it - if any of you was this worker's supervisor and had seen this worker trying to rip narrow oak strips without even a fence, would you have stopped him and said something? If this was such an obvious error (and it was), sure you would've. So, in this case where the guards and the fence were removed, how did the supervisors avoid being injured themselves? They had someone else expose themselves to the risk.
Overall, I say bad supervison is a major culprit here, combined with the worker's lack of reasonable care for his own safety (assuming he was sufficiently trained in the first place so as to be able to better say "he knew better"). The tool manufacturer? It was a big target because it represented a big pocket. The juries want some source of money, any source, to pay an injured person what they think the loss is worth. If it doesn't come from the employer, then they look to whoever else just might share some responsibility, including product manufacturers. In this case, it was Ryobi.
Posted: 10:39 am on June 5th

raider511 raider511 writes: lets get this straight, HE WAS RIPPING A 2 1/4" WIDE BOARD, FREE HAND, WITHOUT A RIP FENCE. First of all, THIS IS THE DUMMEST THING YOU COULD DO. You can't rip cut wood free hand on a TABLE SAW without something giving and most likely it will be the wood flying off the table saw and some part of your body meeting a very fast spinning BLADE and STEEL is stonger then FLESH. You NEVER, NEVER RIP WOOD WITOUT A RIP FENCE, PERIOD. It isn't RYOBI'S failt that this IDIOT MISSUSED the table saw so he shouldn't have been AWARDED anything. I have been a woodworker since 1970 and have never cut any part of my body with a table saw or any of my power or hand tools. I watch what I am doing and I'm safe around my tools because I know that they are DANGEROUS and unpredictable.
Posted: 11:04 pm on May 22nd

Working Wood Working Wood writes: Even though I do not agree with the jury in this case. I do believe an industry should take every opportunity to make a dangerous tool as safe as possible. I commend the guy who invented a tool that will save fingers from being removed in an accident. If the other tool companies would have followed SawStops lead, this accident and many others could have been avoided. My question is why the other tool companies refuse to implement this type of system. I'm sure the initial cost to get it started will not be cheap but it seems the industry is not thinking about the safety of it's costumers.

As a matter of fact I'm in the market myself for a new saw and the only choice for me is the SawStop. I wish I had more saws to choose from but the fact remains, SawStop is the safest tool on the market. It's not that I'm a clumsy guy and think one day I will cut my fingers off, but I just like the idea of having this type of assurance in case of an accident. I also have a son that will one day inherit my tools and I would like to know that this new technology will protect him as well.

I know the tool companies have tough choices to make sometimes in order to keep cost down and be competitive in the market, but I just think they failed to see the opportunity here, and that is to say that operating this type of machinery is not as dangerous as it used to be. In fact I think that many companies would see a drop in insurance rates and this would well compensate for the higher cost in the machinery itself.

My heart goes out for all those who have been in horrible machinery accidents. Carpentry and woodworking do not have to be such a dangerous occupation. With a little training, common sense, and a tool that has great safety aspects, we would see less emergency rooms and greater production in the shop. Maybe instead of having one choice for now, the courts will change this to be like the auto industry: YOU HAVE TO BUY THE AIR BAG BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE !!
Posted: 1:19 pm on May 20th

MattGreer008 MattGreer008 writes: I'm a lawyer, but not personal injury or product liability lawyer.

The problem with everyone's outrage is this: While it's easy to sit back and say we don't want frivolous lawsuits, there really is no good way to decide which ones are frivolous and which ones aren't. The best way I (and the rest of western society over the course of our history) can think of is to get 12 uninterested people together, have each party tell their side of the story, and then let those 12 unbiased people decide who is at fault and who is not. THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE AND EVERY OTHER JURY TRIAL.

It can be said (and probably in this case) that juries tend to be too emotional and sympathetic to injuries, and they decide cases on that basis. Even if that's true, how else should we decide cases? And if you want to change the system, you'll need a Constitutional amendment to repeal part of the Bill of Rights (7th amendment). Good luck with that.

In this case, the argument isn't necessarily that saw-stop itself should have been installed, but instead that the technology exists, and is economically viable to make the saw substantially safer, and that Ryobi consciously chose not to do so. The legal standard is whether Ryobi's design of the saw rendered the product unreasonably dangerous. The key word is unreasonably. All table saws are dangerous, but when there exists an economically viable technology that makes the product much safer, to not install it COULD be seen as unreasonable.

I'm not saying I agree or disagree with this verdict. The problem here is the intersection between law and facts. As woodworkers, many here only see the facts of this case. But when the facts are applied to the applicable legal standard, it's NOT that crazy or insane.

If you have a problem with it, the answer is to write your Congressman and tell them you want a Constitutional Amendment so as to no longer guarantee a jury in a civil trial. And then write your State Legislatures and tell them you want legislation to change the legal standards in product liability suits.

All of the arguments that you all make about personal responsibility etc. really speak to a legal defense of "assumption of the risk." Legally, sometimes that defense is available and sometimes it's not. It depends on the particular state law and the exact type of product liability claim. I'm not sure about Mass. but in some cases, if the product is proven to be unreasonably dangerous, than it doesn't really matter what the user did or did not do. I'm not saying this is a good rule, but if you don't like it, the answer is to call your state rep.

Just know that it incredibly hard to draw those lines such that people who are genuinely hurt by a defective product to get compensated for their injuries. Just ask the people with defective heart defibrillators in their chests that randomly shock them for no reason. They got nothing due to a highly technical rule dealing with the intersection of state and federal laws. The system isn't always perfect, but in this case, it seems to have functioned properly.
Posted: 12:09 pm on May 19th

jacko9 jacko9 writes: Oh, by the way - the jury was nuts!
Posted: 9:48 pm on May 18th

jacko9 jacko9 writes: Cheap labor with poor training has been a problem in American for many years. I'm 65 years old and I have few relatives that were killed in industrial accidents but, I would never blame the tool manufacturer. Poor training and greed can sum it up very shortly. I guess stupidity can also be a factor if a person has been given instruction and then ignores those instructions or comes to work stoned or otherwise impaired.
Posted: 9:43 pm on May 18th

HokieJoe HokieJoe writes: Manufacturer's should NOT be forced to license Sawstop's technology. If I want a Sawstop, then I'll buy one!!! Freaking nanny-state poltroons want to eliminate all risk. Scum bag, greedy, parasitic lawyers get rich and we get to pay higher prices.

I would've thrown this bogus case out of court.
Posted: 11:24 pm on May 16th

rennerratt rennerratt writes: I strongly disagree with the jurys thinking that the dumbass using the saw in the manner in which he was is 35% to blame. my line of thinking is he is about 90% to blame. anyone who cuts freehand on any table saw and gets hurt is mostly to blame.
Posted: 10:43 pm on May 16th

mgmeyer mgmeyer writes:
Happens all the time:

http://failblog.org/2009/08/21/eye-protection-fail/


Posted: 11:17 am on May 16th

joetatoo joetatoo writes: A lot of you guys are being unreasonable. I've been a carpenter for over 30 years and I've seen my share of defective tools. If the tool cannot be made to standard at a reasonable price than it should not be made at all. The guy was on the job and it was not his own tool. His boss should have been more responsible with teaching him safety standards. Also there are a lot of cuts that are very difficult to make with the guard on it because of visibility. Also it looks good on these companies because they were offered the safety feature from the saw stop founder and refused to implement it. That is a gross negligence on the toll makers part. No matter the cost of the safety feature it should be added. No amount is worth your health and limbs.
Posted: 6:35 pm on May 15th

Roger7 Roger7 writes: From reading the above synopsis, I feel like we are missing a lot of information. Based on the facts of the case, I don't know how any reasonable jury would find that the tablesaw manufacturer was liable for this injury. Just because the technology is available, does not make it mandatory for others to use it. Quite the contrary, patents generally PREVENT other manufacturers from using new technologies developed by their competitors.

Just because an expensive option is available on some models, it shouldn't mean that all other products are held to the new technology "gold standard". Should a car manufacturer be liable for my head trauma if I choose not to buy a car with side impact air bags? If the option was available and more expensive, so I chose not to buy it, isn't it my own fault? Or should we force car builders to remove all older models from the road each time a new technology becomes available?

What about me suing the manufacturer of my 5 year old skis for a knee injury that MIGHT have been avoided if they had used better bindings that are available today? Should they have recalled all old models when they came out with the newer, safer one?

Can I blame a golf club manufacturer for my poor golf scores after I bought the discount model set?

I think the answer to my questions should be "no". It's not an ideal world, and sometimes we have to just use common sense and take responsibility for our own safety.

Posted: 7:19 pm on May 14th

hawaiisam hawaiisam writes: THis is one of the reasons that our country is in such great trouble. If they needed flesh sensing technology they should have purchased it. Saw stop is available and ready in the market place. All that will happen now is insurers will see other saws as a liability becasue they do not have the technology avaliable on thier saws and probably cause their prices to go up based on increased insurance premiums. TOTALLY FRIVILOUS. At bare minimum why was a fence not being used??? This sounds like the employers problem. I feel bad for anyone who gets hurt, but somtimees we make mistakes and we must owe up to the mistakes we make and let them be a lesson to ourselves.
Posted: 3:38 pm on May 14th

MattGreer008 MattGreer008 writes: I'm a lawyer, but not personal injury or product liability lawyer.

The problem with everyone's outrage is this: While it's easy to sit back and say we don't want frivolous lawsuits, there really is no good way to decide which ones are frivolous and which ones aren't. The best way I (and the rest of western society over the course of our history) can think of is to get 12 uninterested people together, have each party tell their side of the story, and then let those 12 unbiased people decide who is at fault and who is not. THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE AND EVERY OTHER JURY TRIAL.

It can be said (and probably in this case) that juries tend to be too emotional and sympathetic to injuries, and they decide cases on that basis. Even if that's true, how else should we decide cases? And if you want to change the system, you'll need a Constitutional amendment to repeal part of the Bill of Rights (7th amendment). Good luck with that.

In this case, the argument isn't necessarily that saw-stop itself should have been installed, but instead that the technology exists, and is economically viable to make the saw substantially safer, and that Ryobi consciously chose not to do so. The legal standard is whether this design rendered the product unreasonably dangerous. The key word is unreasonably. All table saws are dangerous, but when there exists an economically viable technology that makes the product much safer, to not install it could be seen as unreasonable. All of the arguments that you all make about personal responsibility etc. were no doubt made by the defense during trial. And the defense lawyers were no doubt well paid. But the jury didn't agree.

I'm not saying I agree or disagree with this verdict. The problem here is the intersection between law and facts. As woodworkers, many here only see the facts of this case. But when the facts are applied to the applicable legal standard, it's NOT that crazy or insane.

If you have a problem with it, the answer is to write your Congressman and tell them you want a Constitutional Amendment so as to no longer guarantee a jury in a civil trial. And then write your State Legislatures and tell them you want legislation to change the legal standards in product liability suits.

Just know that it incredibly hard to draw those lines such that people who are genuinely hurt by a defective product to get compensated for their injuries. Just ask the people with defective heart defibrillators in their chests that randomly shock them for no reason. They got nothing due to a highly technical rule dealing with the intersection of state and federal laws. The system isn't always perfect, but in this case, it seems to have functioned properly.
Posted: 2:42 pm on May 14th

MattGreer008 MattGreer008 writes: I'm a lawyer, but not personal injury or product liability lawyer.

The problem with everyone's outrage is this: While it's easy to sit back and say we don't want frivolous lawsuits, there really is no good way to decide which ones are frivolous and which ones aren't. The best way I (and the rest of western society over the course of our history) can think of is to get 12 uninterested people together, have each party tell their side of the story, and then let those 12 unbiased people decide who is at fault and who is not. THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE AND EVERY OTHER JURY TRIAL.

It can be said (and probably in this case) that juries tend to be too emotional and sympathetic to injuries, and they decide cases on that basis. Even if that's true, how else should we decide cases? And if you want to change the system, you'll need a Constitutional amendment to repeal part of the Bill of Rights (7th amendment). Good luck with that.

In this case, the argument isn't necessarily that saw-stop itself should have been installed, but instead that the technology exists, and is economically viable to make the saw substantially safer, and that Ryobi consciously chose not to do so. The legal standard is whether this design rendered the product unreasonably dangerous. The key word is unreasonably. All table saws are dangerous, but when there exists an economically viable technology that makes the product much safer, to not install it could be seen as unreasonable. All of the arguments that you all make about personal responsibility etc. were no doubt made by the defense during trial. And the defense lawyers were no doubt well paid. But the jury didn't agree.

I'm not saying I agree or disagree with this verdict. The problem here is the intersection between law and facts. As woodworkers, many here only see the facts of this case. But when the facts are applied to the applicable legal standard, it's NOT that crazy or insane.

If you have a problem with it, the answer is to write your Congressman and tell them you want a Constitutional Amendment so as to no longer guarantee a jury in a civil trial. And then write your State Legislatures and tell them you want legislation to change the legal standards in product liability suits.

Just know that it incredibly hard to draw those lines such that people who are genuinely hurt by a defective product to get compensated for their injuries. Just ask the people with defective heart defibrillators in their chests that randomly shock them for no reason. They got nothing due to a highly technical rule dealing with the intersection of state and federal laws. The system isn't always perfect, but in this case, it seems to have functioned properly.
Posted: 2:42 pm on May 14th

lotsofquestions lotsofquestions writes: Frivolous
Posted: 9:01 pm on May 13th

lotsofquestions lotsofquestions writes: Frivolous
Posted: 8:59 pm on May 13th

Will_Matney Will_Matney writes: To Tyman1,

That happened in a case where I worked. I worked in Engineering for a mining machine manufacturer who made roof bolting machines. We found in the end that the guy purposely mashed his hand, and tried to say his belt caught the lever that raised the drill head in one of our machines.

First, I got the job to design and build a full scale wood mock-up of the drill assembly, and we had a set of hydraulic valves attached in their correct position. We knew the mans height, and the height to the roof of the mine. The man was about 5'-6", and I was 6'-2", and try as I might, using the mock-up, and a piece of foam broad overhead, acting as the roof, I could not have made my belt come close to those hydraulic lever controls while having my hand around the drill head.

When the man and his attorney arrived at our corporate office, the attorney was stunned, especially when we asked the worker to show us what happened. We handed him a belt with a battery light and self-rescuer like they all carry, and then we found out some interesting things. We also found out that this worker confided in another worker, and told him what he actually did. The guy had wanted to retire early under disability, and hurt himself.

Instead of going to court, there was a settlement, and the case was dropped, but the head of engineering said it was cheaper this way than going to court. The guy was also forced back to work, and was threatened with fraud by workers comp. Luckily, he hadn't applied for SSI yet, or he would have had them down on him too, in my opinion.
Posted: 1:23 pm on May 13th

Tyman1 Tyman1 writes: You don't need training to realize that a table saw blade that is cutting through wood has the ability to cut through your hand. There would be no reason for the plaintiff to assume that the blade would stop immediately upon sensing human flesh, yet the decision seems to indicate that the jury felt that this would have been a reasonable assumption.

Personally, I would advocate that the plaintiff should review his decision making process. Assuming that the blade would stop is a decision that really has no upside to it. THe down side is obvious, you cut your hand off. Assuming that the blade would mot stop for human flesh doesn't have much of a downside other than that one has to be more careful. This is more than offset by the upside: You aren't injured!

Let's not forget also that nobody was there to corroborate the plaintiff's testimony. Who's to say he isn't lying and cut himself intentionally because he is lazy and wanted to not have to work for the rest of his life?


Posted: 12:57 pm on May 13th

dromney dromney writes: I am bothered by this jury award, but I seem to not fall into the same group think that I am reading here. First of all let me disclose that I am an Electrical Engineer and a SawStop owner. I love the saw, and made a concious decision based on the safety technology to pay the premium price for the SawStop. However, that in no way excuses me from behavior that puts me into danger.

What I am attempting to say, is that this guy obviously put himself into a dangerous situation (aided by not enought trainging .. likely) and really has no excuse for his accident. I own a SawStop, but I would never never never rip a board without the riving knife and a rip fence.

I feel that it was my choice to put out the extra $ to own the safety equipment, but that does not excuse me from appropriate safety concious choices.

I feel this is a bad decision by a jury, and hope that upon appeal a better decision will be reached (disclosure # 2, my son is a lawyer). However, tort reform is a slippery and dangerous slope to go down. I do not want to give up my right to sue a company that does show true negligence. This happens all the time and results in life changing injuries. If the ability to sue is limited the companies have no reason to make their products safe. Large companies understand the bottom line and can easily make the calculations on paying out nuisance fees, but think twice when the risk of a large settlement is in play. No, we need to keep our right to sue as a fundemental ability.

It is too bad our court system is abused by a few, and is threatened by reform that has the potential to cause harm to the rest of us. I hope the appeal system works in this case. This guy, if I understand the circumstances, was asking to be hurt. Just as if he ran across a busy freeway.

And .. Thanks to SawStop for pioneering a true safety innovation. I like the engineering that went into it.
Posted: 4:48 am on May 13th

jamiejay jamiejay writes: It,s just another case of someone stealing legally!! I think the sorry, looking for something for nothing, SOB, should have cut all his fingers off!!! Anyone who uses a table saw without a rip fence is just looking for trouble!! He was 100% at fault not the damn saw!! The saw isn't pushing the wood through itself!!!I've seen subcontractors bring the biggest POS saw they find and cut without a rip fence and I think to myself(This guy is just looking to hurt himself).An as for Gass. Fine,you had a great idea but don't force it down all the saw manufactures throats to pad your own damn pocket either! It sounds like they wouldn't listen to you so you went crying to the goverment for help! Think about all the honest people out there that have accidentally cut off a finger or worst. You don't see them sueing for money they don't deserve!! They understand that they were at fault period. An as for myself I listen to the best word of advice I ever heard " If it seems unsafe in anyway find another way or just don't do it" And for anyone that cares both of my saws have the guards removed. I just use common sense and a properly adjusted rip fence and I still have all ten digits! Knock on wood!!HA HA!
Posted: 7:08 pm on May 12th

PushkinsButton PushkinsButton writes: As a woodworker and a physician....I can believe this....it happens everyday. Please tell your government representatives that you demand tort reform, without it, every hard working, honest, responsible American pays for this madness!
Posted: 10:58 pm on May 11th

tommy_60 tommy_60 writes: I'm still speechless on this matter. I still can't believe this really happened. I mean how challanged was this guy and even worse where in the heck did they get that jury. I'll bet there wasn't one person on that jury that had any knowledge of woodworking machinery. Is there no common sense left in this world any more. The judge should have thrown it out of court, he also needs to be taken out back and smacked up against the head. Think I'll just go out to the shop, fire up the ole Delta Uni and see how rich I can become. Hey! What was that lawers number again 1-800-Acmelaw
Posted: 9:32 pm on May 11th

splinters007 splinters007 writes: What do expect He's from a very Liberal State, MA. He should have never been awarded that kind of money, shame on the Jury!
Posted: 9:27 pm on May 11th

nutmegmarketer nutmegmarketer writes: As I understand it, Saw Stop technology uses electrical currents to distinguish human flesh from wood. In environments that many portable table saws are used in, the moisture from wet wood (soaked by water not just damp) or a sudden rain storm could trigger the cartridge. As an employer I am surprised that his boss wasn't the one sued. I suspect that is part of another story and that the attorney saw an opportunity that didn't present itself with the employer (shallow pockets). The end result of this is that tools will become more expensive and some options will be taken away. One more nail in the coffin of a society in which we accept responsibility for our own actions.
Posted: 8:57 pm on May 10th

DonAtlGa DonAtlGa writes: I have a Jet table saw in the basement. No guard on it.
Also a Makita portable saw - same deal. How big a piece of me do I need to cut off? Which company will pay the most??
Was that my outside voice??

It's only a matter of time before someone disables a Saw Stop saw and removes a body part. Using this case as precedent
a jury would have to find for the injured party again.

Seriously - I hope One World appeals this one. And hires better legal staff. Unbelievable.
Posted: 7:08 pm on May 10th

Flavius Flavius writes: I wonder what about Osorio's boss?

After all, he is the one who gave Osorio this job without making sure he is skilled enough and use saftely the equipment he is having to use.

I wouldn't tell Osorio is a moron like others. We do not have enough details about this guy. However, my best guess is his boss is the first person liable for the safety of his employees. Maybe he hired Osorio because he is not skilled and is ready to work for peanuts, etc.
Posted: 5:40 pm on May 10th

Will_Matney Will_Matney writes: To whattheheck;

I have heard rumors of Tort Reform for at least 15 years, but nothing has ever became of it. If anyone wanted to run for congress, and promise this, and follow up on it, and do it, I would whole heartedly vote for them despite their politics.

Back when the current laws were written, they were designed for a good thing, but with the loopholes included in the language, you get these types of law suits. This is one reason why a lot of the manufacturing has left the US, and went overseas. You would have to read the Uniform Commercial Code to understand why.

What is needed is a Federal Tort reform, that trumps all state law. It should limit product liability suits to malfunctioning equipment that breaks and causes an injury, and save harmless the company if any safety measures have been defeated. It should also limit the payouts of these law suits, instead of allowing them to sue for the ungodly sums they seek, and put a cap on the attorneys fees. If the attorneys wouldn't make that much money off a suit, they would quit doing it.

In this case, if the saw guard had been installed, and the fence, but the guard broke, and caused the mans hand to hit the blade, then I would say there was a case, but no other way. Unfortunately, the way the differing state laws are, and the loopholes, this isn't the case.

The problem will be the slip-and-fall attorneys, and their lobbyists in Washington, who will argue that their hands will be tied with Tort Reform, and unfortunately, we have plenty of lawyers elected to the house and senate that may agree.
Posted: 3:20 pm on May 10th

BLANCOPO BLANCOPO writes: Saw Stop should quickly expand their technology to work with Miter Saws, Band Saws, Portable Circular Saws, Drill Presses, Jointers, Planers, Saber Saws, and any other power tool they can think of. Given the results in the Osorio's case, manufacturers will then be obligated to purchase the rights to new technology and use it or risk being sued when some fool disrgards basic shop safety and hurts himself. Hey can one buy stock in Saw Stop? Lawyers and inept power tool users shouldn't be the only ones to profit from this silly decision. Hey, I have all my fingers (due to good safety practices) and not enought money. I wonder if this scam would work in California?
Posted: 1:20 pm on May 10th

whattheheck whattheheck writes: I am not a lawyer. I am a computer consultant. However if I had been on the jury it surly would have never ended in that conclusion. This whole thing beggs the question of should the manufacturer be forced to incorporate every new feature into his or her product. Should a safety guard be required on a screw driver? I don't know anyone that uses them that has not drawn blood with one directly or off some other object while using one.

Juries tend to beleave that they have no power and must listen to the judge and his rules. That is simply not true. In the courts we often have an uninformed and clearly uneducated populous dealing with technical issues and being given rules that they do not understand. All to often they are forced to bring in a verdict based on a definition that is flawed and they do not have the guts to stand up for common sense.

I have worked with tools all my life and most of them are inherently dangerous as are guns, cars, and knives. When we use a tool we should be required by law to assume certain risks. When we remove safety features we should do so at our own risk. When a worker is given a modified tool, he should be informed of those risks. All to often the employers hires less qualified personnel and forgets that they are in danger if they do not have those skills. Apparently there was lack of training and understanding of the workings of the saw and the worker should not have been using the saw. However this is beyond the scope of the manufacturer. Some how the lawyers must have done a poor job pointing this our.

With the advent of seat belts and the like a crash becomes less dangerous for the passengers. However it does not do anything for the pedestrian. I wonder how this impacts the building of a motorized item such as the auto, tractor, truck, or boat. Have you ever seen a motor home with seatbelts and airbags for all or a boat?

