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Tool Addicts

Defense Outgunned in Osorio Tablesaw Lawsuit

comments (44) July 23rd, 2010 in blogs

patrick_mccombe Patrick McCombe, contributor
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Transcripts are Fun!Yes, I read every single one of those pages. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Transcripts are Fun!
Yes, I read every single one of those pages.

Photo: Ed Pirnik

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Isn't it a Matter of Common Sense?
You may recall my first post on the Carlos Osorio tablesaw lawsuit or my most recent post describing how I think the plaintiff’s attorneys won their case. At the risk of beating a dead horse, I’m now going to talk about the defense team’s strategy and a number of interesting tidbits I discovered in the second half of the nine-day trial transcript.
The defense team representing power tool maker Ryobi and its parent company, One World Technologies, presented its case in three points: First, without using a guard or even a rip fence, Osorio was operating the saw in an unsafe manner and the saw maker couldn’t possibly anticipate his dangerous methods. Second, SawStop technology was unproven and perhaps unreliable in a job-site environment where bad weather and rough-and-tumble treatment are commonplace. Finally, adding flesh-sensing, blade-braking technology would make benchtop saws prohibitively large, heavy, and expensive.

More on the Controversial Tablesaw Lawsuit
We've been covering this story for a few months, so if you're in search of a little background information on the Osorio suit, read away:

Man Wins Big Money in Tablesaw Lawsuit
More Details on the Carlos Osorio Tablesaw Lawsuit
How to Win $1.5 Million: Lessons from the Tablesaw Lawsuit

Using a tablesaw without a guard or rip fence would seem ridiculous to most tablesaw users. So it’s logical the defense team would argue that Osorio “knowingly, voluntarily and unreasonably used a product he knew to be defective and dangerous, and as a result was injured.” But the judge advised in his jury instructions that for this to be true, the plaintiff (Osorio) must have known of the saw’s danger when the safety features were removed, but used the product anyway.

It wasn’t tough for the plaintiff to beat this argument as Osorio freely admitted he was unfamiliar with tablesaws and power tools generally and he had seen his co-workers use the saw without a guard and without a fence many times before. The plaintiff also showed Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that discuss problems with conventional (all-in-one) tablesaw guards like the one fitted to the Ryobi BTS 15. Interestingly, this is the same guard the power tool industry defended in a previous CPSC investigation. The same report cited figures indicating that this style of guard is removed and never reinstalled by more than 70 percent of users. I’d call this strike one.
In my opinion, the second point, which argued that SawStop wasn’t ready for the rigors of the job site, was the defense’s best hope, but this argument was also easily refuted. Expert witnesses described the many tests that indicated SawStop technology was robust. They had test data from SawStop and the CPSC and video clips of minimally injured hot dogs to reinforce the point. (SawStop often demonstrates its flesh-sensing, blade braking technology using hot dogs as stand-ins for fingers.) They also reminded the jury that SawStop saws have now been in service for several years and have saved hundreds of fingers from amputation.

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posted in: blogs

Comments (44)

MacGarnett MacGarnett writes: Nice
Posted: 3:29 am on June 26th

Jamesjacob Jamesjacob writes: thanks for sharing this
Posted: 11:47 am on May 26th

user-622261 user-622261 writes: Mama always said " you can't fix stupid" but I suppose a jury can pay them.
Posted: 8:37 pm on October 6th

user-622261 user-622261 writes: Mama always said " you can't fix stupid" but I suppose a jury can pay them.
Posted: 8:36 pm on October 6th

sawzall316 sawzall316 writes: The more one looks into the particulars, it is apparent that the TS manufacturers colluded to stall and or prevent SS-tech implementation. Many of the arguments presented in the Osario case were illogical and easily “torn apart”. The biggest mistake the TS manufacturers made was and is their unified front in not even providing the SS-tech as an option on their TS products. If they had just provided customers with the choice of this value added accessory early on, their legal liability would have been next to nothing, and we may not be where we are today...intrusive government threatening action. That is to say, the market would have ironed things out. Also, factor in that some manufacturers are willing to explore a work around Glass’s well covered patents speaks volumes to what their true motives are. What most fail to understand, and it must be added into the mix, is the ten year plus period that the TS manufacturers had to work out any and all issues with Mr. Glass; that fact that they squandered the time implies willful negligence, and or dare we say racketeering. This is the bottom line. TS manufacturers should be glad some over eager attorney general nutcase has not gone after them under the “RICO laws.”
Posted: 2:34 pm on March 27th

415 415 writes: This is excellent news. The technology to make saws safer exists and the trade-offs are trivial compared to the many serious injuries that happen each year.