This goes way beyond wood working and must be appealed.

Posted: 12:02 pm on May 10th

MrGhrelin MrGhrelin writes: Saw stop technology should be implemented industry wide. If it makes its inventor rich, well... he deserves it. Everyone is focused on how the tool was used and what the user could have done to be safe. Those are obviously good steps to take. But the fact remains that thousands of table saw injuries happen each year. All those trips to emergency rooms are just costs being passed from the manufacturers to the user. Even though those cost may be hidden by insurance, they are enormous. 1.5 million is peanuts compared to whats being lost. It's about time that manufactures worked a little harder to make tools safer, especially the ones most recognized as being major problems.
Posted: 10:54 am on May 10th

MotorT MotorT writes: I think I may have a defective Table saw. When I stand in front of the blade, it turns down into the table, but when I stand on the left side the blade turns clockwise and when I stand on the right side it turns counter clock wise.

Hey this might be worth a couple of hundred thou. That confused blade can't make up its mind which direction it's going.

But again frame of reference is important and if you change your frame of reference the rotation of the blade will neccessarily change too. We have shifted from personal responsibility to finding someone else to blame for something that's my fault.

Unbelievable. And the Trial Lawyers are making a fortune off companies who manufacture products people want.
Posted: 12:38 pm on May 9th

Will_Matney Will_Matney writes: To philroe;

Yes you are correct, and Kelley Uustal hurried and bought a special dot com over it to advertise it. Quite catchy name they have for it; tablesawattorney dot com.

They are also spreading the same tripe, mentioning SawStop's technology, and that all the saw manufacturers knew about it in 2000. Well, so what if they did? If you go back and look at the Gass patents, he kept improving the electronics for several years afterwards. What you see from SawStop now is not what they patented in 2000.

These attorneys, and ones like them, are only out for one thing, to line their own pockets, while using some Joe who was injured, and who has no morals to sue a company over their own fault. I can assure you, that the attorney does not have any morals, or scruples, about him/her, if they would go after the same type case.

A good friend of mine cut his thumb on a table saw about two years back, and he has looked at this case, and totally agrees that what went down here shouldn't have happened. He knew what he did, his own self, was his fault, and he never sued over it. He did make a joke about it though, as he held his thumb up to me the other day, and asked, "You mean I could have gotten a million outta this"? He laughed afterwards, and we talked at length about the stupidness of this case. My friend wasn't using a guard either, nor was he paying attention to the cut, he admitted.
Posted: 11:25 am on May 9th

tfyfe tfyfe writes: oh Lord! My problem is that the nails i use on my job site are really really sharp and the hammer that i use to install them sometimes misses the mark! Anyone know a good lawyer i can call about these obvious human rights injustices!
Posted: 10:45 am on May 9th

jonky5 jonky5 writes: Very simple equation:

Stupid plaintiff with no scruples
+
Injury Lawyer
+
Jury(at least 10 stupid people)
+
Big Company = Lots of free money

In most cases, the jury doesn't care if it makes sense or not. If the attorney is smooth and likeable, the jury will go for the deep pockets. They know the company will pay, they know it's wrong, but they don't care. It's a sad commentary on the state of our country.
Posted: 10:44 am on May 9th

samh samh writes: This is representative of what is happening to our society. It seems no one wants to take responsibility for their own actions.
Posted: 9:31 am on May 9th

JHODD JHODD writes: If I were to write a 500-word article on this MORON, I could simply write MORON 500 times and I would be right on the mark. MORON, MORON, MORON...and I would like to throw in the jury on that as well. I once saw someone cross-cutting scrap wood freehand, without a miter gauge. Another MORON. I was taught to have a healthy respect, knowledge, and fear for any tool, hand or powered, in order to ensure that I used it properly and safely. It is difficult to have respect for a tool when one is ignorant. One other point - why should Ryobi take the fall? This could have happened to any other toolmaker; they are all just as culpable, which is to say, not at all. It just was their dumb luck that this MORON was using their saw. If the design or production of the saw in question was flawed compared to other like tools, that would be different. This MORON was 100% to blame for his "accident" due solely to his disregard for the safety features provided and his ignorance of proper technique.
Posted: 10:59 pm on May 8th

Fabuladico Fabuladico writes: I wonder how many people on that jury had ever used a table saw before. I would think that if they had, they would have understood that the plantiff was using the tool irresponsibly in the first place, thereby placing the blame firmly where it belonged; with the user.

I also find it interesting that this decision would in effect make it unlawful to reject any invention or improvement offered. Obviously, Ryobi is being penalized not so much for the plantiff's injuries as for not buying SawStop technology when offered. The saw was now defective, therefore this should not have dealt with product liability. This is a case of an untrained machinist being injured by his own stupidity. At the very most it should have been workman's comp.

The dude's attorney simply decided to go where he thought he could get more cash. I would hope that this case will be overturned in appeals.
Posted: 8:45 pm on May 8th

JWTroup JWTroup writes: This is why I will never manufacture anything in the US.
Posted: 8:14 pm on May 8th

philroe philroe writes: I see that the ambulance chasers have started with this thing. Check the website of Kelley Uustal.
Posted: 4:22 pm on May 8th

Will_Matney Will_Matney writes: To MotorT;

You bring up some very good points, especially about OSHA and Workers Comp.

First, if the Ryobi saw was defective in it's design, OSHA would have stepped in a long time ago on other job sites, and not allowed its usage.

Second, the saw was UL listed to be as safe as possible, and would have had enough safety attachments, and held up, to pass the test.

Third, the injured man should have went off work on Workers Comp, that is if his employer was not a fly-by-night business, and not paying in to Workers Comp, which is against the law by the way.

Forth, since this was a job site related injury, there should have been an OSHA investigation, and most likely one by Workers Comp against the employer.

If it had been a Union contractor-employer, a skilled worker would be the only one allowed to use the saw. In order to use one, you would have had to complete an apprenticeship program. When you join the Union, you start out as a greenhorn, and work your way up the ladder. When you get to the point of using the saw, you would be experienced, and would know better than to do what the user did. As a matter of fact, you could have refused to run it over an unsafe working condition. The contractor would have had to fix the saw, or bought a new one.

I would imagine, that not one juror knew anything about woodworking, because if I had been on that jury, I would have refused to agree with the others, and made it a hung jury. I wouldn't care if I had to be sequestered with the others for two months, I would not have folded.

Last, maybe One-World - Ryobi should look into another law firm to handle their case, as their attorney should have argued this case better. If nothing else, brought a saw, with no guards or fence, into the court room and asked the injured man to show the jury how he got hurt. You can do this, as that happened with a mine machine company I worked for. Once they saw the court stupidity of it, maybe there would have been a different outcome.
Posted: 2:54 pm on May 8th

Dane_J Dane_J writes: What ever happened to "Read, Understand and Follow the safety rules that come with your power tools"... oops that assumes the ability to read AND understand!!!

There are a number of flaws with the "assumption" that the lawyers and jurors made:

1. The operator accepted the risks when he removed the safety features.
2. The operator was aparently aware that something was wrong when he stopped and 'diddled' with stuff... IMHO he should have asked for help, but obviously pride and stupidity prevailed.

Correct me if I am wrong but SawStop has the ability to disable/disarm the flesh-sensing so that it will not be fired by green or wet wood... lets assume that is correct, then it is only a matter f time before there will be a law suit aginst SawStop because the operator elected to disarm the safety feature.


Posted: 1:03 pm on May 8th

MotorT MotorT writes: So call me a slow learner. I realize now this was a 'Work' related accident, not one in the basement. Being an Electrical Contractor for 20 + years, this is a whole new ballgame.

Osario was hired off the street to work for a flooring company. Which means he had no experience using a table saw. IF he did it was not much. That is what the prospective employer should assume. If there were no guards on the machine and obviously no other safety devices, ...where was the ever present OSHA, This was a clear violation of OSHA safety rules. Where was the State, county and city inspectors for this job, surely, they needed a permit for this job. If that contractor gave this 'New guy' a quickie lesson on how to use a table saw then this redistributes blame.

Secondly, Was this guy hired in the parking lot of Home Depot ? Is English this guy Osario's first language ? Is he an "undocumented Worker"( to be PC) who may have not understood the instructions, if he didn't it was his responsibility to say so and get further instructions on what to do. If anybody should have been sued it should have been the flooring contractor it was his employee, who he trained to run a table saw. But of course the contractor is samll potatoes compared to Ryobi.

This gives a good case for Unions. They would never allow an apprentice to run that machine on his first time on a jobsite and especially without proper safety equipment. On this, I agree with the Union .

After that contractor bought that saw it was his, I don't see how Ryobi can be held responsibile, he was sold a saw, a saws function is to cut wood, it did. And why didn't the contractor hire someone familar with construction tools and equipment?...Like say, a Carpenter. Because, he was a small contractor and couldn't afford to hire a qualified worker.

Also we didn't hear anything about what Workmens Compensation had to say about this, they too should be involved, after all governments want to regulate every aspect of our lives.

When we did a job on a site, anything pertaining to the electrical end of it, the Electrical Contractor was responsible. Even extension cords. We would(shall) supply them, if some trade showed up with an unapproved cord, we would get the fine from OSHA. That was the case when there was an option of approved grounding means as opposed to GFCIs. That may have changed with the new code, but regardless. The contractor has ultimate responsibility on the jobsite. Not the manufacturer of the equipment.
Posted: 12:31 pm on May 8th

james3one james3one writes: One more thing. A reality check. The SawStop device would add, according to some, up to $200.00 per saw. The most I have ever paid for a power tool is $199.00(a Ryobi sliding compound miter saw, thank you very much). This would put any table saw out of my reach. I rely on a table saw for both my personal projects and professional ones as well.
Posted: 10:27 am on May 8th

james3one james3one writes: As I see it, once they starting removing safety devices, the existence of the SawStop technology became irrelevent and should not have been admitted. There is no guarantee of personal safety with this feature or any other after you start bypassing them. Osario was using the saw improperly and the foreman is responsible for enforcing a safe environment. Blame for the injury goes there. The judge allowed the evidence and blame for the lawsuit goes there.
The jury was doing what they thought best, given the evidence. Ryobi made a quality tool with the same safety features established and used by the power tool industry.


Posted: 10:07 am on May 8th

maestrpscultore maestrpscultore writes: What ever happened to taking personal responsibility for our actions? I sincerely empathasize with anyone who has been injured by a power tool. I have, too! - My bad! However, sueing a manufacturer for our own negligence only increases the cost of tools to the rest of us. What ever happened to holding Corporate Officers accountable for fisical responsibility. When I attended law courses in the 70's, the policies were "buyer beware" (the buyer accepts responsibility when he/she purchases a product) and "fisically responsible" (Corporate Officers who cheat the stock holders and the consumers go to jail). Today, the courts assume the average American is an idiot that needs to be protected, and Corporate Officers (and elected Government Officials) are so crooked that they have a right to steal and go unpunished. What a reversal of values.
Posted: 12:11 am on May 8th

Davo304 Davo304 writes:
Well, they say in a court of law the jury is supposed to be a "jury of your peers"...in other words, of similar background and experience as the defendent. Evidently this jury met that criteria...cause they were as equally stupid as Mr. Osorio!

I would like to know if there was even one wood worker sitting in on that jury? I seriously doubt it. And there lies the shame of it all...you got moron lawyers, judges, and juries ruling on cases that they haven't a clue as to what is actually right or wrong cause they have no real working knowledge/ experience concerning the subject they are debating....tablesaw safety.

This lawsuit should have never come to trial. The fact that it reached court attests to the fact that the judge has no woodworking knowledge...otherwise this case would have been thrown out. The jury surely had no knowledge...the proof is in their statement that Mr. Osorio was only 35% responsible.....I say bulsh*t to that too.

In all actuality, the Foreman who "trained" Osorio was really to blame. I'd lay 75% on him and the other 25 on Osorio because it seems obvious that Osorio had no real clue as to what he was doing. As another poster said earlier, he was a neophyte...a rank beginner...just a baby when it came to knowing how to operate that saw. Foreman is to blame....and if Osorio did not have enough mechanical apptitude to recognize the danger signs when the saw is bogging down and such, then he should have never been "broken in" on the tablesaw in the first place. The foreman should have used this guy elsewhere, or not at all.

Davo
Posted: 11:18 pm on May 7th

MotorT MotorT writes: He made the cut without Rip fence, no guard, or splitter, I didn't know they rewarded stupidity. But he's only 35% responsibility. There was somebody else in the room holding a gun on him to run that saw. We have reached the bottom of the barrel. We have gone from a Nation of Laws to a nation of victims, it doesn't matter what you do it's not your fault, just find a good 'slip and fall' lawyer and he'll prove the it wasn't your fault.

Also Ryobi is suppose to retro-fit his saw with a flesh stop. How absurd. He obviously bought the Saw before they came out or he refused to pay the extra money for that feature. NOW, who can they blame for that...Ryobi, of course... they made it so expensive he couldn't afford the extra bucks for that particular safety feature. Boy, oh boy you can't argue with that kind of convoluted logic.
Posted: 4:11 pm on May 7th

pjmelanson pjmelanson writes: Karlpe, I agree with a lot of what you say. The thing that bothers me the most is that they found him only 35% responsible, to me that is out right stupid. He violated Every common sense rule and written rule in the instruction book which caused his injury. People need to take responsibility for there actions. Just like someone said earlier (not mention some examples i used earlier) if i was stupid and accidentally shoot my self with a gun because my finger was on the trigger is it the gum producers fault? As you mentioned you earned the right to use a table and mostly used it responisbly this guy did not and that is where most of the blame should be accounted to. I own a saw stop because it is an overall superb saw but i still use carefully, and would never of attempted any of the things this guy did.


Posted: 2:16 pm on May 7th

KarlPe KarlPe writes: It is going to be interesting to see what the appeals court thinks of this case. In order to appeal, there must be an error in procedure or a ruling in error by the judge. The jury is the trier of fact and thier verdict cannot be appealed. As I understand it, the SawStop inventor presented the idea to a number of manufacturers and was rebuffed. There is a clear parallel between him and the inventor of airbags. The industry should be indited by not lecensing the technology and then offering it as an option on those saws that could accept it, and then disclaming responsibility on those saws that they thought could not accept it. This case will hopefully force all the manufacturers to adopt "flesh sensing" technology, or license the technology from SawStop like they should have done in the first place. I earned the right to use a table saw at age 8 and am now 50 and still have all my fingers. Pawls, riving knives, featherboards and such were non-existant when I learned to use push sticks to keep my fingers away from that spinning blade. The main thing that bothers me is the guy who gave this guy a saw with minimal training, then let him work with it unsupervised. If I had seen an employee having the types of problems the court documents mention, I would have stepped in and did some more teaching. That being said, I would imagine that every teaching shop in this country is either equipped, or trying to find a way to get equipped, with SawStop technology. It is just a better way to go. 99% of the time, there should not be a need to turn off the circuit and that should take care of most times the circuit is needed, just like the airbag in the middle of the steering wheel of my car. To answer the guy who asked about the lone hot dog, it has too little mass to be sensed, so you have to hold onto it as you feed it into the blade to cause the blade to withdraw. To restate: it is going to be interesting to see what the industry does with this decision, because I do not see any way for the 70%+ blame that the jury put on the saw manufacturer going away.
Posted: 12:40 pm on May 7th

RalphBarker RalphBarker writes: I'm hoping that Ryobi will appeal the verdict and a better-informed court will reverse the decision. The injury was caused by user negligence and lack of proper training.

While I like the SawStop technology, there is a big difference between gingerly edging a hot dog into the blade and doing so at normal working speeds.
Posted: 11:04 am on May 7th

Ed_Pirnik Ed_Pirnik writes: Will_Matney, you make a good point. The SawStop is certainly no "cure-all." I have never, in my many years of using tablesaws, even come close to having an accident- simply because I have a healthy fear of the tool. When I'm making a cut, my eyes are on my fingers, all the way through the cut. While fear can be a paralyzing force, when tempered, understood, and respected, it can really keep you safe.

Cheers,

Ed
Posted: 9:29 am on May 7th

Will_Matney Will_Matney writes: What's really troubling me with some of the posts I've read is that, I'm afraid, some may believe that SawStop is a cure-all for everything that can happen with a saw, when it's really not.

The flesh sensing technology does nothing to stop kick back, and by what some have reported, you can still be cut using it. If you couldn't, they wouldn't have included a blade guard on a machine that the new technology is supposed to keep you from getting cut by, so why have the guard?

They also have something to stop kickback, which would be mounted with the guard, most likely. That would be a riving knife or splitter, and probably a hold down.

Now, I have the very Ryobi machine that is pictured for this article, the only difference in them is my base is painted black and not gray. The Ryobi has a set of pawls that hold the board down, and keep it from kicking up when the guard assembly is installed. If I remember correctly, that is what happened to help with the accident in the law suit.

From what I've read, the guy tried to force a piece of flooring through a blade, probably dull from the sound of it, without the guard and anti-kick back pawls installed. He was also doing the cut without a fence which would have guided the board straight into the blade, instead of crooked. All of this compounded the problem, and it caused him to slip and hit the blade, cutting his hand.

If the blade guard had been installed, his hand wouldn't have met the blade, most likely, and the pawls would have held the board to the table. Pure ignorance to saw safety caused this, not the saw.

This is like suing a gun company for somebody accidentally shooting himself, when the gun didn't cause it, the one messing with the gun did. If the trigger hadn't been pulled, it wouldn't have went off.

My thoughts are this, don't trust that SawStop is the cure-all for your table saw woes.
Posted: 7:58 am on May 7th

markpackman1 markpackman1 writes: This lawsuit wouldn't happen in most other countries because if someone was stupid enough to remove safety features, try to cut freehand, and end up getting injured, they would be too embarrassed to admit it!
Posted: 11:19 pm on May 6th

DingerJ DingerJ writes: Red_F hit the nail right on the head. The fault lies in the user and his supervisor(s). One (or both) of them CHOSE to remove the safety features and their negligence would lead me to believe that if the flesh-detecting feature were installed, they'd probably find a way to bypass it too.
Posted: 10:47 pm on May 6th

crpntr4life crpntr4life writes: Thanks "saw stop" for allowing me to enjoy passing on my trade to my son in a safe manner.
Posted: 10:02 pm on May 6th

crpntr4life crpntr4life writes: Oh wait! I have an idea: lets ask congress to pass a law that requires everybody interested in buying a power tool take and pass a safety training and get license in order to buy the tool and we can pay through our taxes...makes sense right?, just like removing safe-guards from power tools! I want my son to learn my trade because he has shown interest on it...guess what table saw I am switching to?, no it's not ryobi! I love my son and will take every safety measure out there in order to protect him.
Posted: 9:58 pm on May 6th

USNGunner USNGunner writes: How stupid can our court system be? This idiot removed safety items and his boss should not have sent him on a job without proper supervision. It is an absolute disgrace and this is what makes prices so high. I just can not believe the stupidity in the court system today.
Posted: 7:01 pm on May 6th

USNGunner USNGunner writes: How stupid can our court system be? This idiot removed safety items and his boss should not have sent him on a job without proper supervision. It is an absolute disgrace and this is what makes prices so high. I just can not believe the stupidity in the court system today.
Posted: 6:58 pm on May 6th

gramparon gramparon writes: I have a question, in addition of every thing wrong this guy did, I suspect he was attempting to rip 3/4 oak flooring with the wrong blade and/ or a very dull one. LISTEN to your tool's they will talk to you if you listen. Like STOP STUPID THIS IS NOT WORKING. Just a thought. Ron
Posted: 6:04 pm on May 6th

BarryO BarryO writes: I have to think this is gonna be thrown out on appeal, don't ya think? Conventional wisdow is that jury verdicts are often based on emotion, and the idea that insurance companies will pay for it Then more-objective heads prevail during the appeals process; that whole "checks and balances" thing.

Ryobi shipped a product fully in compliance with industry standards (UL), and OSHA regulations for use in a workplace. This guy ignored the tool's manual and modified it before use by removing important safety components. Seems to me the fault lies with the operator (for modifying the tool into a dangerous configuration and failing to follow the manual), and the employer (for lack of proper training and enforcement of safe workplace standards).
Posted: 5:11 pm on May 6th

JaySorenson JaySorenson writes: This verdict makes me absolutely furious! Where does personal responsibity end and corporate responsibility begin? Take the quote in big letters at the beginning of the article:

"The blade guard and splitter were removed and
he was making the cut without a rip fence."

Did no one explain to the jury what would happen without these things? The blade guard is a 'meh' piece of safety equipment in my book. You can get away without using it easy if you've got more in between your ears than a sock filled with popcorn. I've got my doubts about *ahem* certain individuals at this point...

A splitter/riving knife is much more important because kickback is much more dangerous. No amount of awareness or skill is going to keep a piece of reactive wood from closing in on the blade if it wants to. You need this piece of equipment whenever you're making a through cut.

But a rip fence??? Who would be dumb enough to NOT use a rip fence for ripping!? You're pretty much begging for a serious injury if you're not using a rip fence for ripping operations! I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but the obscene audacity that some fancy pants lawyer could convince a jury that a saw was defective when it's very clear to any woodworker who's been doing it for a minute that the operator was the one who was defective! 35% liable? He is 100% liable!

Power tools are inherently very dangerous. Any adult possesing some brains and common sense can discern that. Tool companies put labels and stickers all over their products explaining the risks, telling you to read the manual, and that if you don't understand how to use the tool that you SHOULD NOT USE IT! When he was having trouble with his cut he should have gotten help. His coworkers may have laughed at him a bit and called him a dumb*&^# but he'd still have full use of his fingers and maybe he would have actually learned a useful skill instead of burdening the legal system with yet another frivolous lawsuit in the sue-happy nation we call the United States of America.
Posted: 4:25 pm on May 6th

uncle_grant uncle_grant writes: I taught hundreds of students over a period of 26 years and never once did a situation like this occur. I agree that training in the this case was grievously lacking. But then again there is such a thing as stupidity. Should a manufacturer be penalized for an individual's lack of brains? Mr. Osorio certainly had plenty of warning that the machine was not responding to being forced.
Posted: 2:34 pm on May 6th

MadScientist MadScientist writes: It seems to me that faulty training is more to blame than the tablesaw. I know the manufacturer is the one with the money and therefore the best target but that doesn't make it right. I consider the "Saw Stop" technology to be a feature and the lack of it does not constitute a defect. The fact that all safety equipment was removed from this tablesaw shows negligence on his and his employer's part.
Oh well, I guess I'll be paying more for a new tablesaw in the future.
Posted: 1:51 pm on May 6th

Will_Matney Will_Matney writes: To techedghs:

In engineering, there are a lot of variables, and what safety factors to use. One example of a safety factor is that a device is meant to lift one ton, but make it withstand two tons, and it has a 2:1 safety factor.

An engineer will run every possible scenario through their head, and I give SawStop credit, they have some good ideas. However, I would have used a motor brake, or a brake mounted to the saw arbor spindle that would trigger and kill the rotation in milliseconds before it even dropped under the table. It would have saved the blade too.

The way the patent read, it considered the number of teeth on the blade, and the blades RPM for the timing on when to stop the saw, and they use the count of two of the saw teeth making contact if I recall. However, that's using a 36 tooth blade. A plywood blade, etc, will have many more teeth in contact with the skin for the same arc of rotation as the two teeth of a 36 tooth blade in the same amount of time, it's just plain mathematics.

You are also correct that a plywood blade would most likely cut into the aluminum more than a 36 tooth blade would, as that is the way slotting saws for metal are made.

I would like to hear about what would happen with a plywood blade tripping, or if someone was cut with one. That's not me wishing it would happen though.

I imagine what caused the treated lumber to trip it was the copper that is in the wood. It would make it more conductive than wet wood.
Posted: 1:48 pm on May 6th

techedghs techedghs writes: To Will Matney:

We have a Saw Stop at work. A maintenance employee tried to using it to cut treated lumber and it tripped the safety device.
The blade is not to be reused as it incurs a violent collision with the aluminum stopping block. The blade cuts into it and becomes jammed. Maybe the blade could be reused, but it is not recommended and we did not.
Concerning the plywood blade and high tooth-count blades, we do not use them on that cabinet saw. Not only are there the concerns you mentioned, but there is the concern of the stopping efficiency of the Al block upon the blade. Once we saw the end result of the lower count blade in the aluminum block, and saw how the Al block stopped the blade, we thought a thinner or high tooth-count blade could possibly (we never tested it) spin longer, cutting through the Al block momentarily, prior to stopping the rotation.
Even with that said, the blade does slam down below the surface of the table at the same time. It seems as if it is designed to not allow items to block this downward travel, but zippers are designed not to get stuck too. Apples and oranges I know, but the point is I never trust a mechanical safety if I can avoid it.
Just putting in my 2 cents based on what I have seen.
Posted: 1:27 pm on May 6th

techedghs techedghs writes: I teach Technology Education at the high school level. If I ever removed safety devices and there was an injury, I can almost guarantee I would lose everything - career, house, savings, insurance coverage, etc.
Whatever happened to people being responsible for themselves? My circumstance is a bit different, I am identified as the person responsible for maintaining a safe environment. However, I never saw a machine manual that claimed the device was always safe to operate regardless of how the operator uses it. On the contrary, every manual I have ever read for a power tool extensively describes specific actions that will render the tool or process unsafe.
The injured party was overwhelmingly at fault. And regardless of lawyers, they are doing what they are hired to do, juries should be smarter than this. With decisions like this, no wonder it's increasingly hard to keep prices down or even a business afloat at times.
Posted: 1:02 pm on May 6th

Will_Matney Will_Matney writes: To Bob_Buddha;

Bob, as you were typing this, I went and downloaded a couple of the patents, and saw the schematic for the circuit, and you are correct, that it does use capacitance, and a micro-controller, or PIC chip. What I read was that green wood, especially fresh cut could cause the saw to shut down, and then the lock out is to be used. The new saw design uses a table made like a capacitor, in layers, but I think if ones doesn't watch, the effect could be shunted, and the saw still not work properly. I would watch about using crosscut sleds on this too, as that would add a thick layer of insulation for the capacitor action.

Also, I saw the explosive restraint, and I assume you would have to purchase a new one to replace the old one with it. It works like explosive bolts do, and releases the mechanism.

One thing bothered me though, and that was the tooth number, as they seemed to keep quoting a 36 tooth blade. What about a finer tooth blade, or even a plywood blade, which would cause more teeth to bite into the skin before the time limit in the controller was up. A good plywood blade cuts like a hot knife trough butter.

I saw someone comment that if you're cut, it could be 1/8" deep before the saw stops. Well, I'm skinny by nature, and 1/8" would be close to hitting bone on the side of a finger for me. That's hitting artery's and nerves.

I think I'd just rather take my chances with a good blade guard with a splitter, feather boards, and good push sticks, keeping my hands away from the blade.
Posted: 1:01 pm on May 6th

Will_Matney Will_Matney writes: Oh I imagine they wouldn't want the employer involved over workers compensation, and a state investigation. The employee could file for workers comp too.

In my opinion, if the employer removed the safety features, he/she would be just as much at fault as the user, who could have refused to run the machine without the guards in place.

The thing that troubles me is the ruling saying that by not using the SawStop system, all table saws have a design flaw. That is total BS to me, and this case could have wide reaching consequences, not just effecting our table saws. It could set a precedent for other law suits for other types of machinery, enough to shut down major business in the US until the machinery was upgraded. Not just saws, but drills, lathes, mills, or anything with a cutting tool really.

The appeal could mean a lot to whether other lawyers will suddenly dig up cases and go to court. It could also cause a rewrite of a bunch of insurance companies policies.
Posted: 12:44 pm on May 6th

resyakk resyakk writes: I like this verdict for one reason, it pushes us all closer to the day when we can retrofit our saws for a reasonable price. I have used table saws for over 60 years and never drawn blood. Yet, the only reason I did not buy the saw stop was that it would not fit in my shop. The minute I see a kit to retrofit my saw I will buy it.
Posted: 12:42 pm on May 6th

pendoreille pendoreille writes: Interesting arguments all around. I haven't seen the argument that the employer is primarily liable because he failed to provide a SawStop tablesaw for his employee. I'm sure the lawyers looked at this, but felt there was nothing to gain. They went after Ryobi instead.

Is there any merit for a contractor to buy a SawStop? The technology can offer safety, but can also be temperamental. When the SawStop is triggered it destroys the blade and a part of the equipement. Should a contractor therefore have multiple SawStop saws on hand? How realistic is that?

I feel the same as many. It is unfortunate that Mr. Osorio was injured, but to hold Ryobi responsible is inappropriate, especially when all of the safety equipment was removed. I hope that Ryobi pursues an appeal, but I wouldn't be surprised if Ryobi decides that paying 1.5 million is cheaper than continuing an expensive legal battle.
Posted: 12:11 pm on May 6th

Bob_Buddha Bob_Buddha writes: From what I've read, it does indeed use capacitance but coupled with a ADC (Analog to Digital Converter) rather than a simple transistor based switch. This means it can measure very minute changes in voltage. The static charge is provided by the circuit and is drained constantly through a large resistor, giving a measurable voltage. Your body is draining the charge away faster when contact is made, thus causing a significant voltage drop. It is actually a very simple circuit with modern ICs.

The cartridge has a heavyweight spring that is held in a compressed state, glued together with an explosive epoxy. When the tiny amount of explosive (like a fire cracker) goes off, it releases the spring, sending the aluminum pawl into the blade and the inertia of the impact pulls the entire mechanism down, withdrawing the blade below the table top. From detection to detonation, the time is in milliseconds.

When an arbor nut is cranked down on a blade it will make positive contact with the metal blade and the teeth of saw blades never have paint on them. Even if there is a thin layer of paint, the gap will be small enough to let charge through, thus the paint would be acting as a dielectric.

The circuit is simple, and should be fool proof. This is not to say that it can't fail, but it would have a low probability of failure. If the odds of failure were 1 in 1000, and I doubt it would be that high, it would be 99.9% reliable.

The important note to those prudent personal responsibility types, most SawStop owners will never see the device work. Its there when its needed, just like the airbags and seatbelts in your car. (Though if and when I buy one, I'm gonna put a hot dog in it)

Also the bypass is there if you need to cut wet wood, thin aluminum, certain types of plastic, etc. that might set it off. And no, you can’t sue if you bypass it.

PS I don’t see anything in the article saying that the plaintiff is the one who removed the guards, thus putting responsibility back on the employer. Sometimes it’s necessary to remove them, like when using a crosscut sled. I could see another simple circuit that would detect the presence or absence of the guard, but that too would need to be able to be bypassed.

Posted: 12:02 pm on May 6th

Lpillow Lpillow writes: After looking over the responses it is clear that the main issue is being overlooked. No matter how many safety devices are created they don't help if they are not used properly. What is needed is an enforcement system. The FTP (Federal Tool Police) will be charged with seeing that all safety systems are installed and working properly. Anyone failing to follow all safety regulations will be fined and/or jailed. Clearly this will work; just look at the excellent results achieved by federal intervention in other state and private areas: banking, securities, health care, illegal drug use, the list goes on and on. Its the American way.
Posted: 11:54 am on May 6th

EdWeber EdWeber writes: I think a lot of people are missing the point of the case.
"The complaint alleged that the saw’s design was inherently flawed because it didn’t have "flesh-sensing technology,"

This should have been an easy claim to argue against. The phrase "inherently flawed" is what is disturbing and why the case has further implications. If this ruling stands it would mean that any TS without flesh-sensing technology would be "inherently flawed", right?
It matters not to me if my saw has this feature or not, but I disagree that it is inherently flawed without it.
Posted: 11:47 am on May 6th

Will_Matney Will_Matney writes: This is to zzpm,

If they have a lock out key, why on earth would they need one, unless the blade is being false triggered by something you're sawing? If that is the case, are they responsible for buying the user a new $100+ blade?

I agree, that if the lock out is used, and the user is then hurt, it's the users own fault. I also agree that if you take off the simple blade guard, and splitter from any table saw, and the fence too, the user is at fault. That's just an accident waiting to happen trying to saw unguided work.

As anyone knows, there is only a few instances for not using the blade guard, and that is when we use panel jigs, etc. Does that make the saw manufacturer liable to us if we get cut using a panel jig? What about making crown moulding on a saw? Is the woodworking magazines liable for showing us how to do it?
Posted: 11:45 am on May 6th

Will_Matney Will_Matney writes: Something else I thought of after my last post yesterday, was about skin sensing technology. If the SawStop system does use capacitance to work the electronic circuit of the trigger, there is a possibility it could not work every time. If any have touch lamps, you'll know why. Every now and then, a touch lamp wont turn on-off by touch, and that is because the human body fails to act as a capacitor. In other words, the human body acts like a capacitor or battery, and holds a static charge, and this technique is used by the lamp, to actuate it. I'm sure you've all been shocked before by grabbing a car door handle, or something metallic, and that is the static charge in your body dissipating. Every now and then, your body can't do this, and the switch on a lamp wont work.

Also, what about using a blade with a painted surface? The teeth are generally bare, but I think I would rater the thing stop if I touched any part of the running blade. Also, what if the blade is painted where the arbor hole is, and keeps the blade from making contact with the sensing mechanism? What if you're wearing gloves while you work, even the thin nitrile ones?

Without knowing for sure that SawStop uses capacitance, I wont say that it will or wont work, but it would be a possibility if it did use capacitance. I guess if you own one, you could always carry a hard rubber comb or a balloon on you to rub your hair with and recharge yourself.

Here's a test to see what might happen. Using a SawStop saw, take a hotdog wiener, and put it into the blade without holding it with your hand. Use a stick to push it into an old blade that you don't care about, and see if the blade drops.
Posted: 11:31 am on May 6th

pjmelanson pjmelanson writes: Come on Andrew, you seem to be in the minority by a cosiderable margin when it comes to the idiotic use of the saw by this guy. You never addressed my question about the car accident i mentioned. You just went on to talk about how much you make and hour. That original question still stand and I have a couple more. let see if you are willing to take on these next 2 questions as a high priced lawyer. I live in a state where there is no helmet law. If i was riding my motorcycle and and made a turn either to fast/severe and wiped out or slipped on some dirt that resulted in severe head trauma, can i sue the maker of the bike? or am i just an idiot for not wearing a helmet???? (hint i was an idiot)You also made a big deal out of me having a sawstop. saftey is a concern and i can afford it but it is also a great saw even outside of the safty feature. They (SS) also have a by pass keyy on the saw as well. If I was to turn that off and have an accident is sawstop still responsible for my lost fingers????? It has the technology you are harping on!!! My opinion NO I was the idiot that shut it off (ie. like removing the the fence, splitter, and other safety devices) Will you represent me in these two cases for the 350/hr, if you believve in it so much or would you pass since you most likely wouldn't get a dime. I doubt it!!! maybe you will just com up with another excuse as to why it was not my fault. Again it comes down to taking responsibility for your own idiotic decision. Like someone else mentioned it states in the instructions the risks involved and not to take off the safety devices.
Posted: 10:44 am on May 6th

MD_Bucky MD_Bucky writes: Based on the logic used in the lawsuit, Ryobi was not responsible for the saw causing the injury, but instead the Power Company supping the power to the saw. If the power company had not supplied such a lethal amount of power that could be transformed into kinetic energy, thus causing an injury, the accident never would have occurred. Same goes for car accidents. It never the drivers fault, but rather the oil company for supplying the gasoline. What is truly scary is a jury came to the conclusion and not just one dumb judge. Let's remember, this person has the right to vote, the right to own a gun, the right to procreate, the right to obtain a driver's license and control a 3 ton vehicle at 65 mph, but is only 35% responsible for causing injury to himself with a table saw. Where is the logic?
Posted: 9:28 am on May 6th

Bob_Buddha Bob_Buddha writes: I find the dichotomy interesting and can express it best this way:

Remember the grumpy old man Dana Carvey character on SNL way back when? “We didn’t have seatbelts, if we got into an accident we knew right where we were going – straight through the windshield. AND WE LIKED IT”

Then we have on the other side we have the “Moms” who won’t let their kids go anywhere near a skateboard unless the kid is cocooned in foam and hard plastic.

In the middle are techie people like me, who know a thing or two about manufacturing, electronics, computers etc. right down to the ICs, capacitors and resistors and can tell by looking at it, the difference between an M3 screw and a 6-32 screw.

Never mind the single technology employed in the SawStop. Future woodworking tools will have computers in them and might just stop when it doesn’t like where your hands are or what’s going on with that piece of wood you’re jamming into it.

The grumpy old man types will bitch about every step between here and there all the while longer for the past which they know sucked. The “Mom” will relax a little more when “Dad” heads to the garage with a pile of wood to cut up. And Techie types like me will say ‘neato’.

As for all you people out there who think this is just about some dufuss striking it mildly rich and a poor multi-million dollar public corporation playing the victim. Ryobi will be having to make some press releases to keep the stock trading. Ryobi will be employing SawStop technology in future products and will in near term have warnings in bigger bolder letters. Other manufacturers will do the same.

Yes McDonald’s got sued by a woman who placed a scalding hot cup of coffee between her legs, but now you can go to McDonalds and get a McCaffe that will be handed to you through that window at a precise thermostatically designated temperature in a thick cup and a tightly fitting lid. Smile and STFU.

Posted: 9:25 am on May 6th

Red_F Red_F writes: OK, if the guy/crew went to the trouble of removing ALL of the safety features from this saw, what makes us think that he wouldn't have removed or bypassed the flesh sensing part of it?
Posted: 9:04 am on May 6th

BigLar99 BigLar99 writes: When a technology regarding safety becomes available it is imperative that it be implemented quickly. If it is made known to a manufacturer and he decides against the safety feature he becomes liable for an injury to his customer because he rejected something that could have prevented the injury.
As I see it most manufacturers don't want to include the safety feature because of the additional cost. They only are thinking of today's profit, and not of the future profits, or liability. This seems to be the mind think of most businesses today. No planning for the future.
Both parties were responsible for what happened, but most of the responsibility should have been placed on the operator of the equipment for removing the safety guards. One guard should have been included that wasn't.
Posted: 8:52 am on May 6th

JFT45 JFT45 writes: He took the blade guard off and the blade may have been dull as well. I say Carlos and his boss are 100% responsible for his injuries by committing an incredibly unsafe act with what anyone with any sense understands can be a dangerous tool when used irresponsibly.

Very sorry he was injured so severely, but the fault does not lie with the tool manufacturer.

Hopefully, this ridiculous award will be overturned on appeal.

Only in America!
Posted: 7:31 am on May 6th

Oaktree_Wood_Works Oaktree_Wood_Works writes: Wait a minute, IF the saw was turned off, no safety system would have worked... Plus the Company that produces that particular safety device would have to authorize other companies to use it... What the Hades.. Stupid morons that allowed this one, I hope that it gets corrected in appeals and fast.
Posted: 12:57 am on May 6th

Stokely Stokely writes: Seat belts and childproof lighters were insane too. Bicycle helmets, GFI outlets, airbags, and my favorite - tobacco kills are more crazy ideas that liberal sissies cry about.
Um, wait a minute. If I make my living with this product, shouldn't I want it to be safe. This is a product that allows me to feed my family. If it can be safer so that I can continue to earn, the Stockholders will just have to take it on the chin. Better them on the chin than me on the hand.

Why would I care if a big corporation has to spend some money on making their saws safer, they don't care if I can't earn a living due to loss of fingers or hand. Come on people, just because they advertise doesn't mean you have to support stupidity.
Posted: 12:19 am on May 6th

crpntr4life crpntr4life writes: I strongly disagree with the outcome of this settlement. For one, most of us, if not all of us, who use power tools in our respective professions, are aware of the inherited dangers therein and even more so what could happen when we neglect the safety measures built in to the tools we use: rotary saws have blade-grads, grinders have wheel-guards, table saws have blade-guards, rip fences, feather boards, pushing tools, large off-switches (most of them any ways), riving knives, we can build sleds for them..... I mean, perhaps this poor fellow was not properly trained, perhaps he was taught to use the tool without the safety gear......the "saw-stop" is not a safety device required by law, if it were I would agree with the jury. Perhaps safety gear in power tools should become a law rather than an option, that way tool manufacturers would be protected against the negligence that some of us exhibit when using this tools.
Posted: 11:58 pm on May 5th

twentyguage twentyguage writes: As a former vice president of a lawnmower manufacturer, I faced many suits such as this. While it is a shame that the guy was injured, it was his own fault. The saw was in all probability state of the art, passed safety specs as they were written and carried all cautionary literature. The guy was carless, did not follow safety proceedures and hurt himself, period.
Any fault probably should have been laid at the feet of his supervisor for not making the guy put the safety equipment on the saw.

All of the law suits that were filed against the lawnmower manufacture where I was employed were caused by the operator's carelesness and not using good judgement when using a lawnmower. This seems to be the case here. Another case of lawsuit abuse.
Posted: 11:48 pm on May 5th

losangeles losangeles writes: A saw needs human intervention in order to cut,e.g., power on and material feed into it. A screwdriver will put your eye out if you work at it. Freehand ripping what a dumb ----.If you can't fix stupid--why reward it?
The lawyer should be sited for bringing a case without merit and ordered to pay 175% of defendant's costs and Joe No-Finger should pay 25%.
Being responsible for your own actions--rather unique concept, ya' think.
Posted: 11:27 pm on May 5th

Ken_Guthrie_Atlanta Ken_Guthrie_Atlanta writes: Football helmets cost substantially more today because lawyers decided that players, even though assuming the risk of playing football could cause injuries, would be a possible win when put to trial if a player was injured - AND THEY WERE RIGHT. Cessna aircraft corporation stopped producing airplanes for several years when the cost of manufacturer's liability insurance became so exhorbitant because juries kept awarding hugh awards to families whose loved ones were stupid enough to run out of gas even though the planes had gas guages and warning lights.

Why don't we quit making cars because someone might get drunk and run into a tree; why don't we quit having babies because they might grow up, go skiing and get hurt when they run off the side of the slope? Should we put guard rails down all of the slopes, covered in rubber, with large wind turbines to blow them gently back on course. Come on people, we need to take responsibility for ourselves, set limits on court awards, and have judges who can judge and juries that have brains.
Posted: 11:10 pm on May 5th

ving ving writes: There are a lot of remarks flying around about responsibility, lawyers etc. Lets look at this whole thing a little differently.

Remember the lady in California who spilled hot coffee on her lap and got 15 mil from McDonalds? Was that fair to McDonalds? Of course not. Deep pocketed lawyer? Screwy jury? Or some of both! Maybe she should have had a lead lap cover.

If I'm boiling water for hard boiled eggs and I knock the pan off the stovetop, who's to blame? ME, naturally!
Will any of you say I'm only PARTIALLY at fault?
This is no different. Who will I sue? The stove manufacturer for not providing a high fence across the front to prevent the accident. How about the pan manfacturer for having the extra long handle I bought when shorter handled versions were available? Where is COMMON SENSE????

This case should never have gone this far.

Following the logic mentioned in some of these remarks regarding manufacturer responsibility, all stovetop manufacturers will be required to put permanent front fences on their appliances (something far less expensive for the stovetop manufacturer than the Saw Stop technology on a portable saw). Then there is the pan manufacturer. The same arguments would require very short handles or no handles in favor of two loop handles like on large soup pots.

There is no difference. There are products in all price ranges for all economic classes, or more simply, personal preference or need. REQUIRING a DIY handyman who only occasionally needs a table saw that can be stowed under his bench, or the flooring installer who needs portability, to purchase a saw weighing hundreds of pounds and cost thousands of dollars is tantamount to requiring anyone who needs a car to purchase a Rolls Royce. Afterall, tanks are much safer that tin cans. Maybe we can start suing auto manufacturers when someone gets injured in a car accident, and heaven forbid if anyone is killed.
Posted: 10:42 pm on May 5th

Bob_Buddha Bob_Buddha writes: Why is that people continue to harp on personal responsibility as a reason not to employ safety precautions.
Yes, if you use a tool in an unsafe manner then you are likely to be injured and its your own damn fault. But if there is a means by which the same exact situation would result in a better outcome, then that means should have been employed. PERIOD.
Important points:
1) Ryobi had an opportunity to employ the technology and decided not to.
2) Someone was bound to get injured by a Ryobi saw after that point.
3) That someone hired a lawyer.
4) A jury, not a judge or a lawyer, but 12 people like any of us decided that Ryobi failed to do what it could to make a safer device.
P.S. Kitchen knives don't have 3 horsepower motors attached to them and I’ll bet your hairdryer is plugged into a GFCI outlet, as required by code.

Posted: 10:29 pm on May 5th

Sodie Sodie writes: There is plenty of blame to go around. The "boss" who likely didn't take the time to be certain his instructions were understood, the worker that likely didn't understand english, the attorney that represented the tool, the judge that allowed the case to proceed to such a lofty place and the court of common sense. I read this article and it sounded so stupid I thought it was made up. What happened to reason and taking responsibility for your own safety???
Posted: 9:46 pm on May 5th

Mortimor Mortimor writes: My German kitchen knives do not have flesh sensing technology so it is possible for me to cut off my nose to spite my face. Obviously this would be someone else's fault. But would a flesh sensing safety device keep me from carving up rare steaks?
Obviously if I drive drunk as a skunk, with under-inflated, worn out tires, brakes that are shot, while performing Clinton like acts with a woman half my age, while texting with my cell phone to buy more alcohol, and crash into a school bus full of kids, the cell phone company is to blame because it did not install flesh sensing technology - or should that be alcohol sensing? Now I confused. I going to take a shower with my hairdryer - its OK cuz' I removed the warning label.
The truth is that our courts are run by crooked judges who allow suits to proceed where the responsibility for the bad event was clearly the not the defendant's. This moron judge would make all tools unavailable/unaffordable using his alcohol twisted logic and there would be no difference in injuries since fools would still remove or deactivate the safety devices.
Posted: 9:33 pm on May 5th

Will_Matney Will_Matney writes: AndrewK,

Sure, the splitter and guard are extra parts, but they simple, few, and do what they are meant to do; keep ones hands away from the blade, and prevent kickback.

To use Gass' system, we have to look at how many extra parts are added, and how complicated the mechanism is. The electronic sensor uses a multitude of electronic parts, then there is the mechanism that drops the saw blade, and the brake shoe that ruins the blade once it's dropped. Plus, they rely on the electronics never failing, which, in turn, work the mechanical attributes or the mechanism. Then, you have to rely on the multi-part mechanism to not fail.

In a way, if a good attorney was to call an electrical and mechanical engineer to testify as expert witnesses, they could probably make the argument that the SawStop system wasn't as safe as a saw equipped with a simple guard, splitter, and fence. It's the Rube Goldberg approach if you will. In other words, SawStop may use 100 parts to do what a simple splitter and guard should and does do, which do not rely on sensitive electronic parts to control them.

Also, another problem arises in that by using the SawStop system, the user may think it much safer, thus making he/she braver, and do more dangerous procedures on the saw, thinking that they can't be hurt. On top of that, the SawStop system will still cut you, by what I've read, and that is still an injury, just not as bad as it could be.