From the description in the story, it sounds like the operator didn't properly operate the saw. Guess what? Accidents happen precisely for that reason.

If everyone drove the appropriate speed for the the conditions and followed all traffic laws, there would be very, very few car accidents. Is that any reason not to mandate ABS, air bags, etc?

Posted: 7:45 pm on November 2nd

grainy_lady grainy_lady writes: I like my fingers and so use my head when operating any machinery, table saws included. Just as one should "measure twice, cut once", saw operators should double check everything prior to turning on the saw to make the cut. And permanently removing or disabling safety equipment is just plain stupid, regardless of the reason. Our society has become so obsessed with increased productivity that people try to do things faster, leading to short-cuts and accidents.

I guess my attitudes were solidified back in high school when a student in another woodworking class injured his hand; when we went in the blood was still all over the saw. It had a lasting impression, although at great cost to that poor kid.
Posted: 10:03 am on June 19th

ruby50 ruby50 writes: If McDonalds is covered by writing on their coffee cups "DANGER HOT", why wouldn't the saw maker be covered by putting a label in front of the blade that says "DON'T STICK YOUR FINGERS IN HERE, STUPID"
Ed Minch
Posted: 5:55 am on June 18th

apjesq apjesq writes: The first time I saw the saw-stop technology a few years ago I knew that this law suit was inevitable. Generally tort law such as this requires that product manufacturer's apply a standard of care that incorporates the safest design technology into their products. We as consumers want to be provided with the safest products possible and that is a public policy that I certainly endorse. All table saws should be required to have saw stop technology built into them and the companies manufacturing table saws know that but, don't want to pay the extra cost to lease the technology from saw stop. Why this went to trial is because the product manufacturer's don't want to pay saw-stop, not Osario. This case will set a precedence now for all those injured since the technology became available and we will soon have safer table saws and more digits. Probably not as many digits as Plaintiff's attorney though.

AJ Attorney and Woodworker. San Diego
Posted: 6:38 pm on June 17th

sscaddie03 sscaddie03 writes: Remember this lawsuit when you work 5 ways from Sunday to avoid your next call to Jury Duty! When thinking and rational people are not willing to sit on a jury, all that is left are irrational people with an ax to grind against big corporations. Weather they were recently laid off, or listen to too much talk radio spewing rhetoric about how big companies are evil. Lawsuits like this won't stop until we stop them.
Posted: 10:47 pm on February 10th

alcoppola alcoppola writes: Hmmmmmm.
I have a knife that I use to cut vegetables. I recently cut my finger, maybe I'll sue the manufacturer because he sold me a sharp knife.
My wife recently burned her finger while ironing my shirts, the manufacturer had no right making the iron so hot!
My grandson caught his finger in a car door. Maybe I'll sue Ford for not building the car so the doors cannot close.
My nephew was lifting weights at a gym and dropped one on his foot. The manufacturer should have made the weights out of Nerf or foam rubber!
Posted: 3:53 pm on February 9th

Lucky43 Lucky43 writes: It all boils down to whether we want to pay extra for the privilege of saving our body parts or if we keep trying to make excuses by blaming safe practices'.
No one wanted to use seatbelts in our vehicles either. Is the loss of a finger worth a replacement sawblade and a new blade stop.
Ask someone who has lost a hand or finger.
Without a mandate to incorporate these safety features into every saw all that will happen is to make some people continue to suffer the consequences, and more lawyers richer.
Posted: 3:34 pm on February 9th

Eldorado fine cabinets Eldorado fine cabinets writes: Well, part of this is simple.
As a small shop owner, any employee has this simple rule explained to him before he starts work.

If you bypass ANY safety equipment you are unemployed, right then, right there, no delay, no second chances, no exceptions. Period.

This lawsuit was a complete crock. It is just another example of jury's playing wheel of fortune with "evil big company" money

Ohhh - that poor man, llet's give him Money... Ryobi can afford it.