Without looking at the electrical schematics for the SawStop, I am assuming they use capacitance formed between the body and saw to actuate the electronic trigger. This is the way those touch lamps work, where as soon as the skin makes contact with the lamp, it turns on. Also, by what I've seen, the blade still turns until it hits the metal brake shoe. It would have been safer to use a brake motor so when the electronic trigger switched, the motor would be stopped dead in its tracks, shutting off the blades rotation in a split second. The manufacturers could use this idea to skirt by the Gass patent, and most likely do it much cheaper.

What I'm getting at though is one is better off, and has a more reliable machine, when using the least amount of parts that could fail. It's up to the consumer to be safe in using it, when the manufacture is making machines that are acceptable to the public, and safe as past practice dictates. Especially, when the consumer knows that when going into this kind of work, he can be injured. It's not only up to the manufacturer to make the machine safe, but the consumer to use it safely.

By the way, whether I get feeling back in my finger or not, I would not sue the hammer manufacturer, even though they could design a Rube Goldberg apparatus to pull my arm back if the hammer tipped one of my fingers. They actually make a cheap screw and nail holder out of foam, and the hammer manufacturers do not include one with their product. It's really the same thing, just a different tool.
Posted: 9:31 pm on May 5th

NoelNNY NoelNNY writes: One other subtle lesson learned: apparently a jury can be over 90% "defectively designed" as well.

Makes you wonder if One World Tech's lawyer might have a good chance as the new corporate lawyers for McDonald's Inc.
Posted: 9:29 pm on May 5th

Bob_Buddha Bob_Buddha writes: Joe4Liberty paraphrases Ben Franklin, as I do now, in his statement that those who would trade liberty for security deserve neither and will lose both. As of this moment, there is no law being made here beyond legal precedent. Table saw manufacturers are not forced to implement this, but will likely do so to protect their own pocketbooks. I have not heard here of any regulatory agencies forcing employers to acquire SawStops, though I have heard of insurance companies giving discounts to shops who do have SawStops. You have to make a clear distinction between government regulation, civil judgments and the different types of market forces. I whole heartily object to the notion that anyone’s liberty is being infringed.
What I feel is wrong with the idea that there should be no law, nothing that forces anybody to do anything and let the ‘natural selection’ of the marketplace sort it out. That is an argument for a return to jungle law, and not a modern, technological society. If you want to go live in the 50’s go there without me. I have a 1980’s Craftsman table saw and I can’t sue if it decides to bite my fingers off, but a 2010 or 2011 tablesaw has no excuse now. So now let’s talk about the real winner in this lawsuit, Mr. Gass.
Deeply ingrained in the American psyche is the idea that if you invent something, patent it, and seek to make it part of everyday life, you deserve to make some money off of it. Mr. Gass had an invention, patented it, and sought a means to get it produced. After failing to get a manufacturer to adopt it, he started his own company to produce a great product that employed the technology. Lets hope Mr. Gass is wise and licenses this technology freely.
This is a good invention and despite its high tech claims is really very simple, a big chunk of aluminum is thrown into the blade a split second after it detects a change in capacitance of a spinning saw blade and arbor. I frankly don’t believe it could be prohibitively expensive since this capacitance change is the same thing that operates a touch-lamp, a device from the 70’s. Heck my Playstation 3’s power and eject buttons operate on the same principle. The SawStop is very solidly built and can simply be reset by the installation of a new blade and cartridge. I could see a saw that would have the same safety, but would destroy itself if triggered, would be quite cheap to produce.
I suggest you go rent ‘Flash of Genius’, about Bob Kearns the guy who invented the circuit for the intermittent wiper. He showed them the device, they copied it, and blew him off since their bean counters, lawyers, and greedy dishonest executives figured that even though he had a patent, he’d never be able to enforce it. He was a fool since he tried to manufacture the device himself, and not simply ask for a royalty since day one. Hopefully somebody from SawStop is reading this flame, and they make the right moves to make this technology as ubiquitous as the intermittent wiper.

Posted: 9:17 pm on May 5th

RobPorcaro RobPorcaro writes: The Saw Stop brake system, I believe, is an excellent safety device on a machine that is excellent even apart from that.

However, I do not think that government should require that all saws be equipped with such a device. Each consumer can choose to buy and use what he wishes, fully aware of the potential dangers.

It is not analagous to car air bags or gun locks because a table saw user may injure only himself and only by his own actions. Furthermore, there IS a reasonable expectation of fully safe use of the machine IF proper precautions are taken. Also, all safety devices did not come about due to lawsuits or government decree.

The government cannot and should not protect us from all dangers, particularly those that we might impose upon ourselves. Should we ban routers because the safer alternative of a hand molding plane exists? Should we ban ice cream (one might chronically overeat it and get heart disease) since the safer alternative of non-fat yogurt exists?

The injured man, with the assistance and support of his employer, had every opportunity to perform his job safely, and yet engaged in grossly reckless procedure. They, or at least the worker, are responsible for the injury.

To me, this lawsuit, as it has been thus far described, largely comes down to issues of personal freedom and the attendant responsibility, versus blaming the deep pockets for profit by predatory lawyers. Aren't those marble floors in court houses kind of slippery and isn't there a safer alternative?


Posted: 9:02 pm on May 5th

AndrewK AndrewK writes: Hey, Liberty, if your founding fathers did not want tort liability, they could have outlawed it in the Constitution. Tort liability is part of the "common law", the law we inherited from England (unless you live in Louisiana, which is Civil law, from the French). Most of the guys working on the Constitution were lawyers. If they believed in Liberty the way that you describe it, they could have declared that recovery for the torts of others was prohibited. They didn't. Moreover, they included the Commerce Clause, to allow government to regulate commerce.

When I drive, I follow the rules of the road. I pay attention, obey the traffic laws, and keep my vehicle in good repair. I am entitled to expect that everyone else on the road will do the same. It is our tacit agreement with each other - that we will each act reasonably so as not to harm each other.

Are you suggesting, Liberty, that if you act unreasonably, by failing to exercise reasonable caution and care, you are NOT responsible for your actions? Or are you suggesting that if your unreasonable behavior injures me, I am not entitled to recover from you for your negligence because I accepted the possibility of your negligence by entering this world, or by leaving my home, or by driving on the road?

I'm all for people, and companies, being responsible for their own actions. I'm not for people being responsible for the negligence of others. If you sell a dangerous product on the market, knowing that the people who use your product will be exposed to danger, and there is a reasonable and cost effective means of drastically reducing the danger created by use of your product, then your decision not to include that safety feature had better be reasonable too.
Posted: 8:25 pm on May 5th

AndrewK AndrewK writes: You can't, cannot, are not allowed, are not permitted, may not, and otherwise are unable to sue your employer for a workplace injury. Doesn't anyone find it interesting that the jury didn't apportion ANY of the fault to the employer. NONE. Not a single percentage. 35% to the worker, 0% to the employer. Juror idiocy? No. 80 year old legal precedent? Yup.
Posted: 8:13 pm on May 5th

joe4liberty joe4liberty writes: To those of you such as AndrewK, Bob Budda, Bradleym et al - it's really simple Liberty or not... there is no middle ground. Either you own your own life or you do not. Either you make your own choices or you do not. The world is not a safe place, and no inventions are going to change that. Every day we make choices. Every day we risk death (look out your car window at the telephone pole speeding past you on your drive home to prove that). While it's true that we have not had "Liberty" in the true sense of the word in this country for a VERY long time, the goal should ALWAYS be - LIBERTY. Sawstop saws exist. For those who want them, simply buy one (and Papawhisky, now they are not expensive, if you think so, simply make your own - there is no patent infringement if you only make it for your own use). For those who do not want one - say to save money, liberty dictates that they be free to make that choice.
But my dear people liberty and responsibility are two sides of the same coin. You cannot have the freedom to choose a lesser expensive table saw, yet surrender the responsibility for the extra level of safety and attention that you mist bring to the operation of cutting wood. This holds true with EVERYTHING (yes seatbelts, airbags, ets - seatbelt laws are WRONG - liberty dictates that you decide if you will wear one or not - responsibility dictates that you live (or perhaps die) with that decision).
The trouble with this case is that it attempts to separate the two inseparable elements Liberty/responsibility - and THAT gentlemen is why this country is such a mess. And THAT is why I vote Libertarian!
For those of you who would give essential liberty for the illusion of safety - there are hundreds of other countries to which you could move, why stay here and undermine our founding documents?

Posted: 8:05 pm on May 5th

Judge999 Judge999 writes: I lost a finger joint less than a month ago after over 50 years of using a table saw without incident and being credentialed to teach industrial arts in three states. My SawStop Professional is being delivered next week.

Fortunately, I had just finished the rip and powered down the saw when the off-cut started to fall, consequently this accident only cost me one joint and three mangled fingers. Do I blame Delta for the accident--of course not. We must take personal responsibility for our stupidity and/or inattention.

However, the preventative technology exists and has not been implemented by other manufacturers because they are manufacturing to a price point. However, I do believe such technology will eventually be forced upon the other manufacturers by either the courts or legislation.

However, my suggestion for the immediate future is to implement the technology (either license from SawStop or their own invention) as soon as possible; obtain federal law which essentially holds the manufacturer harmless from anyone purchasing or using a model without this safety feature; and, for the interim, make available each model both with and without the technology, for cost containment. The market will then make the decision.

Obviously, this gentleman should have sued his employer for lack of training but his attorney was astute enough to go for the "deep pocket."

Our culture is changing. Consequently "our nanny who art in Washington" is going to intercede into our lives more and more. For whatever it may be worth, my orthopedic surgeon, who is not familiar with this litigation, also believes such a safety requirement will be imposed by government sooner rather than later.




Posted: 7:36 pm on May 5th

kaai2392 kaai2392 writes: Two weeks ago I caught my left hand on my dado blade and seriously injured 3 fingers. I just had surgery last Monday to harvest and replace a tendon in my ring finger. Without going into details I will say that I feel at fault. I will not be going after anyone in a lawsuit, nor do I feel I was uninformed as to the risks of using a table saw. I will say that I am not an idiot who should not have been using the equipment. I'm a hobbiest woodworker and I had an accident. For some reason, I feel like these accidents are more common than we all think. I also do not wish to imply that the operator in this suit was or was not at fault. My point is only this. I wish I could purchase a saw with the technology to sense flesh, but it is out of my price range. If anything comes from this story, I hope that major manufacurers start using this technology. I hope it becomes standard so the industry will start competing to develop the technology and at the same time make it cheaper so it becomes affordable for everyone. Bottom line is I just wouldnt want this to happen to others if it can be avoided. We just had a baby (5 weeks old). A million dollars is very tempting, but when he cries at night, I wish I could pick him up and sooth him. Money just dosent fix things like that, but technology might.

p.s. This took me 45 minutes to type, all 1 handed.

Justin
Posted: 7:10 pm on May 5th

AndrewK AndrewK writes: Well, Will, did not the splitter and guard increase the number of parts, the manufacturing cost, and the complexity of the machine? Why not strip the saw of those safety features as well? Ford introduced seat belts in 1956. If Chevy and Pontiac didn't have them, then Ford was foolish to increase the cost of, and complicating the design of, their cars. And yet Ford seems to be the only American manufacturer with its head above water right now.

Here's the real question: Is flesh sensing technology reasonably necessary? If a person acts reasonably (exercises reasonable care and caution in the operation of the machine), does there remain in existence a significant danger of harm? If so, how severe is the harm?

I don't know what specific evidence was presented at the Osario trial, and neither does anyone else posting here, unless they read the reporter's transcript, attended the trial, or sat on the jury. I take issue with calling jurors crazy or stupid for considering evidence that you and I have never seen. It may be that the jurors were wrong, or misguided, or misled. But I haven't seen the evidence.

All that I know personally is that table saws are dangerous, even when you use a fence, guard, splitter, push stick, and feather board. There is an inherent, reflexive instinct to reach for wood caught in the blade. You might say that if all woodworkers were truly cautious and safe, a blade guard would be unnecessary, because no reasonable person would ever put his hand near a moving blade.

Flesh sensing technology is ONE means of drastically reducing the danger of a table saw. Apparently even Ryobi (at least their expert) agreed that IF the Ryobi table saw had been equipped with flesh sensing technology, the damage to this man's hand would have been a 1/8" deep cut, rather than amputation of one finger and severe laceration to three more.

Let me ask you this: drivers of cars collide with fixed objects. It happens, even when drivers exercise reasonable care. Sun glare can blind a driver. Black ice can be invisible and make brakes useless. Heavy rain can make visibility extremely poor. So even though most collisions may be caused by unreasonable driver conduct, some will be caused by unavoidable conditions.

Manufacturers of cars know this. They also know that a person wearing a three point restraint will fare much, much better than a person without such a device. If the automobile manufacturer elects not to equip its cars with a three point restraint system, do we only compensate those drivers who are injured due to no fault of their own? Or, do we acknowledge that collisions are a part of driving, and that collisions commonly cause injuries, and that three point restrain systems reduce most injuries to minor damage, rather than severe injuries and death, and therefor the manufacturer must sell his product with a three point restrain system? Or do you advocate the liability free sale of cars without seatbelts?
Posted: 6:59 pm on May 5th

Will_Matney Will_Matney writes: To answer AndrewK,

They're several reasons for One World to have not used Gass' technology:

First, Ryobi has to look at its competition, and what they sell their saws for, and what safety features they provide. In other words, they have to be competitive to stay in business.

Second, they have to presume that the purchaser has a modicum of sense about them in order to use it. That's where product liability reform comes in.

Third, the use of Gass' patent could cause Ryobi - One World to have to re-tool the entire manufacturing line, even having to build a new plant just to produce it. We're speaking millions of dollars here.

Forth, a new design to incorporate the technology could have made the saw larger, heavier, and less portable to the point that nobody would consider buying it when better, simpler, and cheaper alternatives are available.

If One World used this technology, and it costs them millions to provide it, (and to get that payed back, it would take years), plus raising the cost of the saw well above other brands, they would have to have customers willing to pay for it, and I am not one of them. My guess is, that I speak for the majority.

Also, anyone involved with engineering knows that anything that is made more complicated than need be, with more moving parts, will fail quicker than something more simple. It's Murphy's law if you will. I would rather have a simpler saw, that lasts longer, and be safe using it. If I didn't know how to use it, I would have better sense than to buy it, or try to operate it.

Ryobi - One World, and their competitors, have cut the manufacturing costs low so they can sell these saws for what they are meant to be, a small, light, portable contractors saw, with the same safety features that everyone else uses. One World, and it's competition, knows that the majority of users can not afford, nor will they pay for, what the technology would cost.

Also, in the very instruction manual that comes with the saw, the manufacturers warns the user about running the saw with any of the safety features defeated or removed. To me, this should hold them not liable for any injuries. The only way that they should be held accountable, is for the saw to be defective: (Something breaking, or malfunctioning), to make them liable for any injuries. The saw in question was not defective, and the user caused the problem by removing all the safety features. This also places the mans employer at fault for allowing it to happen, not Ryobi - One World.

I smashed my finger exceedingly well about two weeks ago, with a hammer, and I'm pretty sure it has nerve damage, as the filling has yet to return fully. Do you think I should sue the hammer manufacturer over it?
Posted: 6:41 pm on May 5th

thegrinch thegrinch writes: When I first saw the SawStop I thought "Great idea". I still do. I just temper the thought with the fact that I would pay for the device, and if I hit it, a new blade and cartridge. Then I thought, "Hmmm, if I just use one of these scrap pieces that I tell myself to throw away all the time, I can't possibly touch the blade with my flesh" Call me cheap. I will use the scrap. Call me stupid, if I skip the scrap and cut off a finger, I won't sue someone for my own irresponsibility.

Never gonna get rich this way :(
Posted: 6:29 pm on May 5th

AndrewK AndrewK writes: BillVan,

My willingness to take your case depends upon a variety of things: the incidence of injury caused by the absence of the technology (how often does one driver rear end another because the cruise control feature fails to automatically reduce speed when approaching another vehicle); how severe the injuries are when such failure occurs; the availability of technology to prevent the incident from occurring; the cost of the technology that prevents the incident from occurring.

You've got at least two things going for you - injuries are severe, technology is available. I don't know about the cost of the technology - my cars don't have that option.

I think that the fourth issue, however, weighs heavily against you. In 17 years I've never handled a case involving a rear end accident caused by cruise control. Does it happen? I'm sure. So apparently do third degree burns caused by flaming rodents ejected from the backsides of certain individuals (check YouTube if you don't know what I mean).

Injuries caused by table saws? A little more common. The first woodworking class I took at community college included a student getting his PhD in English at Berkeley. He liked woodworking so much he suspended his studies and went to work at a cabinet shop. Shortly thereafter he cut his thumb in half (the long way). Doesn't everyone know someone who has been injured on a table saw? My own father broke his thumb from kickback on a table saw when he was making my crib.

So, Bill, I'm not taking your case. But if accidents caused by errant cruise control become more common, and the technology isn't incorporated, and you suffer a severe injury, you can call me.
Posted: 6:12 pm on May 5th

AndrewK AndrewK writes: So, Will, let me get this straight: you, a mechanical engineer, have devised several less complicated, less expensive ways to stop the blade - methods that Ryobi could have hired you to install. It would have cost Ryobi "millions" to retool their equipment to incorporate this design. Ryobi's own expert says that the SawStop design would have prevented any serious injury. And the solution is . . . . not for Ryobi to spend the millions to protect all saw users, not for Ryobi to spend the millions defending this ONE lawsuit and paying the judgment, but for consumers to write to Congress and say "Let Ryobi keep their millions - change the law of our land and make them immune from judgment, so that only government regulators can make them change their safety designs, not the people of this country."

When your dream comes true, Will, we'll all have cheap tools and no one to blame but ourselves when we're injured due to lack of guards and safeties. Let the market take care of it. If the benefit of a guard, or splitter, or flesh sensing technology were valued, everyone would only buy saws that have them, and those manufacturers or models that didn't would go out of production. No employer will ever choose the cheaper, less safe model when they could pocket that extra dough as profit, even if there's tort reform that keeps the employer from being sued for providing less safe equipment. What a wonderful world it'll be . . .


Posted: 5:59 pm on May 5th

BillVan BillVan writes: To the Lawyers;
I have a 2007 Toyota that has laser assisted cruise control to prevent me from creeping up on another vehicle on the highway and thus prevent a rear end collision. I also own a 2010 Ford Edge that has cruise control but not the laser assist. So, lawyers, If I cause a rear end collision with my Ford and suffer injuries at my own hand can I sue Ford for not having the laser technology and win? After all, it has been available for at least three years. Will you guys be my lawyer?
I doubt any lawyer would take the case and I doubt that I would win. Will someone please feel sorry for me?
Bill V

Posted: 5:58 pm on May 5th

tpobrien tpobrien writes: My suspicion is that the manufacturers played the odds that only one of them would be sued, and it would be somebody else. Do some math here: Divide the judgement amount ($1.5 million) by the number of table saw manufacturers (maybe a hundred), and you get a number like $150,000. Divide that by the average number of saws each manufacturer has in the field (I can't even guess that one), and you get maybe $150. How does that stack up against the cost of the SawStop license for one saw?
I'm not a professional risk-assessor, but I think that's how it would play out. I am, however, a professional engineer, and my guess is that the SawStop technology would very quickly become cheaper as it is installed on tens of thousands of table saws. In the meantime, some new products like the Festool track saw and others are in serious competition for the tool budget, because they are (imho) inherently safer than either table saw or portable circular saw, for jobsite tasks.
Posted: 5:54 pm on May 5th

Will_Matney Will_Matney writes: This very judgment should finally bring about product liability reform, and changes in the law. It was a ridiculous law suit, and a ridiculous award. The one who made out was the attorney who sued Ryobi; after all, he received a percentage of the award; most likely, 40%. These attorneys, I often refer to as ambulance chasers.

I own and use a Ryobi saw, and I have never had one problem with it. However, I have never removed the rip fence, and the blade guard-splitter assembly. It is there for a purpose.

Now, about SawStop. Did you ever wonder how much Gass asked One World for, in cash, to use his new patent protected invention? You see, not only would they be a huge price involved, but he would get royalties off every saw made. Also, One World would have had to re-tool their manufacturing lines to use the technology. This could have cost somewhere in the several millions of dollars.

I have also studied how the SawStop system works, and it could do with some major improvements, as I have worked in the mechanical engineering field for a good while. The system senses flesh contact electronically, and throws the blade down into a metal stop. It would have been better to use a brake motor that would simply stop the motor on a dime. Also, there is probably a dozen other ways to do the same thing, simply stop, or guard the blade. The problem is, it will increase the cost of the saw, and if Gass' patent is used, it will cost way more than that.

In all, what is needed, is reform to the product liability laws that are now on the books, and we should all write our local representatives and congressmen to demand that this action be taken.
Posted: 5:45 pm on May 5th

Bob_Buddha Bob_Buddha writes: Again, how does this case affect you, the tablesaw consumer. Are those that are upset, truly sorry for poor Ryobi, or poor you that will have to pay $200 more for your next saw, or at that bastard who will live on 8-fingered easy street for the next few years?

$1.5 million to a large manufacturer or its insurance company is not going to be a big dent. Also consider that this person probably didn't have any health insurance and has probably lost his ability to work in his chosen profession. And you can also assume he’ll be in court for a while more with appeals before he ever sees a dime. This will be full employment for lawyers for a while.

Like AndrewK stated, and I tried to point out, you will start seeing these features in high-end saws, then mid-range, and then all saws. Lawsuits like this one are why you have 3 point seat belts and airbags in your car, and yes you did pay extra for them when you bought your car. You can complain about it right up to the point you get into a car accident that would have otherwise introduced your face to the windshield.

This can go two ways, either you’ll have to start signing a waiver when you buy a cheapo tablesaw or smile when you take a safety-improved product home that may have cost a little extra.

Posted: 5:42 pm on May 5th

AndrewK AndrewK writes: Sorry fellas but you are making my point.

One, PM says that "lawyers take advantage of these situations for profit." Are you a socialist? Communist? Its okay if you are, but Ryobi apparently believes in the capitalist system. As far as I know, they sell tools for a profit, not for the good of the people.

Two, you have a SawStop, so you obviously recognize that even when you use proper technique, take the proper safety measures, and use reasonable care, you can still suffer a very severe injury with a table saw. So you, an eminently reasonable man, got a SawStop. You didn't like paying the extra dough, but you are more fond of your fingers and hands than the extra dough. The extra dough won't mean much if you lose a hand.

So, we tacitly agree that even when due diligence and care are exercised using a table saw, severe injury can happen. You can't eliminate danger in a machine that spins a 60 tooth blade 3500 times per minute. But you can minimize it, and you have, by using a SawStop.

Now, lets assume that you suffer one of those unfortunate incidents where your hand goes into the blade, despite the fact that you were using proper technique, the OEM guard, a splitter, and a push stick and featherboard. You lose your hand. Your income is now non-existent, and your medical expenses are astronomical. You also aren't feeling particularly well.

You want a lawyer to represent you in a case that you feel was 0% your fault, and 100% the manufacturer's fault for not using the flesh sensing technology, or, at the least, 50/50. So you come to me, an opportunist lawyer, and you want me to take your case.

Well, One World Technologies is going to use the profits from their sales to hire the best attorneys around to defend your claim. They will charge $450/hour for the partner, $250/hr for the junior associate, and $125/hour for the paralegal. And you want to hire me to prosecute your claim for ? The good of the people? My kids don't eat the good of the people, it doesn't pay for their clothes, their daycare, my mortgage, or the expenses to run my practice.

I'm a journeyman lawyer - 17 years experience, published opinions, $1M judgment, $1M settlement, I'm worth $350 an hour in this economy. Its going to take me hundreds of hours to prepare and try your case. I am going to have to hire experts, and take depositions, and hire investigators, all of which costs money (because they don't accept good of the people as payment either).