This is why more and more of our jobs are getting offshored.
Posted: 10:57 am on February 9th

womanwoodworker womanwoodworker writes: I was trained on a delta unisaw. I always use a splitter and guard when ripping and a biesemyer cross cut sled when cross cutting or some type of cut off sled. The only operations one should do without either of these is a dado or rabbit operation when the wood covers the blade. So I agree that personal responsibility and correct use is important. I bought my saw just before the stop saw technology came out.

However it baffles me that anyone would take the stand that the makers of the stop saw were the greedy ones and not the makers of the conventional saws. If I remember when the technology first came out it was said it would raise the price by $500. I doubt it would be this much now but again we are all speculating. One trip to the emergency room costs at least $800 with insurance and thousands without. One second of inattention can take your fingers or hand, and I bet if you ask any injured woodworker if they would pay $500 to get their hand or fingers back they would gladly pay.

I cut some wood once on a bench top saw and thought at the time that these were the most dangerous of machines. I see guys all the time on job sites using them on the ground or just sitting on saw horses without any guard or splitter. They should at least be bolted to a table top. I agree that Fesstools track saw system is more appropriate for flooring and other worksite jobs.

Why aren't any of you bothered that the saw manufacturer's "colluded" to shut out the stop saw technology when it came out. As I recall Stop Saw did not want to get into the manufacturing business.

I recently sold my conventional woodshop except for my fesstools because of a planned move across the country. When I get resettled I will be buying a stopsaw for my cabinet saw. I loved my unisaw but hate that they would not incorporate the stop saw technology. BTW they just sold out to a Taiwanese company.

I joined a local woodworkers group for a couple of years where I was the only woman and not one guy used their guard or splitter and they all bragged about it. Untill one day a guy came in without 4 fingers.

Posted: 9:57 am on February 9th

DavesWorkshop DavesWorkshop writes: I mangled my thumb with a hammer. Where's the mandatory hammer stop? I ran a drill bit into my finger, where's the mandatory drill stop? I fell off the ladder, where the mandatory safety belt? But seriously, power tools are inherently dangerous. In an employer/employee situation, the employer has a duty to train and certify its employee. If it fails to do so then rightly go after the employer. At some point, you have to allow people to be responsible for their own actions. Where I could injure someone else with my actions, require training and certification (like a drivers license, pilot license, electricians license, etc.) But I could poke my eye out with a toothbrush - or smash my thumb with a hammer.
Posted: 9:20 am on February 9th

Engineer538 Engineer538 writes: I'm in favour of any technology would reduce the risk of injury. Although I am an experienced table saw user who has not suffered a table saw injury, I would regret not having SawStop technology on my saw if I were severely injured -regardless of whether I was negligent or not; or whether I was using a saw in an occupational setting or at home.

I would prefer to see efforts focused on making this technology more affordable for everyone, rather than developing arguments against widespread use of it, or debating the details of the legal case.

Posted: 4:59 am on February 9th

goodguy goodguy writes: The saw-stop system is one of several viable safety devices. It is a "last-chance" device which can prevent tragedy when all other devices, including common-sense and caution, fail. That makes it especially valuable if you run a professional shop with inexperienced employees and must pay for insurance.

However, the lawyer that owns the patent wants too much for it in licensing fees, which naturally makes other manufacturers reluctant to use it. If you investigate as I have, you will discover that his well-connected friends have created a network of affiliated shadow companies who's ultimate purpose is to force congress to enact laws that mandate the use of his patent. This is not altruistic consumer-advocacy. This is an attempt to force an entire industry to over-pay for a simple safety device. Although the device works in dramatic video demonstrations, the method in which is it being marketed amounts to legal extortion.

Even if you are too busy to investigate Gass and his liaisons, or simply don't care about their entangled corporate veils, you can easily see at the Saw-Stop website how they openly ask for testimonials for Saw-Stop products and simultaneously provides links to injury attorneys. Even if his motives were altruistic, it is criminally heartless to profit from other's misfortune so brazenly.

This is not at all like mandating seat-belts, since almost every American drives cars and only a small percentage of the populace operates table-saws. There is another crucial difference too. The effort to mandate seat belts was unprofitable for the people who enacted it and worked to get that passed. The advocates that made that happen did not own patents on seat belts.