So, if you are serious about recovering for your severe injury, I'm going to need about $150,000 out of pocket from you, maybe more. If not, I can't take your legitimate case! You wanted to cut wood. You knew that the saw was dangerous. Accept responsibility for your decision, your disability, your inability to provide for yourself and your family, and move along.

As a separate note, an employee CANNOT sue his employer for an injury caused by the employer's negligence, even gross negligence. Workers' Compensation benefits are the "exclusive remedy" for recovery by an employee against and employer. There are some states that have additional remedies when the employer commits a "serious and willful violation of the law", such as the violation of an OSHA regulation (like removing the guard from a saw). But even that additional remedy does not provide for the employee like tort damages.

Here in California, a worker who loses his dominant hand will receive the medical care that he needs for the rest of his life He will be considered to have suffered approximately 54% whole person impairment (adjusted for his age and occupation). That 54% impairment entitles him, today, to weekly payments of $230 per week until he has been paid the total of $69,747.50. The employer probably gets a hefty fine from OSHA, but that money goes to the State, not to the injured worker.
Posted: 5:34 pm on May 5th

lmothers lmothers writes: The long arguments on both sides miss the point that Legality is not necessarily justice. There are many instances in our legal system where if the legalities are not scrupulously observed, a criminal who was convicted is let off scott free on a technicality. The fault here is with the law as it has evolved. It needs to be changed so justice and the law are more closely aligned.
Posted: 5:32 pm on May 5th

borelli borelli writes: At what point does our society take responsiblity for our own actions. The jury found the plantiff only 35% responsible for his own actions, what! The other 65% was the
devil? This a sad state of affairs that we have come to.
Posted: 5:00 pm on May 5th

pjmelanson pjmelanson writes: Please give me a break Andrew. The whole problem with most litigations is people not taking responsibility for thier own actions. Everyone knows a table saw is dangerous!!!!!, this guy was using it like an idiot without the safety devices on it especially the fence, the word common sense comes to mind. If anyone should be to blame it is the company he worked for, they should of given him better instructions and made sure he knew how to use it properly. I grew up in Mass and have a SawStop. Common sense and responsibility for your own actions are the major flaw with this guy and sorry but he was much more than 35% responsible more like 95%. Lawyers take advantage of these situation for profit not the good of the people in a lot of circimstances, NOT all lawyers I admit there are good ones out there as well. So if I get in my Dodge truck after drinking and plow into a tree and severly injure myself or kill someone else. Is it the fault of the Dodge truck (it has inherent dangers) ??????? There is technology to prevent a car from starting if you have been drinking. No!!! Dodge is not responsible, i would be the stupid idiot responsible for what ever happened. How is this accident with the table saw any different????? I'm sorry this lawsuit verdict is rediculous, there is no way to justify it. Sorry about the spelling everyone, i am on laptop and in a hurry to go back and make changes.

PM
Posted: 4:56 pm on May 5th

Jwoodshop Jwoodshop writes: I taught HS woodshop for 25+ yrs. Students had to take a written & performance test on the TS B4 being allowed to use it. Beginners always had to ask permission B4 using it (I stood next to them while they used it) until they & I had the confidence in their ability. I know time is money and most contractors would not spend the time like I did with everyone using company power tools. But think about it, it could have prevented this issue and would have saved $$$$. I blame the employer 80% fault, employee 20% fault and Ryobi 0% fault.
But, like someone wrote earlier, it's like seatbelts, TS companies will be forced to use this safety feature. The consumer will be paying more for a TS but if its safer why not.
I don't agree with how Gass is going about doing this but hey what U expect, he's a lawyer by trade.
As I get on in age, I myself is contemplating selling my 2 Ryobi TS & Delta TS to buy a sawstop TS.
Posted: 4:33 pm on May 5th

PapaWhiskey PapaWhiskey writes: Excellent perspective AndrewK. You are much more kind than I would have been toward the people (now I'm being nice) who have posted in this forum who think they know better.

I support the jury's findings, and am frustrated that every SawStop model is prohibitively expensive. If One World Technologies and other manufacturers that Gass presented his technology to had licensed his technology, greater availability would bring the cost of the technology down to an affordable level for most woodworkers.

Incidentally, when I was a 16 years old I used a table saw for the first time. I was unsupervised and I managed to cut the tip of my finger. It wasn't a serious injury and did not require stitches, but it produced a lot of blood, and could have been much worse. It's these type of situations that are worthy of this technology. Every woodworker has dangerous tools in his or her shop, and therefore has created a situation that is dangerous for vulnerable people in his or her circle of influence.

If the technology exists to improve safety, and is reasonable in cost to implement in any of the tools we use, it should be implemented in lieu of greater profits, which really is the bottom line for any manufacturer.

Instead of whinning about greedy lawyers, I hope the award in this case motivates manufacturers to engineer better safety measures such as this technology, or something similar, into their tools.
Posted: 4:29 pm on May 5th

jvoracle jvoracle writes: I think all hammers should have a shield. If you strike a metal chisel with a metal hammer it is possible for a small piece of metal to go flying. The results can be a minor cut or loss of an eye.

All tools should be used with common sense. If you mistreat the tool it might bite back - just like a junkyard dog.

The point is that all tools can be dangerous if used improperly. Nothing will ever get build if we want 100% safety. If you want a Saw Stop - buy one. If on a budget just buy hand tools. Oh, I have had many minor injuries hitting my thumb with a hammer. Had one major injury with a chisel - I was not using best practices. 100% safety would have been to never picked up the chisel.
Posted: 4:22 pm on May 5th

UncleBen UncleBen writes: Not surprised! Just as many of us already suspected (if not assumed), the user was in fact not using ANY (not even one) of the saw's existing features, which the manufacturer clearly specifies for safe use.

What is also clear is that his "instructor" did not provide adequate instruction for safe use. Why is that person not responsible for this accident?

The saw did just what it was designed to do, and there is no flaw evident of the saw itself. The user knew before he even turned on the saw that it did not have magic "flesh-sensing" technology, and knew that it would not stop moving if he flesh touched the blade, yet he chose to use it anyway. How can you expect a saw to perform a function that you know it never had, and that you did NOT even pay for?

This was USER ERROR, 100% (not 35%). Our court system has failed us all again.
Posted: 4:19 pm on May 5th

AndrewK AndrewK writes: I'm a wordworking hobbyist. I'm also a personal injury lawyer. This comment is NOT legal advice on any particular issue or set of facts, including the ones in this case. I appreciate the comments posted on this board. Unfortunately, many of them come from people who are as ill informed about the legal system and they claim that the judge and jurors were about woodworking.

One poster suggests that the plaintiff's attorney could exclude all people who have a knowledge of woodworking or table saws. In my state of California, I have 6 peremptory challenges. That means that I can exclude a maximum of 6 jurors for any reason (other than gender, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or any other protected class). A knowledge of woodworking wouldn't be my main concern. A love of the insurance industry, or a hatred for plaintiffs and their counsel, of which there are MANY (as demonstrated by the comments posted here). A judge would NOT exclude a juror (for cause) simply because the juror had some woodworking experience or knowledge.

Also, there are two issues here. One is the right to engage in a dangerous activity. The second is the obligation of a manufacturer putting an item, for profit, on the market with safety features that are reasonably available. You can debate whether the feature is available (given the patent issues). You can debate the effectiveness of the safety feature. But you cannot debate that the safety feature exists, reduces risk of serious injury, and was not included in this saw.

Driving a car is dangerous. Seat belts, at one time, were an option. Then consumers, through lawyers, began suing auto manufacturers for failing to install seat belts. Then lap belts were used in the rear, but lawyers showed that they actually increased injuries. Then 3 point belts were required. A driver could choose not to wear the seatbelt (until recently), but the manufacturer cannot choose not to install the feature.

Same goes for ABS - available since 1958, mandatory on commercial heavy trucks since 1995. Air Bags are moving in the same direction. First a luxury option, then widely available, and then mandatory. Does that mean that you can't buy and drive a car made without ABS or airbags? No. But it may mean that it is unreasonable for the manufacturer, given the state of knowledge and technology, to sell the item without those safety features.

Finally, it is plain folly to suggest, as some do, that people who mis-use equipment are "rewarded". There are two general defenses employed in this country - contributory negligence and comparative negligence. In five states and DC the law is "pure contributory negligence". That means that if you sue another for negligence, and you were 5% at fault for your own damages, you get NOTHING. The guy that was 95% at fault for your damages - he goes off Scott Free.

The remaining states, including mine, use Comparative Fault. That means that the judge/jury compares the fault of all parties whose conduct caused the damages. In 13 states, the courts use Pure Comparative Fault - each party whose negligence caused damage bears his precise representative percentage of responsibility.

In 33 states, the courts use a Modified Comparative Fault system. In 12 of those states, the plaintiff's cannot recover if his own fault is 50% or greater. In the other 23 states, the plaintiff cannot recover if his fault is 51% or greater.

In no state does a plaintiff recover for damages caused by his own negligence.

I always find it ironic that people complain about the results of the jury system. Having picked a few juries myself, I know that jury pools are generally comprised of people who drive (legally) and vote, since that is where the rolls are derived from. People who respond to a jury summons tend to be responsible (otherwise they would disregard the summons) and civic minded. Where I practice in California, the juries often include engineers and scientists - generally bright and educated people. These are the same jury panels relied upon to convict criminals. Yet when they come to the conclusion that a product is defective, or that a manufacturer should have done more to protect the consumer, the answer is that the jurors were morons and the lawyers were charlatans.

The Osorio case was litigated in Federal Court in Boston. The jury pool came from throughout Massachusetts - the same state that allegedly just rejected the Obama agenda and sent common sense maven Scott Brown to the Senate.

Here's a quote from the Boston Globe: "During Osorio’s trial, an expert witness for the defense acknowledged that if the saw had the flesh detection technology, it would have created a 1/8-inch deep cut on one finger, Osorio’s lawyers said. Instead, Osorio suffered near-amputation of one finger and severe lacerations on four other fingers." That's right - Ryobi's OWN EXPERT admitted that the flesh detection technology would have resulted in only an 1/8" cut on one finger.

So, for all of you amateur accident engineers who have posted their doubts here - don't you think that the defense expert, who was likely paid thousands, if not tens of thousands, to test the saw and the technology and the likely damage is in a better seat than you to state what the SawStop technology would and wouldn't do? Or, in addition to being avid woodworkers and legal scholars, are you also mechanical engineers?

Please excuse my frustration. People don't joke about carpenters (except maybe the plumbers and the electricians, but the feeling is mutual), or about cabinetmakers or furniture builders, but there's a never-ending supply of jokes and insults about lawyers. Some are for good reason, but most are as misguided as the comments posted on this good board.
Posted: 3:33 pm on May 5th

Bored_Cutter Bored_Cutter writes: There were no real winners here; unless of course you consider counsel for BOTH sides. You see, regardless of the case's verdict, THEY were the only ones who were assured of payment. Osorio almost lost his fingers (he had already lost any sense of good judgement long before), One World Technologies lost $$$ etc.

The only fault here lies in Mr. Osorio's foolish decision NOT to also have been drinking fast-food-chain coffee while making his dangerous (and warned-against) cuts without benefit of fence, or saw blade guard(s).

Think of the money he could have made THEN! Hot beverage, one handed cuts, no fence, no blade guards....

Reasoned as only a lawyer would, Scooteruk!
BRAVO!
Coffee?

Posted: 3:08 pm on May 5th

Glenn Bradley Glenn Bradley writes: The fact that this even got to court is disturbing. The fact that a jury would make an award to the plaintiff is disturbing. I guess if I take the brakes off of my car and I hit something, the car maker owes me a couple of million dollars. Its OK, they can just take it out of their emloyee retirement program.

Don't get me wrong; the guy should get his medical taken care of just like anyone with an on the job injury. However, no matter how much he is awarded, you can't buy good sense. If this award is the start of a pattern, then the problem will become self curing; we won't be able to afford the tools to be foolish with in the first place.
Posted: 3:04 pm on May 5th

scooteruk scooteruk writes: For those of you with any interest in the facts of the case (I'm hoping there are some on this db) the case was filed in United States District Court-District of Massachusetts and has the case #:Case 1:06-cv-10725-NMG Document 150 Filed 04/05/10. (N. Gorton, Judge)
It is under appeal. Most recent documents are defendants memorandum in support of a New Trial and Judgment as a Matter of Law (Renewed). With the above information you should be able to access the docket and filings as they are made available. I could not find transcripts yet reported so those that imply that they have read them, please let me know where you found them.
If you read the memorandum above you will be reading Ryobi's arguments as to why the verdict should be overturned. I did not find Plaintiff's response (maybe still out...don't know).
It is an interesting read in that it lays out the legal framework of products liability law as it applies to this case. As you read it, you can get a good idea of how our legal system handles many of the arguments you have posed (e. g. "How can a manufacturer be required to employ a new technology, What are the standards for 'alternative' devices, etc.)
Despite the verbiage that shoots across these boards willy-nilly, there is rhyme and reason behind what happened legally. Ryobi had counsel. I would be very surprised if Ryobi did not have an opportunity to resolve this matter prior to trial. If they did and decided against it, then they made a business decision not to...letting the jury make the decision. Ryobi now must rely on the judicial system to support it's appeal. When all is said and done, all parties will have had their day in court. The loser will complain, the winner will rejoice.
Posted: 2:45 pm on May 5th

Hockeyguy Hockeyguy writes: Seems to me that if you have to force a piece of wood to rip it and it chatters and vibrates, your blade is dull.The responsibility is on the flooring company for not replacing the blade or training the operator of the dangers of a dull blade. The inexpensive hobbyist table saw did exactly what it was made for, cut wood. Unfortunately, inexperience caused the injury
Posted: 2:42 pm on May 5th

Myview Myview writes: His boss did showed him how to use the tool and cautioned him about the dangers. Yet this guy removed the safety guard, cut himself and the jury still rewarded him with 1.5 million? This only happened in America! I am sure Ryobi has product liability insurance, the insurance company is the one to pay the bills. Guess what? Our insurance premium will increase and it is going to pass on to consumers like you and me. Now you know why we American business can not compete in the world? Something is very wrong with our system!

Posted: 2:42 pm on May 5th

Bradleyman Bradleyman writes: STOP this MADNESS... Bob Budda got it right you people... sure the risk increased when the poor fool removed or worked without the splitter and blade guard... so how many of us commenting on this have been similar "fools" at one time or the other... not to mention the years of experience most of us have and still work in this risky way for convenience or just laziness. THE POINT IS the 'company' DID NOT utilize the technology when it was offered to them, not for our saftey, but for the bottom line. BAD...BAD Big Business !! Their "SINS" have found them out.
Amen !
Posted: 2:16 pm on May 5th

mgmeyer mgmeyer writes: What I want to know is, say Ryobi had indeed licensed the sawstop tech back in 2000, and implemented it on their more expensive models, or as an option to be paid for. That contractor would still have bought the cheapest thing he could find, the accident would still have happened -- would Ryobi still be liable? I suppose so; after all, if the contractor had ONLY laid out $2500 more, he could have had a SawStop contractor saw for his employees. Oh wait, back in 2005 SawStop didn't have the contractor version. Okay, for ONLY $3500 more he could have had.....

Well anyway, I agree with most of the comments here, and I can hardly believe that the guy was shameless enough to bring the suit in the first place. I'd be too dang embarrassed at my own stupidity.

One thing I found, in digging around for details on this case, is this, which may explain how Ryobi looked bad enough in court to lose (still doesn't excuse the idiotic verdict, though) :

Apparently back in 2000 when Gass was hawking his technology to manufacturers, Ryobi went so far as to actually sign a license agreement. According to what I read, a typo was found in the agreement and Gass sent it back for a new signature. At this point Ryobi stalled for up to 2 years before Gass gave up. In court, the plaintiff's lawyer was able to get various Ryobi representatives to "point fingers" at each other over the failure to pursue the license agreement.

The ironic thing is, they might have come out smelling cleaner if they had rejected the blade-brake - for all the aforementioned valid business reasons - all along.


Posted: 2:16 pm on May 5th

dvanharn dvanharn writes: Sawstop thoughts:
1. They are very solid, well-made saws – fit and finish are top-notch. I have used an “Industrial” 3Hhp version (the big one) in the classroom at the local Woodcraft store.
2. The brake mechanism is amazing. I had an opportunity to set off the safety brake with a hot dog during a SawStop demo. I “whapped” the hot dog into the running blade instead sliding it gently into the sawblade on a board like everyone else. The result was a cut about ¼” long, about 1/16” deep, and with a 1/8” wide in the hot dog. Had it been my finger, it probably would have bled a lot, and then healed nicely after being cleaned with antiseptic and having a bandage applied. It would have been a minor injury with no need for sutures. A friend accidentally set off her Sawstop brake with a finger, and it left no visible scratch on her skin. School shops seem to buying these saws exclusively.
3. The extra beefiness and cost of building a saw with an articulated arbor to handle the massive forces caused by slamming down the blade and arbor in 5/1000 second seems to be much greater than Mr. Gass originally estimated. The contractor saw was finally released in 2008, 5 years after the initial announced release date in 2003: From Fine Homebuilding #157 (August, 2003):
“Gass estimates that the cost of retooling to accommodate his device could initially add as much as $150 to the retail price of a typical contractor's saw, but he predicts that large-scale production should be able to bring that costs below $100.”
“By the end of this year, SawStop expects to be producing a heavy-duty 10-in. contractor saw (base price: $699), and a stationary 10-in. cabinet saw (base price: $2,199), both of which feature the SawStop contact detection braking system. “
4. Mr. Gass seems to be determined to force the contractors of the world to buy his $1,600 contractors saw (which can be used as a “portable” worksite saw with available cart) instead of a $120 Ryobi from Home Depot. There are stories circulating that when Mr. Gass initially was rebuffed by the major table/cabinet saw manufacturers, he tried, as a lawyer, to promote laws to require his device. This really upset the manufacturers. He decided to design and manufacture his own saw, and indeed, did so. Now that he has his own saw line, and a monopoly on the safety brake system, he seems to be positioning himself to attempt to FORCE the rest of the industry to bow to him and license his technology.
5. The logic of the Osorio vs. Ryobi case means that SawStop can be sued for millions if some disables or removes the safety device on a SawStop saw and injures themself. Any volunteers for a sure get-rich quick scheme?

Posted: 2:11 pm on May 5th

Justin57 Justin57 writes: The reason this "award" is just plain WRONG is because:

-The business owner made the decision to purchase THAT saw.
-The business owner/supervisor FAILED to install/keep the safety equipment on the saw (If the blade guard had been in use his hand would have struck the guard, not the blade).
-The Plaintiff FAILED to use common sense (yes, COMMON SENSE), around a fast spinning SHARP object that was doing exactly what it was designed/marketed and sold to do....CUT!
-Rather than sue his employer for NOT providing safe equipment and PROPER TRAINING, his lawyer (and keep in mind that lawyers hire people to search through public records and FIND people that get hurt), goes after what he considers the DeepPocket.
So it boils down to not JUSTICE, but "how can I get rich?
Posted: 2:04 pm on May 5th

cinhus2002 cinhus2002 writes: Guns don't kill people... people kill people! Pencils don't make mistakes... people make mistakes!!! The safty features were removed from this saw, from what I read. The fault should have went back to his boss for making him use a saw that did not have safty equipment installed on it! It came with it! He also should have refused to use it without the guard in place... but if he didn't know anything about saws to begin with... he wouldn't know about them... which falls back to the boss! This is as bad as the woman who won the law suite against McDonalds for selling her hot coffee that she spilled on herself! Safety first in my shop! I only have 10 fingers and they don't grow back!
Posted: 2:00 pm on May 5th

patwreck patwreck writes: Already said what I have to say about the incident. I just hope the laws will permit the bosses to kick out any employee who makes the sawstop device engage. Because it cost money to replace the brake sensor and blade, and it's a proof that the employee isn't competent enough to work on a tablesaw. The employee would just have te be thankfull to the sawstop he still have fingers to take a hand saw wich might be less dangerous for him.
Posted: 1:54 pm on May 5th

Bob_Buddha Bob_Buddha writes: I agree with the verdict, though I agree the man was indeed an idiot. The reward is a punitive measure against the company, which means they will be required to put the devices in, just by the simple bean-counter mathematics. If he only got $250K or nothing, then Ryobi, and all other saw manufacturers would do nothing.
When a new technology comes along that can reduce risk and increase safety it should be adopted ASAP. Industry should have learned this with seatbelts and the Airbag after that. For years the automotive industry resisted shoulder restraint seatbelts. After that they fought against airbags sighting a bazillion reasons while everyone knew it was simply about cost. Nowadays they are putting about as many airbags in as they can fit. Why? Because now it’s a selling feature.
Yes, the guy was an idiot. Yes, the SawStop feature will increase the cost of a tablesaw. Ideally even if you have the feature, you will never see it work, just like an airbag. It doesn't make the saw work any less effectively so why argue against it? You will see the feature coming on tools other than the brand name SawStop and I think thats a good thing.
The reason why Ryobi and its parent lost is because they were offered the technology, refused, and then someone was injured. The particular unfortunate person and the events leading up to the injury are immaterial.
Posted: 1:53 pm on May 5th

schooner1 schooner1 writes: Wow, the jury has now absolved this guy of 65% of his responsibility. What are these people thinking? Stupidity should not be rewarded!!!
Posted: 1:36 pm on May 5th

EdWeber EdWeber writes: I'm sure this has been addressed already, since I have not read all 110 posts.
I think unless the saw was defective or broken in some way, the operator is at fault. When I say fault I mean 100% fault. If you don't know how to use a tool, you shouldn't use it, period. Ripping a board freehand proves that this man did not know how to operate the tool properly.
SawStop is a good safety device, but thats all it is.
I have nothing against Sawstop, but if the main reason you bought the saw is because you think it is safer, you probably shouln't be using a tablesaw in the first place.
This ruling is very dangerous, and can, and probably have widespread implications.
Posted: 12:55 pm on May 5th

johnt70 johnt70 writes: I would like to see the president of saw stop rip a difficult board with his hand on top of the cut as it goes through the blade. If he doesn't injure his hand I will side with him. I don't think I would have to side with him....
Posted: 12:48 pm on May 5th

resyakk resyakk writes: I doubted that the saw stop would protect a fast moving hand so, at the next demo, I pushed the wiener as fast as I could into the blade; the wiener was barely nicked. I'm sure the wiener was going faster than any forseeable hand movement associated with sawing. I am going to email saw stop and ask if anyone has ever been seriously injured with a saw stop.
Posted: 12:44 pm on May 5th

teryg teryg writes: Vern P. Thanks.
Sound design processes utilize self-test / fail-safe modes like that to assure the system is truly "rip-ready"!

However, a simple disabling feature (cut-off switch) for wet wood invites abuse, as well as a whole new generation of litigious insanity!

Same players; same game; same referees; same rules; different opportunities!
Posted: 12:38 pm on May 5th

teryg teryg writes: Vern P. Thanks.
Sound design processes utilize self-test / fail-safe modes like that to assure the system is truly "rip-ready"!

However, a simple disabling feature (cut-off switch) for wet wood invites abuse, as well as a whole new generation of litigious insanity!