Seat-belts and air bags are not "ancillary" safety devices, since we operate cars in a public environment, and so are often exposed to the incompetence of others. We cannot enact laws against personal ineptitude in private.

We should not object to the Saw-Stop device or its proper use. However, we should not imagine it is perfect. After all, it has a defeat-switch so that the saw will operate in moist wood. As such, the inventor / patent owner recognizes it has limitations and is no substitute for other safety measures, especially under certain conditions.

If Gass was truly concerned about consumer safety, he would license the product for free, or at least at a reasonable price. He could still manufacture the devices to fit all popular brands so that consumers would have a choice to purchase it as an option, thereby insuring a fair profitable business.

Inventors should be paid for their inventions, especially when that invention can be the difference between a fun hobby and a tragic weekend. Unless the device is used in an occupational environment, it is an ancillary elective device. No elective product like an ancillary safety-device should be forced upon a industry that makes machines for hobbyists or that is used by individuals at their own risk.

The solution to this debate is simple: Allow Gass & Co. to continue marketing the Saw-Stop device in his own company's saws, and legally force him to license the devices to other manufacturers at a reasonable profit, instead of the exorbitant fees he wants. If congress was truly concerned about anything (other than keeping their jobs) then they can enact a law requiring large professional shops to use Saw-Stop devices just as they now enforce occupational safety rules for all other employers. However, it is an assault on individual freedoms to even attempt mandating a product regarding tools for personal use. Further, the marketing method Gass & Associates is using is underhanded.

There is a clear difference between honest profit and profiteering. There is also great danger to liberty when legal-system insiders are allowed to manipulate law for their personal gain.

Many will disagree with some of my statements. Some of those contrary opinions will be honest disagreements based on personal experience, and I respect those people and their opinions. But some of them will be from the corporate moles who inhabit woodworking forums. You need only read the wording at this and other websites to see how a public "talking-point" memo has infected the dialogue, both for and against Saw-Stop. There is an element of intrigue here that makes it fun to investigate, if you are a Sherlock Holmes fan. Deny or accept though, the modern phenomenon of infiltrating internet forums for political influence and marketing is real. If woodworkers, who are mostly a savvy and intelligent group, are not wary and stalwart, their beloved avocation could be impacted by that phenomenon against their will. If that proves successful, the implications for other industries and liberties will be compromised.
Posted: 3:55 pm on November 14th

FishMontana FishMontana writes: Since I am a patent attorney, I thought I would poke around a little. I would not say that Mr. Gass's patent is air tight. He spent 6 years trying to get the first patent allowed (about twice the average). There is some fertile ground here for Bosch to design a work around.

Regardless, both the patent system and the legal system are doing their jobs -- encouraging innovation and changing the nexus of business decisions to include consideration of the safety of the consumer. Bosch's efforts to design a stop technology (likely as a response to this lawsuit) can only help the consumer eventually. It will be nice to see what other manufacturers come up with over the next 10 years until Gass's patent expires.
Posted: 12:55 pm on October 15th

Robert_44 Robert_44 writes: I am retired industrial arts teacher and have used the sawstop for a number of years and have had no problems with it, but the teacher who succeeded me has had it go off a number of times and it becomes expensive at 100 dollars a shot plus the saw blade, so it is not perfect.
Will this case have an impact on the saws used in Canada.
Posted: 6:08 pm on September 11th

ashwell ashwell writes: In New Zealand we have a system of accident compensation, a government scheme funded by industry levies. Compensation is decided by a Commission and paid, sometimes as a lump sum and sometimes as an ongoing benefit to the injured person. Payment would be designed to cover medical costs and ongoing costs to the individual as a result of the accident. This system was designed to get rid of litigation - in other words you cannot sue in the event of an accident. In the Osorio case the employer would have to take responsibility for failing to have appropriate equipment, adequate training and effective supervision and would undoubtedly be fined heavily by the Accident Compensation Commission.

As a Ryobi saw owner I was fortunate enough to use a Sawstop saw on a recent woodworking machinery safety course and I was highly impressed by the technology and by the quality of the saw itself. It's undoubtedly a superior product, but we can't all afford superior products, and I still want to pursue my hobby, so I wouldn't want to see this technology forced on all saw makers.