Same players; same game; same referees; same rules; different opportunities!
Posted: 12:38 pm on May 5th

Larry_Dombrowski Larry_Dombrowski writes: To paraphrase Melvin Belli: There is never a deed so foul that something coulden't be said for (Osario); that's why we have lawyers!
Posted: 12:34 pm on May 5th

Stangage Stangage writes: I too have seen the demos of the Saw Stop. Lots of loud wiz-bang happens if you slowly slide a hot dog up to the blade. The poor hot dog is barely nicked.
But the lawsuit describes the plaintiffs hand slipping into the blade or coming downward on top of the blade -as if when he lost control of his work he was falling forward or some such scenario.
If you assume that that motion was a rather conservative 20 mph then simple math would tell you that in the 5 milliseconds it takes Saw Stop to react Mr Osorio would have a 1.3" deep cut. Even at 5 mph (a typical walking pace)the depth of damage would have been enough to sever a finger

The next time you see saw stop demo'd ask the snake oil salesman to slap the top of the blade with the hot dog - or perhaps his hand if he really believes his hype. What you'll see is that the hot dog or hand is just as badly mangled as it would be with any other saw!!!

Saw Stop can prevent injury in some instances but one one described isn't one of them.
Posted: 12:25 pm on May 5th

unTreatedwood unTreatedwood writes: Depending upon how you have set up your shop, the table saw remains the backbone of most woodshops, as it is in mine. I have had the same saw for 15 years, and have no need/interest in replacing it. It works great.

I predict, however, after reading 80% of these posts, that at some point, our esteemed governmental regulators will require that we all show THEM that we have the ability to run a tablesaw correctly in order to get a certificate of carpenter's minimum skill level. We will not be able to run a shop unless we have that certificate, ("purchased" at seminars that will resemble the lead certification seminars") OR we will be exempted if we have purchased the famous SawStop saw. Mark my words...if this suit is allowed to stand, (and you can bet your attorney's retainer that Gass is lobbying hard), insurance cos. will be forced to ask us all if we have been certified for table saw usage or if are we exempted. We have begun a trip down a path that is not going to end well for any of us. The misguided attempt to eliminate all risk from what is by nature a risky venue is going to do us all in at some point. And I hope I am wrong for all our sakes!!!
Posted: 12:19 pm on May 5th

joe4liberty joe4liberty writes: At the end of the day, beyond the obvious that the jury thinks that someone who engages in unsafe behavior should be rewarded, the more important lesson here is that the jury is made up of people who have zero understanding of patent law. If anyone puts "flesh sensing technology" onto their equipment, they will be sued for patent infringement, and be given "cease and desist" orders.
Or what I glean from this lawsuit is that every manufacturer needs to put this technology onto their equipment, get sued, settle out of court and remove the technology. They when some idiot takes off the guards and fences and cuts himself, and decides to blame someone else in an effort to get rich, the company will be protected by the fact that the court forced them to remove the technology.
The more that I read things like this, the more convinced that I become that we as a nation are in our death throes... not willing to give up hope - I vote Libertarian!

Posted: 12:07 pm on May 5th

Brintintin Brintintin writes: What many people don't seem to realize, including the jury and the judge in this case, is that this decision has far reaching consequences for just about any inherently dangerous activity. This type of "logical" approach to litigation can only lead to more and more outrageous lawsuits furthering individuals from their own responsibility. If you sit back and think about it, you can come up with hundreds of examples that might not end up not being the individuals fault.
- I live in an area that has nature reserves (privately owned) with many trails around with mountain lions and coyotes. So if one of these animals attacks me or one of my children, are the land owners responsible for not ridding the land of the animals and putting up a "safety fence" to prevent them from returning? Outrageous I know. Sounds stupid I know. You might even say the "it's an act of nature". But you can't deny it follows the "logic". Keep in mind that the accident that Mr. Osorio had was nothing more than and act of nature if you think about the physics.

So, my 22 year old son goes to a party and has a little too much to drink, JUST UNDER the legal limit. He gets in an accident and severely injures someone. Is he 35% responsible and the CAR MANUFACTURER 65% liable for not having an alcohol detecting/measuring device installed in the car? That technology is available you know.

If you think like an ambulance chasing lawyer, the possibilities are endless. Both of my examples are outrageous to say the least, but I think they fit the thought process that would be used.

This decision absolutely needs to be overturned.
Posted: 12:06 pm on May 5th

Vern P. Vern P. writes: I also have a SawStop and love it for its quality and safety features. In response to treyg the SawStop does have a self checking systems which checks the system every time you turn the saw on. It takes a second or two to do the check and will not start until every thing is OK. I also don't think that most people will go thru the trouble to disengage the system as its fairly involved and only would be useful in cutting wet wood. This case also points out a long known problem in our tort system which benefits tort lawyers who make large contributions to ensure the law is not changed. We will all continue to pay higher costs until the public get smart and forces a change----unlikely since people continue to not want to take responsibility for their own actions. Its always someones fault.
Posted: 11:47 am on May 5th

KRiley KRiley writes: DOES ANYONE EVER READ THE PREVIOUS POSTS IN THIS TREAD???????

GrampaMike1

It's not a cut off switch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I get the impression people just come here, read the story and then just blasts a post without even bothering to see if it's been said or their question has been answered.

The incredible ignorance of the Saw Stop system I see here frankly scares me.
No one bothers to research how it works and just post from ignorance spouting completely wrong information. They post how they THINK it works without educating themselves.
That says more about a lot of woodworkers than this lawsuit.
I’m done trying to talk reason here. Have fun folks.

Posted: 11:46 am on May 5th

ScienceTeacher ScienceTeacher writes: Using the same logical reasoning: If I rear-end another car, I should claim that my car was faultily made since it did not include the "auto-braking" feature now found on some luxury cars. Had it been there, I would not be as likely to cause the accident. The fact that I was speeding, with bad brakes and bald tires, and texting on my phone the entire time, should not be a factor.
Posted: 11:43 am on May 5th

khiflfoif khiflfoif writes: I find it interesting that there seems to ve no mention of the fact that Saw Stop will only prevent an injury if skin contacts the blade. This is great but, what about kickback? A small piece of lumber could get you in the neck or face or stomach. Injury cannot be eliminated all together, it comes down to the user taking enough time to learn proper use and the types of accidents that can occur. In this case it seems like everyone is arguing over one of several ways you can be injured with this tool. I own a Skill portable saw and a Craftsman contractor saw. The Skill saw has many problems mainly, the throat plate opening and arbor wiggle, BUT, I knew this when I bought it and I bought it because it was under $150.00. This being said, there is risk and there are ways to mitigate it (or litigate). The best thing to do is be informed and honest to yourself about the tools you are using and your skill level.
Posted: 11:36 am on May 5th

rroades rroades writes: The problem with cases like this is that it's NOT what the final outcome is, it's the publicity on the "CHARGES" and that original verdict.

The actual outcome is ignored or buried deep beneath the "Today's News"
Posted: 11:31 am on May 5th

PoppaMichael PoppaMichael writes: It is hard for woodworkers who know anything about using a table saw to accept the fact that a judge and jury could have been stupid enough to award this extremely careless, inexperienced, improperly trained, unsupervised person--using a lower priced saw from which all safety features had been removed--a judgment against the manufacturer of the saw.

This case demonstrates one of the unfortunate parts of our tort legal system. Before jurors are empaneled they are questioned by the lawyers to determine potential "bias" and it would have been possible for Osario's lawyer to exclude from the jury anyone who knew anything about carpentry or how to use a table saw.

Furthermore, the presence or absence of SawStop technology is not the reason for the accident. Even the SawStop saw has a cut off switch that defeats the safety system so that damp wood will not trigger the saw to cut off, ruining a blade and requiring replacement of the braking shoe. After reviewing the other facts in the case one can not imagine Osario's employer spending the extra money to buy a more expensive saw with the new technology. It is also hard to imagine him supplying back-up blades and brake shoes to his crews--at a cost probably greater than that of the stripped down saw that was actually provided. So even if he had bought the saw the safety system might well have been disabled.

Under workers compensation laws and tort laws the owner of the flooring company should be liable on a number of theories, but the absense of SawStop technology should not have resulted in liability for Riobi. If this verdict is not appealed and overturned it will merely increase the cost of table saws for all of us.
Posted: 11:16 am on May 5th

KRiley KRiley writes: bernu said
"I have seen many demos of the SawStop tablk saw, where they always use a hot dog. Don't any of the demonstrators have the guts to actually demo the saw with one of their fingers?"

They did.
Gass did it on the discovery show Time Warp.


Posted: 11:13 am on May 5th

Tenonmaker Tenonmaker writes: Nothing new here (yet). Let us know the results of the appeal.
Posted: 11:06 am on May 5th

teryg teryg writes: Market share and risk of liability being what they are, a technology like SawStop will eventually find its way into the mainstream. Meanwhile, there is a golden opportunity for a firm that is long on engineering and manufacturing to design and sell retrofit kits to upgrade the old iron that populates 99% of shops everywhere. Talk about a huge market!

Seems to me that even with SawStop technology, there needs to be a self-test feature that verifies the electronics and the mechanism are intact and capable every time the equipment is turned ON. If not O.K., then the safety feature denies power to the motor to prevent misuse and accidents.
I don't think that's in-place with today's SawStop units.

The safety feature must not only be verifiably "run-ready", it must not be removable. If people can remove riving knives, safety guards, and fences, they can remove any technology unless it is integrated into the equipment's run/don't-run mode.

Any testimonials from Saw Stop owners who have experienced a "saving moment" with it? Hot dog videos are one thing; finger/hands are another.
Posted: 11:05 am on May 5th

Cybarr Cybarr writes: I own a Saw Stop Table Saw and find it to be not only a safer saw due to it's Stop Cartridge, but extremely well built and a pure joy to use. I didn't buy this saw for it's safety features, I bought it because it's a very good saw, the safety feature is a bonus to my 53 year old fingers.

It seems obvious to me the employee did not have enough training, on the table saw, and therefore the accident is more the fault of the company he worked for and not the saw maker. However the employer's business would be insured by some form of worker's compensation insurance company who would be strongly in favor of passing the buck in the direction of the tool maker or the employee at fault.

As was stated by an attorney on this forum, before my post, there is much more to this story than meets the eye!
Mr.Glass, a lawyer and CEO of Saw Stop needs to pick his words more carefully, or spend the money to hire a pro to help him out in this department. Perhaps he was quoted out of context to help this storyline gain some heat? Either way he didn't do himself any favors!

For those of you that base your saw buying purchases on the fear mongering of the 'Big Brother is out to get you' theory
as proposed in the multiple posts I've read on this page. I suggest you wake up and smell the roses, compare saws for fit and finish and how it cuts wood, never mind the gimmicks!!!
Posted: 11:03 am on May 5th

BigD1 BigD1 writes: Well, I have read enough. Let's move on to something that will, "Make My Day." The dog has been beaten dead. Have a great day.
Posted: 10:49 am on May 5th

bernu bernu writes: Gee, let's put SawStop on our bandsaws, jigsaws, table saws, handsaws, saber saws, chopsaws, etc. In fact let's put SawStop on any device that is designed to cut into wood, such as drill presses, routers, biscuit cutters, belt sanders, disc sanders, etc. I have been involved in woodworking for well over forty years and I can say if you stop and think about what you are going to do with a woodworking machine, the likelihood of an accident is diminished exponentially.

I have seen many demos of the SawStop tablk saw, where they always use a hot dog. Don't any of the demonstrators have the guts to actually demo the saw with one of their fingers?

Why don't they design a CarStop so when your car meets another car on the highway it immediately stops, preventing costly repairs. Tie a hot dog on the bumper and demo it...
Posted: 10:44 am on May 5th

teryg teryg writes: An award that attaches responsibility and blame properly would have been 65% against the contractor, 35% against Osorio.

Zero against the equipment manufacturer because there is no safety requirement that they ignored. That can, and should, be changed!

Q. What do you call a Harley rider with no helmet?..... A. an organ donor! Q. What do you call a table saw operator without training, oversight, integrated safety equipment, and a dull blade? A. ...an amputee!

There is plenty of stupidity to go round here. Most of it for the contractor, and the operator. A little for the saw company, and the judge & jury. Too bad ignorance is not painful until it's too late!
Posted: 10:42 am on May 5th

BillN100 BillN100 writes: This is not the end of this story. It is only the beginning. The award in this case, on appeal, will almost certainly be substantially reduced, if not reversed. Car manufacturers could design an almost completely safe car(at enormous cost), but they are not required to. The normal standard is whether it was reasonably foreseeable that this injury would have occurred. It doesn't seem reasonable to assume that the person using the device would remove all the safety features and then use it in a way directly contrary to the manual. That's why we have appeals, to help set the standards of conduct in our society. Of course, appellate judges are people too and they don't always get it right. Sometimes it takes legislation to find the balance, and legislators are not always known for getting it right either. However, this is the system we have and compared to most other systems it works fairly well, the comment about Canada notwithstanding - just compare their postal service to ours. Before we go off the deep end on this, why don't we wait to see how the story ends?
Posted: 10:38 am on May 5th

mstrrktek mstrrktek writes: Scooterek,
This lawsuit was not initiated by any insurance company. You need to read both the trial transcripts, jury questionaire, and Gass' article in the Oregon paper.
This was pure and simple an idiot ambulance chasing attorney that found the YouTube video of SawStop.
The rest is history.


Posted: 10:36 am on May 5th

TJSexton TJSexton writes: One man lost a pinky finger and the legal system is in an uproar (even though he was negligent in his use of the product)... The following is from the NRA Info Center:

Firearms are the second leading cause of traumatic death related to a consumer product in the United States and are the second most frequent cause of death overall for Americans ages 15 to 24. Since 1960, more than a million Americans have died in firearm suicides, homicides, and unintentional injuries. In 2003 alone, 30,136 Americans died by gunfire: 16,907 in firearm suicides, 11,920 in firearm homicides, 730 in unintentional shootings, and 232 in firearm deaths of unknown intent, ...

Since handgun deaths are accepted as a fact of life the answer is obvious... It's not how safe or unsafe your product is, it's how good a Washington Lobby you have.

The woodworking industry needs to simply hire the same group that lobbies for the gun industry.

Posted: 10:36 am on May 5th

scooteruk scooteruk writes: Oh ya, one more thing. If you are interested in some balance and maybe some debunking of myth you may want to read the following article on the McDonald's coffee case which has been cited above and is universally brought up by apologists for corporate America's own, occasional irresponsibility (always blame it on user). http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm

Posted: 10:35 am on May 5th

Elsabae Elsabae writes: I read in another article that quoted the legal briefs, that in addition to the guard, splitter and fence being removed, the blade height was about 3". The board he was cutting was 3/4" thick. (He was making a tapered cut following a pencil line on the board.)

I don't understand why Ryobi is responsible and not the owner of PT Hardwood Flooring Services. Osorio testified that his hand "slid ON TOP of the blade of the saw" and later in the testimony that his hand "had landed ON TOP of the blade." If the guard supplied by Ryobi was in place the guard would have PREVENTED the injury.

Osorio also testified that he had never seen guard assemblies for either of the 2 saws he used. So the primary safety feature that Ryobi provided was removed by the owner.

He also was required by his boss to use the saw unsafely since he was trained to make freehand tapered cuts (no fence) following a pencil line (guard would have obstructed his view, push stick probably would not have allowed accurate control of the cut.) And the 3" blade height was either lack of training or operator error.

And knowing that he would require his workers to make these kinds of cuts, why is it not neglignce that the owner did not buy Sawstop saws?

Ryobi had 28 days to appeal and I haven't heard that they did so. The same lawyers apparently have 60 other similar suits pending, half against Ryobi because they are such a big player in the low-end saw market.

This is the first time I have ever WANTED to be called for jury duty!

Posted: 10:35 am on May 5th

KRiley KRiley writes: Bob Cole said
"By the way, if Saw Stop technology is required on all power tools how will anyone ever cut raw wood before it has its moisture removed by a kiln or air dried"

First of all it isn't adaptable to all power tools and never will be. Saw Stop is working of a chop saw and band saw system.

Second how about reading some of the other posts in the thread then you have some of your questions answered.

To cut wet wood or metal you use the override key. It overrides the system for the time the saw is on. Turn it off and it resets to safe.

Posted: 10:31 am on May 5th

mstrrktek mstrrktek writes: You know what will be interesting is when one day, and it probably will come, one day the SawStop won't work and it will take someone's finger(s), or worse.

I don't wish this on anyone, but I can't help but wonder what this jerk Gass will say in court. H'mmmm, just think ...... "oh, well it's not perfect"? Or, "the operator should have been more careful"?

H'mmmm ..... well, maybe if the operator, using the SawStop had indeed been a little less dependent on the SawStop and generally more respectful of the machine and its inherent danger, maybe he would still have the finger(s).
Hopefully this will never happen, but if it does, I'd love to hear what Gass will say in court.

Just a stupid thought!
Posted: 10:31 am on May 5th

corgle corgle writes: Everyone take a deep breath.

I have been a trial attorney for nearly 30 years and a serious woodworker for 40. As a result, I know the common sense of both aspects of this story.

Whenever you read about an extreme trial result like this, two things are usually going on. First, there is more to the story than is being publicized. Second, the defendant is usually publicizing and politicizing the story for its own advantage. That's where the important facts are left out.

Wait to see how this plays out. Get all of the facts and then reach an informed opinion. This ceiling scraping outrage is exactly how the large corporations in this country want you to react.

At high volume we were told that it was economically unfeasible to conduct offshore oil drilling without caps on economic damages. In response to this sky is falling hysteria, the Congress passed a law that now will likely limit BP's exposure for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to one percent of the company's profits from last quarter. How much of that story have you heard?

Twenty years ago the gun industry was wringing its hands over federal and state requirements to add a few safety features to help avoid child related accidents. These steps would destroy the industry we were told. The changes added about ten bucks to the cost of a hand gun, have saved lives and firearms manufacturers are currently making record profits.

These people are selling you a bill of goods. The United States Chamber of Commerce, which is controlled by insurance and oil companies, spent $27 in 2007 to publicize so-called "law suit abuse." Nevertheless every independent group which has studied personal injury suits in the United States agrees that for the last 20 years the number of suits has declined, the size of verdicts has dramatically declined and the chances of an injured person prevailing in a suit has dropped from 70% to less than 45%.

Everyone loves to rant and rave about lawsuits until they or a family member is seriously hurt because of someone else's carelessness. That's when they find out that in the name of "tort reform" their chances of obtaining justice for serious injuries and huge medical bills have been severely diminished.

Take an even strain. Get the facts. Dig for the truth. Personal responsibility includes the responsibility to be informed.

Oh, and spend some time tonight putting that blade guard back on your cabinet saw.

Posted: 10:26 am on May 5th

Bob Cole Bob Cole writes: My thoughts after reading as much as I can find about this lawsuit are that Ryobi has been held liable by a jury of the plaintiff's peers.

That means that the court allowed the assembly of jurors that concluded power tool manufacturers must make all of their tools:
1. inoperable until proof can be "input into the tool" that the operator has read the manufacturer's operating manual;
2. the tool remains inoperable if any change whatsoever has been made to the power tool;
3. the tool remain inoperable until a third party documents that the operator has read, understands, and will comply will all manufacturer's instructions for use;
4. proof that the operator has taken and passed a written examination on the proper use of the tool; and,
5. all power tools have Sawstop technology.

Perhaps we need additional technology that requires electrodes be attached to the operator that measures common sense that also detects when the operator is not in compliance with the manufacturer's operating instructions.

Oh my! What will Sawstop do now? They can't comply with these standards! Perhaps Congress should hold hearings on this matter and pass a 2,000 page long law legislating the use and national certification and licensing to purchase and use such tools. Hmmm. Another hidden tax. Great idea.

By the way, if Sawstop technology is required on all power tools how will anyone ever cut raw wood before it has has its moisture removed by a kiln or air dried?

Not a bad idea! We can let our trees air dry for years before they head to the sawmills. I can't wait to purchase some of my beloved tiger maple boards from logs that have air dried for 20 years before cutting. Oh! Bad idea! I'm 67 years old.

This lawsuit has made one decision for me. I will never purchase any tool that has integrated Sawstop technology.

And, I must add, I like the few Ryobi tools I have. That is, until I drill a hole through my left elbow instead of a maple board or sand through the skin of a finger. Then it is off to court to make my millions!!!

Best of luck to Ryobi in the appeals process.
Posted: 10:22 am on May 5th

mstrrktek mstrrktek writes: The article Gass did for his SawStop made be SICK. He felt vindicated? He is glad that this lawsuit will potentially force yet another aspect of our lives into government influence, raising the cost of woodworking by potentially requiring his blade-eating device on all saws.

Okay, yes, the SawStop MAY be a good device, in some cases. I would still argue that we have gotten along without it with a great safety record ....... AS LONG AS YOU DON'T INCLUDE THE IDIOTS THAT SHOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED TO GET NEAR A SAW!

From Gass' article it became clear that all he really cares about is the advancement of his patented technology. And, his motives also became clear, finding out that he is an attorney himself. Has he read the extremely negative feedback from woodworkers around the country against the outcome of this lawsuit?

I may loose a finger or two one day, and would be by my carelessness (which won't be increased because I relied on a sawstop to protect me), but I will NEVER buy a SawStop. Call me ignorant or stupid, but I'm tired of lawyers and others' taking advantage of our corrupt legal system.

Posted: 10:14 am on May 5th

salamfam salamfam writes: Lets not forget, the safety mechanisms on the Saw Stop table saw can be disabled also, making the Saw Stop no safer than the Ryobi in the hands of Mr. Osorio. Can’t wait to see how much he gets from that!
Posted: 10:12 am on May 5th

scooteruk scooteruk writes: For those of you who are blaming Mr. Gass for this I think you may be barking up the wrong tree...I believe the suit was initiated on Mr. Osorio's behalf by his insurance company-not SawStop.
Second, remember a jury-people like you and me, sat and listened to all the testimony from both sides (who were ably represented I would guess) and applied the facts as they found them to the law as presented to them by the judge (jury instructions often are drawn up by the attorneys for each side and haggled over...again-Ryobi had input and a fair chance to present it's case). You can cry about 'common-sense' and all the other faldoral, but the jury found that Ryobi blew it. The jury also found that Mr. Osorio was 35% at fault thereby reducing his award.
Unfortunately, in our country manufacturers very rarely offer 'safety' improvements until they are forced to...it is a simple cost benefit analysis. Products liability law was developed as a safeguard against this reality, forcing manufacturers to improve safety of products placed into the stream of commerce or face expensive and punitive suits like this.
I'm guessing the jury faced an issue of 'accountability'. Did Osorio use the saw in a way that was unintended by the manufacturer? Did the Ryobi put an inherently dangerous product in the market knowing there was an available device that would have obviated the injury? They seemed to answer yes to both.
"Common sense" will tell you, especially if you are a contractor, that people use tools customarily without guards and in ways that are 'unsafe' all the time-especially in the field. Common sense will also tell you that the manufacturers know this and plan accordingly.
We all might want to sit back and see what the jury saw and why they thought Ryobi should have made a safer saw.... Maybe they thought that Ryobi not only knew about a safer way, but they had a sort of agreement to use SaWStop technology and then changed their minds? Maybe the jury felt that the 'industry' was trying to subvert safety technology for their own fincancial gain thereby depriving consumers a very real safety product? Maybe they thought Ryobi should be accountable for making these types of 'business' decisions...not unlike Ford in the Pinto case? I don't know, I wasn't there, but I do know a jury was...you might want to think about giving them a little respect.
Posted: 10:02 am on May 5th

wdcraftr1 wdcraftr1 writes: In reply to the remark about IQ...Obama has a high IQ, and he has no idea about finances, or how to balance a budget. IQ is not a cure for stupidity, or common sense......
Posted: 10:01 am on May 5th

boatblder boatblder writes: This situation was an accident waiting to happen. He was not trained but used the tool anyway, he removed all safety devices, including the fence, he didn't use a push stick, and continued when there was a percieved problem. What ever happened to personal responsibility and self-reliance. The saw was just doing it's job. He caused the accident. Had the guard, splitter and fence been used, and had he used a push stick there would not have been an accident. But I guess asking someone to use some common sense is out of the question.

I have also been the subject (not a victim) of a similar injury, unfortunately. It was not the saw's fault, it was my fault. I let my guard down for one millisecond, pulled my hand through the spinning blade. I had not reinstalled the blade guard after using a dado blade.
Posted: 10:00 am on May 5th

KRiley KRiley writes: I will start by stating right up front I have NOTHING to do with Saw Stop and have no affiliation with the company other than I own one.
My story is in the accidents section of this web site. I posted in my shop tour video on You Tube why I got the Saw Stop.

This lawsuit is a tragedy and I hope that Ryobi gets a massive reduction or turnover on appeal.

There are a lot of myths, misinformation, misconceptions and misinterpretations about the saw stop and how it works.
I respectfully request that people at least learn a bit on how the system works and doesn’t work.

The system is self contained in the cartridge. If you remove the cartridge or damage it the saw will not run. If you touch the blade the system triggers. If you are touching the blade it will turn on.
There is a cartridge for 10” saw blades and 8” dado sets
The 10” blade cartridge is $69. I bought an extra one when I bought the saw.

I find comments like this “I’ve been woodworking for X years and never had an accident” disingenuous at best. Like I said in a previous post that can change tomorrow.

buckyclown said
“One of these days someone is going to be hurt using a SawStop without the guards and fence”.

The guards and fence have nothing to do with the safety system. You can remove them and the system will work as designed. If you touch the blade it will stop and drop in 5 milliseconds.

To pjlimon
If the safety system fails the saw will not start. That is part of the safety of the saw. The system is self contained in the cartridge. If the cartridge fails it won’t turn on.

To justmy2cents
You can’t disconnect the system. If you do the saw will not run. You can override it to cut metal with a key for a cut. Turn off the saw and it resets to safe mode. All the boss has to do is lock up the override key.

To Char50
You are incorrect in your assessment of how fast the system works. It stops the blade and drops it below the table in 5 milliseconds. Do you realize how fast that is?
That’s 5/1000 of a second. At the very worst you would get a knick on your hand.
I did the hot dog test at the Woodworking Show last year and it is faster than you can imagine.
Go to their web site and look at the videos.
He would not have been injured.

Posted: 9:55 am on May 5th

LewSuber LewSuber writes: Wish I had been on this jury!!! I can't believe a jury did this.
How many of you are familiar with the the McDonald's (Golden Arches) "Hot Coffee" lawsuit? A woman was awarded multi-millions because when she placed a take-away cup of McDonald's coffee between her legs in her driver's seat, the coffee spilled, burning her thighs & crotch. She sucessfully sued McDonald's for serving coffee that was "too hot". That award marks the advent of all the "contents hot" warnings on various food containers.
This suit appears even more egregious than that one. I was on a jury that refused to award damages to a plaintiff who was severely injured because of his stupid actions. We were immediately united in our belief that a third party (in our case the property owner where the incident occurred) should not be penalized because a patron behaved irresponsibly.
These cases are the fault not only of the ambulance chasing lawyers who file them but also the jury members who award damages to stupid plaintiffs & the judges who allow them to come to trial.
Posted: 9:54 am on May 5th

scrollwolf scrollwolf writes: I have a hard time believing that the jury was any brighter than Osorio. Their decision was based on emotion. Can I sue the Colts for losing the Superbowl?
Why wasn't his boss more responsible than the manufacturer? Because the boss didn't have enough money.
How can you tell when an attorney is lying? His lips are moving! This may ruin entry level table saws for new woodworkers and raise the cost for all levels of woodworkers.

Ron White said it best, "you can't fix stupid".


Posted: 9:51 am on May 5th

Ted in North Bay Ted in North Bay writes: This guy was injured as an employee and not as a home user. It is my opinion the employer is more at fault than the saw manufacturer. I also feel badly for the home owners where the floor was being installed. An contractor that allowed such blatant misuse of equipment would never ba allowed near my house. The quality of workmanship has spoken for itself.

What angers me the most over this unfortunate accident is that Mr. Gass of SawStop has publicly claimed he has been vindicated by the awarding of this lawsuit. I believe it is extremely disrespectful for a major manufacturer to "ride the wave" of someone else's misfortune. Mr. Gass has turned me away from being a SawStop wanabe owner to a SawStop neverwillbe owner; and I am one with 9 fingers.

Mr. Gass I challenge you in front of this woodworking audience to reach in and grasp the last moral fibre of your body. If you really want vindication and care about our safety produce us a saw with your technology that retails for an average price of $169, just like Ryobi's BTS 15.


Posted: 9:48 am on May 5th

TmohT TmohT writes: I am not worried about the idot behind the saw, I am really worried about the 12 twits in the jury box. If the plantiff is 35% at fault and is asking for $250,000, then 65% of that is $162,500 not $1,500,000. Their decimal is definitley in the wrong place!

And if you are an idiot that thinks you can cut a non-straight cut with a table saw, I guess your stupidity will soon pay off as well. See you in court!! But if you want to keep your fingers, buy a jig saw.

It is ironic that Ryobi is being punished for their greed in not wanting to pay the extra money to equip their saws with this new technology.

But it is Mr. Osorio's greed that made him take shortcuts to get the job done faster, rather than take the time to do the job safely, that landed him in this situtation.
Posted: 9:46 am on May 5th

Don01 Don01 writes: So where are the state and/or federal occupational health folks?
How many times will the contractor pay to replace the protective device. I guess the Saw Stop guy is just drooling thinking about the idea of an army of half wits field testing his device every day.

Of course add to the whole circus the concept of being judged by a jury of our peers...

Don
Posted: 9:28 am on May 5th

HTHSSNTHTSHT HTHSSNTHTSHT writes: Like most of you seasoned woodworkers out there, I'm compelled to respond in a logical sense on such a matter based on the facts clearly stated in this case, but beings nothing comes to mind, all I have to say about the guy is this.........F$!@*$G IDIOT! AHHHHHH! IF YOU CAN'T USE A D**N TABLE SAW THE RIGHT WAY, DON'T USE ONE AT ALL!

Afterall, guns don't kill people............ -TL
Posted: 9:16 am on May 5th

JohnM42 JohnM42 writes: I'm willing to be reasonable with the industry regarding its shameful display of irresponsibility. I'll settle out-of-court for a new Unisaw. I'm really going to go after them for the dust collection on those old Delta bandsaws. Now that design is a real crime.
Posted: 9:08 am on May 5th

AlexCamp AlexCamp writes: Here's an idea:

1) Buy a cheap car

2) Deliberately remove driver and passenger Airbags

3) Deliberately remove seat belts

4) Step on the gas at 140 mph and crash in a wall

5) Get injured but survive, then sue the car company for not including other types of "hidden" airbags on the doors etc.

6) Sounds easy!

I think it has become so easy for Americans to sue anyone for any reason! This kind of attitude can only go down the hole. Combine this with such a bad justice system... wow!

Am I glad to live in canada.
Posted: 9:02 am on May 5th

aldaul aldaul writes: As a contractor I am responsible to make sure each of my employees has been properly instructed including making sure they fully understand all instruction even if it includes furnishing someone to interpet if neccesary, and to follow up to make sure the employee actually uses the tool to the proper methods and standards. THIS IS AN OSHA REQUIREMENT. I am not sure this happened in this case. We need less attorneys and more common sense these days.
Posted: 9:01 am on May 5th

texbrandt texbrandt writes: Removing fingers is not the only injury a tablesaw can inflict. Ultimately the only way to avoid injury from a tablesaw is never to use one.


Posted: 8:57 am on May 5th

vhoth vhoth writes: Some of you kids are WAAAY off. Comparison to the Toyota recall is completely off-base. THE GUY REMOVED THE SAFETY FEATURE. With proper use, which is clearly spelled out in the manual (in English AND in Spanish by the way) the proper way to make a cut, and repeated warnings about removing the blade guard.

Most accidents are a result of stupidity, which is the only thing we cannot litigate out of our society.

to Maschner: your comparison is sad. Come on, really? Did Toyota owners remove the anti-lock braking feature, THEN have an accident? No. You are a a pestilence on common sense, just like this idiot, who relinquishes all personal responsibilities for his own actions. Your comments are a perfect example of the denouement of our society.
Posted: 8:54 am on May 5th

vhoth vhoth writes: Some of you kids are WAAAY off. Comparison to the Toyota recall is completely off-base. THE GUY REMOVED THE SAFETY FEATURE. With proper use, which is clearly spelled out in the manual (in English AND in Spanish by the way) the proper way to make a cut, and repeated warnings about removing the blade guard.

Most accidents are a result of stupidity, which is the only thing we cannot litigate out of our society.

to Maschner: your comparison is sad. Come on, really? Did Toyota owners remove the anti-lock braking feature, THEN have an accident? No. You are a a pestilence on common sense, just like this idiot, who relinquishes all personal responsibilities for his own actions. Your comments are a perfect example of the denouement of our society.
Posted: 8:54 am on May 5th

snuffer snuffer writes: No blade gaurd, no splitter, no rip fence ? He was asking for 250K and was awarded 1.5 million ?
The jury should be sued.
Posted: 8:49 am on May 5th

justmy2cents justmy2cents writes: Wow This is unreal. If the saw had a flesh sensor that would most likly have been disconnected too!!
Posted: 8:49 am on May 5th

RMillard RMillard writes: So, If i'm driving drunk, at a high rate of speed, without a seat belt, going the wrong way on a one way street, I can file a lawsuit against Ford and walk away with a small fortune. Not my idea of justice. I hope there is an appeal process, and this "verdict" will be over turned.
Rob Millard

Posted: 8:46 am on May 5th

Char50 Char50 writes: First of all I want to say that I am a 59 year old woman who has limited experience using power tools. That being said, I have watched enough home improvement programs on TV to know that you DO NOT remove the safety equipment from your tools. If you knowingly remove these items, you do so AT YOUR OWN RISK! It is not the manufacturer's fault that you are STUPID.

Also, when I first read about SawStop I thought this is a GREAT idea....then I read what it actually does. To quote its website:
"SawStop® saws are equipped with a safety system to stop the blade within 5 milliseconds of DETECTING CONTACT WITH SKIN."

Note that it does not say that it stops the blade BEFORE it cuts you; it says it stops it after "detecting contact with skin". Given these 2 facts:
1)that Mr. Osorio admits in this case that he "pushed the board even harder" to get the board cut. (Even I know that you DO NOT FORCE wood into the blade)
2)the 5 milliseconds it takes for SawStop to stop the blade AFTER detecting contact with the skin;
Due to the amount of force he was using, when his hand slipped, A tool with SawStop would not have prevented his injury.
Also, maybe he should have used a "push stick" instead of his hands to push the wood to the blade?

Posted: 8:45 am on May 5th

bentontool bentontool writes: This guy is a neophyte who was taught safety but ignored what he was taught... this makes him an idiot. You can't fix stupid. Sadly, there is no personal responsibility in this country anymore. Idiots who trim their bushes with a lawnmower can sue & be awarded big money, etc, etc, etc. No wonder we such high prices for insurance & many products... liability! What do you expect in a country where O.J. got off? In closing, please remember that half the world has an IQ under 100! That says it all.
Posted: 8:44 am on May 5th

Maschner Maschner writes: It is estimated that this would cost about $200 per saw to upgrade. Imagine a good Grizzly 0690 table saw, now up from $1250 to $1450, built with Saw Stop technology. It would be the biggest selling saw in history. In the US we have 32,000 table saw accidents a year, not including professional or work related accidents. This includes about 3,000 amputations. No other piece of machinery sold to the general public is allowed to have such a rate.

Based on a few accidents and no deaths, Toyota recalled most of their vehicles and was fined millions of dollars to fix a gas peddle. Perhaps table saw companies should be held to the same standards.
Posted: 8:39 am on May 5th

gatsby1923 gatsby1923 writes: With all this gentleman didn't do I have a feeling the award may be reduced or thrown out on appeal. I had a serious table saw accident once and it was totally my fault. I was really too tried and not paying attention enough to run ANY power tool that day.

The first step in personal safety is personal responsibility.

Posted: 8:38 am on May 5th

james3one james3one writes: Ryobi makes a good product and I see them at many(if not all) job sites being used every day. I supply most of my own power tools at work and without this supplier of good but inexpensive power tools I'd be working with nothing more than an old jig saw. Sawstop is a great idea but only addresses one concern out of many on any jobsite. The only way to be 100% safe is to have, and use, commone sense. That or don't build anything.

Ryobi includes a manual that is full of safety warnings and includes them on the saw itself. Follow the guidelines and the saw is safe to use. Take the safety features off of a SawStop(except the stop underneath), like this empoyer did, and you will still have a dangerous tool. This isn't a technology issue it is a training issue. 'Don't put your hand on the sharp thing that spins really fast'.

My hope is that Ryobi appeals and wins. If not we will all pay for this one.

Posted: 8:35 am on May 5th

woodenu2 woodenu2 writes: From a 132yr old family woodworking business, with NO accidents at the saws, even when they were open belt driven from a stand alone auto engine, to today with 4 Deltas, it is still the person behind the board, not the tool that the danger lies.
Posted: 8:32 am on May 5th

philtomlinson philtomlinson writes: Of course this is not about liberals or conservatives, or tort law or socialism or any of the other things the right wing wants to rant about.

This is about the lawyers for Ryobi not doing a very good job making their case, oh, and maybe something to do with letting almost everyone out of jury duty.

This will be reversed on appeal. The court system is working just fine, mostly. But if you conservatives want to get your panties in a bunch, your should be very worried about the extremist activist right-wing judges on the Supreme Court who think money is speech and corporations are people. You won't believe what's coming your way!
Posted: 8:32 am on May 5th

STILLTEN STILLTEN writes: I DIDNT READ ALL THE COMMENTS, BUT IF I WERE RYOBIS LAWYERS I WOULD HAVE PARADED THOUSANDS OF WOODWORKERS THRU THE WITNESS STAND WHO STILL HAD ALL THEIR FINGERS AND HAVE BEEN USING A TABLE SAW(THE CORRECT WAY)FOR YEARS. DRAG THE TRIAL ON FOR MONTHS TILL THE JURY HAD ENOUGH. WHERE DOES COMMON SENSE TAKE OVER IN THIS WORLD.
Posted: 8:32 am on May 5th

consource consource writes: I didn't see anyone writing a comment on the "idiot" that demonstrated the unsafe use of this saw! Furthermore, I don't know Carlos' situation but I've seen more and more in the field where speed, haste, and in many cases the hiring of inexperienced immigrants that don't understand english nor the repercussions of unsafe tool operation. Once again, our litigious society goes to the deep pockets of corporate america to seek remedy and theses "cut-throat low-balling" dopes who run these small companies stay in business and hire people who have absolutely no craft or safety experience. Finally, substituting safety for lack of experience will surely drive up the cost of equipment while substandard labor and poor product quality as a result will continue to exist.
Posted: 8:23 am on May 5th

paulbny paulbny writes: The thing I find most appalling about this whole suit is that Mr. Gass the patent attorney and owner of SawStop is clearly the driving force behind. Without his help the plantiffs lawyer would stand no chance with this case. It would seem that as he is unable to interest saw manufacturers in adding this feature to their saws., which would have them paying him a license fee for every saw they make and jacking up the price of every saw we buy. While I think the Saw Stop is an excellect idea and certainly a smart buy for and inexperienced user or one feels they need the extra margin of safety. I am offended buy Mr. Gass's use of the courts and this ruling as a way to force manufacturers into licensing his technology. I will NEVER buy a saw from which he see's a dime of profit. If he is succesful in this forcing this change, surely someone else will come up with a different and effective break and be able to cut him out of the picture.
Posted: 8:18 am on May 5th

mdgmata mdgmata writes: Just another lawyer seeking to make money. If there is anyone to blame it should be the owner of the flooring company, he should be properly training all his employees how to use any kind of power tool. Safety should be the number one priority power tools should be respected they are not toys. I'm sorry to say that is not always the case. I've been a plumber for over 25 years and I have seen a lot of unsafe practices by many tradesman. No safety glasses, guards removed from saws, wearing sandals or flip flops on the job site, using a tool not intended for its purpose ......... you name I've seen it all. Its a problem but don't blame the companies that make them blame the individual who uses the tool the wrong way.
Posted: 8:11 am on May 5th

lrogers37 lrogers37 writes: And these talks are going on all in a country composed of states some of which DON'T require motorcycle operators to wear helmets.
Posted: 8:03 am on May 5th

kmpres kmpres writes: You guys can stop griping about our justice system. It is designed to accomodate the thousands of variables that our society throws at it every day while protecting our way of life and preserving our freedoms, and does a credible job at it, given the great variety of cases it must handle. Situations, however, can allow skilled lawyers to take a lopsided, though legal, advantage that may not be apparent when a case goes to court. While I don't know for certain, it seems pretty clear that two things occured here that, perhaps inadvertently, helped the prosecution's case greatly: 1. the judge instructed both sides to choose jurors out of a pool of non-woodworkers who had never operated a tablesaw in their lives to avoid people who had had accidents with saws in the past from prejudicing the verdict, and 2, he/she didn't realize the extent to which such a selection could be easily frightened of a saw's inherent dangers, especially after viewing pictures of the accident or other accidents in evidence. The balance therefore tilted in favor of the plaintiff even though he deliberately disabled the safety features of the particular saw he was using. In my view, the fault is clearly with Osario for deliberately disabling his saw's saftey features, ignorant of them or otherwise, with equal culpability going to his boss for allowing the saw to be mishandled, not the saw manufacturer, and certainly not because another manufacturer's safety technology wasn't incorporated in the saw's design. If the Ryobi saw was manufactured without this technology after a regulatory agency had required it to be included then that would be a different matter, but that didn't happen here. This imbalance needs to be reexamined on appeal and, if it is, I am confident that the award will be redued, if not eliminated.
Posted: 7:58 am on May 5th

paps paps writes: You get what you pay for with Ryobi. Their products are very cheap, and are built that way. I tried their portable table saw as well as a router and a cordless drill. I really have no complaints with the drill, but the motor arbor in both the table saw and the router moved in and out. You could literally hold the saw blade between two fingers and wiggle it back and forth slightly, even when it was new. Same was true with the routers. In a severe case, especially with a untrue blade, this could cause chatter in a saw. I gave the "tools" away.
Posted: 7:51 am on May 5th

2b24 2b24 writes: Those of us who practice safe behaviors in the wood shop and don’t injure ourselves also, I’m sure, don’t buy life insurance. We don’t need it on a daily basis. If we have a family to provide for we just purchase a term life insurance policy right before we die. Think of the money we save throughout our lives.
Oh, I’m not one of those people. I’ve already cut myself but I was fortunate.
I can’t eliminate all risk but I try to minimize it so when I upgraded to a cabinet saw I bought a SawStop.

Posted: 7:50 am on May 5th

JohnRyan JohnRyan writes: LOL, only in America...well, so, does this mean I can go ahead and drive my Ford at 100mph into a tree without a seatbelt and sue Ford for my injuries? My question is, what was with the lawyers from One World? It seems odd that they wouldn't be able to defend such a case.
Posted: 7:43 am on May 5th

nichi nichi writes: Lossing a finger is a bad thing. Its clear tha we need them otherwise we would born with less than 10. But we also born with a brain ( at least most of us). Power tolls, all them comes with the user guide, instructions how to us and safety advisory. I can't understand like most of you how a person can start a saw without any protection. I said a person because its clear that Carlos is not a woodworker. People think that any one using a saw for cutting wood is a woodworker. Well for those like the jury seems to be the reality but it's not.The accident prove my point, any stupid who call himself woodworker who do what he did will probably end up with the same results.
Woodworker also turn on their saws, but a woodworker NEVER forget that before he turns hes saw on to do a cut he FIRST turn on hes BRAIN..

Posted: 7:41 am on May 5th

LocalHero LocalHero writes:
I cut without a fence on occasion as does every contractor I know. Following a long non-straight scribe line is the most common situation. I've never known anyone to cut themselves following that practice.
From the article:

"When he started cutting, he felt chattering and vibration, so he shut off the machine, removed the stock, and cleared away dust and other pieces of flooring from the saw table. Thinking he had solved the problem, he started cutting again, but his difficulties continued, so he pushed the board even harder."

Sounds to me like the blade was dull and the worker untrained and not sensible enough to realize that it's a bad idea to push your hands directly towards the blade. I'm not sure why one would ever need to "push hard" to freehand scribe to a line but I'm guessing he was trying to move too fast.

Would a Saw-Stop have prevented his injuries? I guess so. So why not require the saw-stop technology in every circular saw? Every router? Band saw? Drill Press? Recip-saw? Planer? Side-angle grinder? Etc...
It's a fact that if you wear cast iron knee boots it practically eliminates the most common lawnmower injuries. I think the jury should be made to mow their lawns with boots like that while they re-think their decision.
Posted: 7:05 am on May 5th

pjlimon pjlimon writes: I am about to invest in a SawStop after many years of using a Unisaw without a serious accident. (One bad kickback was truly frightening, but shear luck saved me.) I am doing this for the added safety technology. The attitude that kept me safe using the Unisaw was fear. It could be that a reduced fear factor will lead to accidents, even with the new technology.
Eventually, a case will arise in which the flesh-sensing technology of a SawStop failed, and a serious accident occured. The settlement will not be small. Perhaps that is why established tool companies did not want to adopt flesh sensing.
Posted: 7:02 am on May 5th

tjtyrrellz tjtyrrellz writes: Table saws have been around for many years and truth is, a few fingers have been lopped off. Common sense is the key factor in keeping all one's fingers where they belong. I've had a table saw in my shop for at least three decades and I still have all my fingers intact and where they belong.
Reading the comments, it seems Mr. Osorio didn't have any common sense. So, the blade guard, and splitter had been removed from the saw and he was using it without a rip fence?????????? It was Mr. Osorio's lack of common sense that caused this accident. I feel sorry for him but, alas, no to the tune of 1.5 million dollars.
Posted: 6:59 am on May 5th

tobiasshadow tobiasshadow writes: VintageWookWkr and I have a similar slant. What WAS the jury thinking? However, my liberal attitude is that people on the jury were swayed by fancy lawyers who manipulated emotions. They weren't using their brains.. this is a result of a culture where people aren't being well educated and brains that have turned to mush by our current culture of entitlement, consumerism and anger at big companies.

Years ago I was told I would never serve on a jury because "I was too well educated." Horrors and there goes our justice system...
Posted: 6:59 am on May 5th

gmiller25 gmiller25 writes: I recommend you go to www.woodshopnews.com and read AJ Hammer's Blog "Over the Workbench" regarding this case. AJ lays out more information regarding the court documents from transcripts posted online.

Here's just a little from http://blog.woodshopnews.com/workbench/?p=238#more-238

"From transcripts posted online, we get a clearer picture of what happened, and as I (AJ Hammer) see it, 11 things clearly led to the accident:

1. He had never used the saw before, and had no experience or training on it.

2. He operated the table saw on the floor, kneeling as he used it.

3. His employer didn’t provide, and he wasn’t using, a guard.

4. Although he saw safety warnings on the saw, he testified that he didn’t bother to read them.

5. His employer did not provide, and he never read, the saw manual.

6. He was making a free-hand rip cut without a fence.

7. He was not using a push stick of any kind.

8. He was making a tapered cut in the board free-hand.

9. He also – for reasons not explained – had the blade tilted slightly.

10. He had the blade raised to its full height, although the board was only 3/4″ thick.

11. While cutting, the board jammed and vibrated, so with his hand in line with the blade he pushed the board as hard as he could, resulting in his hand going right into the blade."

Anyone who has ever watched the New Yankee Workshop - casually or serious fan - has even heard Norm say something to the effect... Before you use any power tool, read and understand the manufacturer's manual on how to use the tool.


Posted: 6:45 am on May 5th

jimstoffel jimstoffel writes: Common Sense is the key issue. The court, defense attorney and the jury screwed up. By allowing jury's award is kin to the following: Someone gets into a car, drives on a highway with a posted speed of 55, but decides to do 80 - and then gets into an accident breaking a bone or two. By the court/jury's action, the "injured driver" can sue the car company because the "technology is there" (via sensors and GPS - think OnStar here) to keep drivers from speeding and protected. Forget the fact that responsibility should be/is on the driver with regards to "driving safely" as well as properly handling said vehicle, if not abiding "the laws." Common Sense - A Terrible Thing To Waste!
Posted: 6:43 am on May 5th

SchreiberBike SchreiberBike writes: What we have here is one jury which was persuaded to do something stupid. The decision will probably be reversed/adjusted on appeal or out of court. I've got to guess that One World really handled this poorly in the court room or else many of the points made here would have been understood by the jury.

Keep in mind that there were 59,999 table saw injuries last year where there was no lawsuit and no reward. The sky is not falling.
Posted: 5:16 am on May 5th

loveww loveww writes: There are NO MORE DETAILS here!

Bottom line is the Plaintiff still gets the $1.5 million award.

Where is the NEWS on Ryobi's Motion for Directed Verdict, Motion to Set Aside or Modify The Verdict and God knows what other post trial Motions not to mention Appeal and New Trial?

Tell us something that is NEW; FWW! Or else stop stoking the flames of passion on this issue.
Posted: 5:12 am on May 5th

Ice2fire Ice2fire writes: Mr. Osorio should have been able to sue his employer, but workers' compensation laws prevent this. I am assuming the blade guard, splitter, and fence were removed by the employer and not by Mr. Osorio. Don't blame the courts blame the lawmakers who protect their campaign donors with bad laws.
Posted: 5:07 am on May 5th

buckyclown buckyclown writes: When I first heard about this suit, I thought it was about time. The idea that this technology was ignored by the major manufacturers really upset me. If everybody made saws with this as an option the price would go down, and after considering the costs and suffering of an accident, how could I buy anything less for my kids to use?

Now that I hear the details, the boss should lose his business. This guy had no clue what he was doing! If I were Gass I'd think twice about supporting this case. One of these days someone is going to be hurt using a SawStop without the guards and fence. When that case goes to court they will point to his comments on this case and argue that Gass implied that his device made the guard and fence an option. Then we'll see how smug he feels.

Oh, and tvbob, let's not make this a race issue. I know plenty of dumb white folks with missing digits (smart ones too!) The color of your skin has nothing to do with common sense.
Posted: 5:02 am on May 5th

gamalpha gamalpha writes: The jury system in our country is no good because we have a country of idiots. They sympathized with the guy who had the injury and they think that Ryobi has lots of money so they vote that Ryobi has to pay even though it's not Ryobi's fault.
Posted: 4:39 am on May 5th

Tom_Foolerly Tom_Foolerly writes: Step 1: Buy a table saw, bench top or not does not matter.

Step 2: Remove all safety equipment.

Step 3: Cut wood even if it binds up.

Step 4: Call ambulance for trip to hospital after injury.

Step 5: Call Lawyer.

Step 6: Retire for life on the jury settlement.

Sounds easy.

Buy the way, whatever happened to COMMON SENSE?
Posted: 4:20 am on May 5th

brunelle brunelle writes: One more guy who, had he been on the jury, likely would have reasoned that the wrong target was being sued.

While I'm pretty sure I've seen my father use a small table saw to cut a larger piece of plywood without a fence (going on 50 years back), you may be assured he had the skill to do it and kept his hands well away from the blade (and you may be further assured I'm not recommending it). I don't think anyone who'd never used a table saw before could be regarded 2 weeks later as qualified to deal with a board perhaps beyond the saw's capacity.

Regardless of Osorio's poor judgment, the employer has a responsibility here. But I can't see liability on Ryobi's part unless, through some design or manufacturing defect, that, say, the blade came loose in the middle of the cut.

Does anyone know what was up with the jury? I hope this is appealed successfully.

Posted: 4:19 am on May 5th

ksharpe69 ksharpe69 writes: If you have insufficient skills to be operating power tools or you choose to practice unsafe behaviors, you sometimes get what is coming to you. If "gmoney" feels he has to spend the extra cash to keep from hurting himself, then so be it. But he shouldn't assume that more skilled woodworkers such as myself will be injured. After 30 years woodworking I still have all of my digits so I don't feel the need for that technology in my shop. Practicing safe behaviors, fighting complacency and educating yourself on the PROPER use of power tools is key in my mind. But if you are not confident in your abilities or are a novice, maybe the technology would be helpful.
Posted: 3:36 am on May 5th

teryg teryg writes: Taken all together, no amount of safety guards or training can substitute for the implicit safety of an integrated fail-safe mechanism. Only technology that is built-into human operated devices like tablesaws can absolutely 100% prevent ravages to flesh & bone.

True, the price may be unattractive, but the fact remains that to err is human and the price of those errors (missing fingers / hand trauma)is many, many times higher than prevention. To say nothing of the pain, suffering and rehab. Or worse, living with amputated digits.

We willingly accept airbags in our cars & trucks, and smoke & CO detectors in our homes. We require sprinklers in offices and schools and many more such examples. Why fight a massive advance in safety using integrated technology when the old approaches generate 30,000 horror stories each year?

The testimonials from the many who oppose Saw Stop style technology (many with lifetimes of accident free saw use) are mildly interesting, but they fall far short of making a compelling case to deny an integrated, fail-safe approach to safety.


Posted: 3:19 am on May 5th

BigD1 BigD1 writes: Thanks for the update and details on the story of Carlos. Okay...lets see if I can get this right. I read the story of Carlos sometime ago, on how he injured himself on the table saw. To whom ever, please read with insight, and not far sided insight. Number 1...pour water into the boot at the top, turn end-for-end to pour water out. Number 2...if you spit into the wind, you will receive an unwanted shower, or if you p--- into the wind, you will receive an unwanted boot wash. Number 3...After all steps have been taken, you must push the gas pedal to move the car. Number 4...Hot coffee will burn you. Number 5...there must be beef in the hamburger, to call it a beef burger. Number 6...Don't squeeze the Charmin...is that before or after you use it. Number 7...if it's not broke, don't fix it. Number 8...you can't row a boat into a stiff wind, and expect to win. Number 9...don't p-ss off the Pope, he will not like you. Number 10...if you don't understand what I'm saying, don't turn on the table saw. P.S. Forty Three years in the wood shop, and I'm still accident free. Thank you Jesus!! Have a Great Day and a Great Career.
Posted: 2:29 am on May 5th

Bookbins Bookbins writes: The suit against Ryobi is absurd. It has nothing to do with safety or with protecting woodworkers-- it has everything to do with predatory lawyers finding deep pockets to rob. The guy was cutting hardwood flooring freehand, without a fence evidently. His stupidity plus that of some judge could eventually require us all to pay for the un-needed "flesh-sensing technology" on every type of power tool known. If saws need it, why not mandate it on routers, planers, jointers, drill presses and variable-speed drills? Pure craziness.
Posted: 11:33 pm on May 4th

10chuck 10chuck writes: I been a woodworker for 25 years and about 10 years ago I was cutting a small piece of wood and removed the safety features of my saw. I cut the tip of the middle finger when the wood got stuck and my first reaction was to reach for the wood. I never taught about suing the company that made the saw because I knew it was my fault for not following safety instructions. If you want a saw like the Sawstop then buy it for the added safety but if you don't then don't blame anyone but yourself. He should have sued the employer for not providing him with Sawstop not Ryobi.
Posted: 11:29 pm on May 4th

DamienF DamienF writes: I think that in the long run Saw Stop is heading for trouble as I see kickback as the deadly aspect of a table saw. With Saw Stop you can save your fingers but not your liver. Giving users a false sense of safety can lead to an increase of deadly accidents.
Posted: 11:27 pm on May 4th

fitchs fitchs writes: A colleague shared a great comment with me: "Idiots are very smart." I am quite certain this applies to Mr Osorio.
Posted: 10:33 pm on May 4th

Bowtie3 Bowtie3 writes: To whom it may concern at Saw Stop, I will never consider your product for purchase . If you think that lawyers and the courts are the answer to your overpriced products you are mistaken, safety training and the proper use of tools are far more important than a device that will fail sooner or latter. Thank You Fine Woodworking for this forum .Gary Hickenbottom PS I hope all woodworkers see this for what it is and stop this nonsense before it gets out of hand.
Posted: 9:52 pm on May 4th

gmoney gmoney writes: I still don't understand the objection to sawstop and or the price. I paid the price $ for the saw and love it. Don't want it, don't buy and we'll see how you feel when injured at it. Some people will go a lifetime without injury and some will not. All of those injured wish they had been using a sawstop. So STF up about the price and be as careful as possible so your're not one of the woodworkers without hand parts. I used to just state my point here about the nay sayers and now I'm just sick of it. But I still don't want anyone hurt so please continue to be careful!
Posted: 7:29 pm on May 4th

swmadden swmadden writes: wmc,

My comment was in no way intended to cast the Delta Unisaw in a bad light. In fact, I believe that the Delta Unisaw IS the best saw on the market and I would have purchased one if SawStop did not exist. For me, the SawStop was comparable to the Delta and the fact that the SawStop has blade braking technology was important enough to me that I went in that direction. Again, I am sorry if you felt that my comment put the Delta Unisaw in a bad light.

Steve
Posted: 7:23 pm on May 4th

KRiley KRiley writes: If you want to see where this could lead just take a look the what happened to the general aviation in the late 70s through the early 90s.
The only thing that saved GA was liability reform in 1994. If it wasn't for that bill NO GA aircraft would be being manufactured in the US.
Posted: 7:19 pm on May 4th

JohnRN49 JohnRN49 writes: Personal responsibility is no longer required so all one need do is act like a child and someone else pays! As for the jury, it's apparant they were comprised of the most ignorant among us.The laborer was 90% to blame and his employer was 10% to blam given his removal of the safety equipment.His language barrier could also have been an issue. Welcome to America; send us you tired your poor and your stupid and we'll let the hard working Americans foot the bill.
Posted: 7:03 pm on May 4th

pxp pxp writes: Unfortunately, another example of the bad side of attorneys and sympathetic juries. I attended a trial with a similar situation, where every safety feature had been removed or overridden on a piece of machinery (and there were several!), and it was still the manufacturers fault, according to the jury!! Poor thing, let's just give him some money.
Posted: 6:37 pm on May 4th

hbowern hbowern writes: Wow, and the group of jury people, who obviously do not run table saws, found that this guy was not at fault.

I guess everything manufactured now will be up for law suits as long as people like this are allowed to work.


Posted: 6:37 pm on May 4th

wmc wmc writes: Correction: I almost always rip WITHOUT a blade guard.

OK. Breath. Relax. Off to the wood shop.
Posted: 6:11 pm on May 4th

wmc wmc writes: I almost always rip with a blade guard, which gets in the way of my seeing what's going on with the blade. I occasionally rip without a splitter for a variety of calculated reasons. But who in their right minds rips without a RIP fence? And how on earth do you even do that?

Every time I push the "On" button on my table saw, or any other power tool, I take full responsibility for my actions. If I am injured by the negligence of someone else, they are responsible. If I am injured by my own negligence, ignorance, or just plain stupidity, it is my responsibility. Sheesh! I would have loved to have been sitting on that jury panel.

With regard to Saw Stop, it's a piece of perceived peace of mind, I suppose. Impressive technology, overpriced, not necessary. And I'm deeply resentful of Gass' attempts to force the market to accept his invention by way of regulation and litigation. Let the thing compete in the free market! I, for one, am thankful, that my trusty Delta UniSaw will outlive me.

Rant over.
Posted: 6:09 pm on May 4th

swmadden swmadden writes: I just ordered the SawStop industrial cabinet saw last week. For me it was a no-brainer; buy the Delta Unisaw which will cut your hand right off, or buy the SawStop for about $1,000.00 more that has an extra level of protection and will not cut your hand off (a very significant "extra level", in my opinion). My thinking was that it only takes one mistake to end my musical career, I want as much protection as I can possibly have. Regardless of comments made by the inventor, the point is that the invention works. This does not mean that I can relax my safety standards when using the SawStop, just that if the worst should happen, then there is one more "thing" working in my favor.

Having said all of that, I think this lawsuit is ridiculous. It's like suing a car manufacturer for not installing airbags in a particular model of car, if the buyer knew it didn't have airbags when purchasing the vehicle, then they are the only ones that should be held responsible for not having airbags should an accident occur. The accident may not be that persons fault, but suing the car manufacturer for not installing airbags, when that person knew of other models that did include airbags, is just ridiculous.
Posted: 6:01 pm on May 4th

KRiley KRiley writes: "I have been a profession woodworker for 30 years without an accident"

Famous last words.
What's that saying in the investment world?
"Past earnings are no indication of future performance".

How about the lack of accidents in the past is no protection from an accident today.

You could step into the shop tomorrow and lose a hand.
The truth is we have no idea when the seam will break.

I bought my Saw Stop because I had an accident and no, I did not even think of suing Jet the makers of my last saw.

Posted: 5:17 pm on May 4th

nailhead49 nailhead49 writes: This is what our country has come to, "it's not my fault" I hear this all the time now. This guy is a moron, come on, stupid is stupid!!
Posted: 4:51 pm on May 4th

davehenry davehenry writes: What a story of unmet responsibilities! Clearly the jury was persuaded to be sympathetic to Osorio (good plaintiff attorney!), and then was permitted to tap the deepest pockets around, probably without really understanding the traditional risks of table saws and power tools in general.

Regarding unmet responsibilities, Osario certainly wasn't listening very well when use of the table saw was explained: He broke at least three obvious safety rules. The article doesn't say anything about his boss's responsibility, i.e. having put a new guy on a table saw and then apparently not checking later to see what he was doing. Removal of safety devices in a woodworking shop strikes me as a big and obvious no-no that should have been caught.

Finally, there is Ryobi. I think that they got hit for a lot more than they should have been in this case but, as representatives of the woodworking machinery industry, I don't think they should have escaped totally. Why? Because they, and most power tool manufacturers (SawStop an exception!), have done very little to improve the fundamental safety of standard small-shop tools, with the table saw being Exhibit A. This is the 21st Century, yet basic designs of saws, joiners, routers, etc haven't changed for hundreds of years. Tool development has led to improved materials and less expensive products (not bad things!), but little basic change that would make the tools harder, or impossible, to dangerously abuse. Surely, there must be novel, contemporary ways to shape wood that don't leave you vulnerable to accidentally removing digits or limbs! As an avid woodworker of many years I know how to be careful with the machines I've got, but why should I or, especially, the new woodworker have to fear the tools we use? It's time for imagination and true innovation in the woodworking machinery world! Perhaps the Osorio case is a wake-up call.
Posted: 4:07 pm on May 4th

Arleymon Arleymon writes: And why didn't Osorio's boss get sued for giving him a job he was never trained upon or qualified to do? It disgusts me greatly to see how personal accountability has vanished from the majority of people's ethics. And speaking of ethics, how can any attorney take on a case such as this knowing full well that it was not the equipment's fault?

Following then same logic as the attorney's argument that the saw should have been equipped, why are there lawsuits against car manufacturers for installing disc brakes in front and drum brakes in back when disc brakes are superior, or more currently what about those cars equipped with sensing devices that tell you when you are near a car in your blind sight. Isn't that superior to turning your head while driving? Where are the suits along these lines?

Lastly, I agree with the others who have commented about the stupid juries who award such decisions and the judges who award the penalties. I just hope Ryobi appeals this decision all the way until they find people who have some sense about them!

I agree with Bill2- no way would I ever buy a saw made bu Gass. I have been a profession woodworker for 30 years without an accident using a saw with out Gass's technology. His attitude about being vindicated is condescending and arrogant, and I won't support him with a purchase of his equipment.
Posted: 4:07 pm on May 4th

Billll Billll writes: sdunmire asks:

"How many of you could honestly say you never did anything that was "against the rules" in favor of time or convenience?"

Me, that's who, and I have the re-modeled right thumb to prove it. But I didn't dream of suing anybody for my own stupid mistake.

Just because some safety features are good, doesn't mean that any and all are. Why should ALL of us pay for the stupidity of idiots who can't or won't follow simple directiions?

This case is particularly unfair, because it presupposes that all new saws sold could, and should have a device the manufacturer was incapable of manufacturing in sufficient quantity to equip all new saws from the date their first device rolled off the production line. Is the world supposed to stop while they make enough for all new saws?

Are double bladed axes next? Chain saws? Butcher knives?

This jury was composed of idiots. This kind of verdict costs us ALL money.
Posted: 3:55 pm on May 4th

thecabinetmaker thecabinetmaker writes: This is a sad situation. Yes, you can always add devices that make things safer to the point they are unusable and so expensive none of us can afford them. A stupid person got hurt when he broke the rules (disabled the safety devices) and used a device in a way it was never intended (ripped a board with out the rip fence). The ambulance chaser got his golden ring, perhaps not enough to retire on, maybe he will have to find another stupid person that can act in an irresponsible manner and find someone else to blame. Oh yes, and another stupid jury.
Posted: 3:37 pm on May 4th

sdunmire sdunmire writes: How many of you could honestly say you never did anything that was "against the rules" in favor of time or convenience? Never turned the garbage disposal on or off with wet hands or one hand on the faucet? Well, a more expensive GFI might've saved your life. Think no one ever sued and won, even though personal accountability should've been considered?

Products are safer than they ever have been, thanks to the courts. Lawn mowers cut off fewer fingers due to better blade guards, paper shredders strangle fewer necktie-wearing idiots, fewer children of lazy (not supervising their kids) parents die in locked car trunks, fewer mattresses burst into flames when their owners smoke in bed--the list truly goes ON and ON.

The point is--every one of these products was implemented under threat of litigation and cost the company money that was passed along to the consumer in the form of higher prices.

But ultimately, many of the above arguments prove the point. Saying he could've prevented the accident by putting the guard on is to admit that at least SOME safety features are a good and necessary evil and the cost that was added by their presence is reasonable based on their ability to effectively prevent injury when used correctly. So go ahead and state your opinion, but I'm guessing that the jury--after being presented with expert opinions from both sides of the case--is more likely to make the right choice than a bunch of us spouting uninformed opinions based solely on our personal experiences.


By the way, it is extraordinarily difficult to disable the safety feature from a SawStop saw.

(And, no--I don't work for or otherwise benefit from SawStop. But I do like my SawStop Cabinet Saw...)
Posted: 3:24 pm on May 4th

tvbob tvbob writes: I agree with some of the comments epecially the one about NOT buying one of his Saw stops I would Never buy one!! because when we forget to respect our tools, then we should wear protective gloves in the kitchen when cutting meat,If he was DUMB ENOUGH to rip a board without a fence I would be checking to see if he spoke english
Posted: 3:21 pm on May 4th

Bill2 Bill2 writes: Gotta love Stephen Gass's attitude "Ifeel vindicated"
It would be a cold day in h--- before I bought anything this guy makes!!!
Another case of a total idiott doing a totally stupid thing & an ambulance chaser seizing the moment and snowing a jury.
Guess what just happened to tool costs.
What! nobody is making saws anymore !!
Another McDonald's fiasco.
Posted: 3:07 pm on May 4th

KRiley KRiley writes: donbean46,
Osorio did everything wrong when using that saw and I agree he doesn't deserve anywhere near the amount awarded. I hope it is drastically reduced on appeal as was the McDonald's hot coffee suit was. .

I do want to make a comment regarding disabling the Saw Stop system.
I have a Saw Stop and it takes several steps to disable the system. You have to turn a key, that can be removed, then turn on the power and wait until the green light comes on. Then an only then can you turn the saw motor on. The system is off for only the time saw is running. Once you turn it off it resets to safe. All the boss would have to do is take the override key. If you try to disable or defeat the system any other way the saw just will not start. You can't run the saw unless the cartridge is in place so if you remove it it's a no go. There are interlock switches on the doors so it won't start if a door is open. It won't start if you are touching the blade.
The cartridge is small and self contained. It can be adapted to saw as small as a bench top.
Whether that ever happens is another story.

Posted: 2:49 pm on May 4th

dustvein dustvein writes: i'm sure lawers will be reveiwing injuries from the past span which will cause an accelirated effect.
Posted: 2:40 pm on May 4th

shotogo shotogo writes: If the details above are true and accurate this is really a sad day for the US court system. Does personal responsibility mean nothing anymore. From the sound of it you could probably get that jury to give you a million dollars if you put a router on top of your head and plunged it in. (The preceding statement is in no way me telling you that doing so is a good idea. I will not be held liable if you attempt to make a dovetail joint in your skull)....
Posted: 2:23 pm on May 4th

CreatingSawdust CreatingSawdust writes: This article sounds very familiar...

Are Benchtop Saws Gone? - http://blogs.popularwoodworking.com/editorsblog/Are+Benchtop+Saws+Gone.aspx

Court Documents: Osorio Wasn't Using the Guard or Rip Fence - http://blogs.popularwoodworking.com/editorsblog/Court+Documents+Osorio+Wasnt+Using+The+Guard+Or+Rip+Fence.aspx

A Response From Ryobi Technologies, Inc. - http://blogs.popularwoodworking.com/editorsblog/A+Response+From+Ryobi+Technologies+Inc.aspx

Actual Table Saws in Use: A Numbers Game - http://blogs.popularwoodworking.com/editorsblog/Actual+Table+Saws+In+Use+A+Numbers+Game.aspx

SawStop Safety System Saga Steams Forward - http://blogs.popularwoodworking.com/editorsblog/SawStop+Safety+System+Saga+Steams+Forward.aspx
Posted: 2:00 pm on May 4th

schmidtwood schmidtwood writes: I can't agree more with donbean46's comments. We as a society complain about how costs of everything increase and then turnaround and award someone an outrageous amount of money for lacking common sense. Why not now sue PT Hardwood for not explaining to Osario that the shiny round object in the center may be dangerous when it spins really really fast.

It's these type of lawsuits that force manufacturers to put ideotic safety stickers on every square inch of a tool.

Oh by the way, thankfully there is a sticker at the top of my step ladder that tells me that I can fall and hurt myself. If I do fall, I expect $3 million dollars because there should be technology out there that senses the abrupt weight transfer which would deploy an air mattress to break my fall.
Posted: 1:02 pm on May 4th

VintageWoodWkr VintageWoodWkr writes: This is another example of how the Attorneys and the liberal attitude of everybody owes me something and nothing is my fault are ruining this country. How can anybody in their right mind award someone money that had removed the safety equipment and then justify it just because the technology exists to prevent it. Every injury in a car accident is now going to be the auto manufactures fault since the technology exists to prevent the injury, never mind what it costs. I wonder what that inexpensive Ryobi saw would cost with the Saw Stop system installed? I guess we can all get ready to once again pay more for our products thanks to our wonderful court system. Isn't it about time people start accepting responsibility for their own actions.
Posted: 12:58 pm on May 4th

donbean46 donbean46 writes: SO, he admits that the blade guard and the splitter and the fence were removed, hmmm, whose to say he wouldn't have disabled the "flesh sensing technology" also. If you don't use your common sense and the guards that are there for a reason then you take on the risk of getting injured. And whats with the jury saying he was 35% responsible and then giving him six times what he asked for. I'm so disgusted with the court system, I don't believe that its being used as it was originally intended. They've opened up a can of worms with this one and we the woodworkers are going to pay for it with higher priced tools and less selection.
Posted: 12:26 am on May 4th

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