Incidentally, on the saw I used, the Sawstop device could be switched off - I was told this allowed wet wood to be cut without activating the device. In the event that someone loses a finger because they have isolated this safety device does the Sawstop manufacturer get sued? Also, I recently heard of someone losing digits to a chop saw - can a Sawstop be fitted to these saws?

Rex Ashwell
Posted: 1:23 am on September 2nd

OttoBischel OttoBischel writes: At 81 years i am sick and tired being told how run my life by someone with no experience.I am opposed to any mandatory SawStop. If they to make it an accessory fine but not mandatory.
In high school shop i had a teacher missing two fingers on his left hand and i think that impressed me most and very early.I am still active at woodworking and minding my own business.
I find it ironic the Dr. from Miss. who is in favor of it and his profession has one of the highest rates of accidents or failure. I guess thats why they call it a

Posted: 1:47 am on August 31st

WoodworkerRick WoodworkerRick writes: As a 30+ year insurance company safety consultant, in my experience, the real culprit is little discussed in this ongoing debate. Davcefai and others who discuss the supervisor above, are on the right track.

In long-established safety practice, and in fact federal law (OSHA), it is the employer, PT Hardwood Floor Service, who is most at fault, and in my book, entirely at fault in this case.

For starters, who provided the saw upon which Mr. Osorio was injured? Who determined Mr. Osorio's competence to operate a dangerous machine? Who was responsible for determining what training Mr. Osorio needed and delivered it to him? Who was responsible for ensuring Mr. Osorio had assimilated the training adequately to avoid injury? Whose duty is it to ensure required guarding and safeguards are in place, operating properly and adjusted properly? Who is responsible for providing alternate safeguards for employees, if factory-provided safeguards cannot be used for certain operations? Finally, who is responsible for supervising their employees, observing their work, and ensuring proper procedures, equipment, and safeguards are being used?

One answer: The employer. In this case PT Hardwood Floor Service. By definition, their fulfillment of these moral and legal obligations to their employee was less than adequate.

Why weren't they sued along with One World Technologies? Good question, and the answer is a commentary on todays legal scene. Workers compensation coverage should have, as a "sole and exclusive" remedy been the entire mechanism for Mr. Osorio's accident and the after-effects. When originally enacted, workers compensation coverage provided this no-fault coverage so workers, no matter what, would be compensated for injuries suffered on the job. The trade-off is that WC legislation protects employers from lawsuit by the injured employee.

However, clever lawyers, ever on the alert for big cash, and aided by stupid juries, have found ways to bypass the "sole and exclusive" remedy provisions of WC law, while retaining the protective provisions of WC for employers. This is quite clever, as without the protective provisions, the lawyers would have to pursue the most culpable party--the employer. And let's face it, One World Technologies is a far more lucrative target to exploit than little old PT Hardwood Flooring. Bigger payday for the lawyers.

I think Sawstop's innovations are remarkable. I intend to purchase one in the near future. When I encounter a client who has implemented them into their production operations, the client is invariably a superior insurance risk, and a well-above-average woodworking operation. Having said that, though, thousands of workers come home without injury every day, after spending their shifts working with old-fashioned table saws, plus tools and equipment and far more dangerous than the common table saw.

The difference is invariably the employer.

Posted: 10:42 pm on August 26th

tbw tbw writes: As and OSHA safety consultant I often encourage employers to strike the term "common sense" from their vocabulary. I put it to them this way:

"Common Sense" = "How come you don't know what I know?".

Relying on common sense is a HUGE assumption. If you grew up on a farm, you know not to walk behind the mule - common sense among those that grow up on a farm. If you grew up in the city this knowledge may not be part of your "common sense".

In our increasingly diverse workforce common sense is not so common.

Posted: 11:27 am on August 18th

robertzeh robertzeh writes: It is too bad that the plaintiff’s attorney wasn't corrected on the anti-lock brake and airbags comment. If you read the wikipedia article on anti-lock brakes you'll see that risk compensation is a real issue with anti-lock brakes.

Posted: 10:35 am on August 11th

robertzeh robertzeh writes: It is sad that the plaintiff’s attorney was able to make that anti-lock brake comment about risk compensation without being rebutted. There is a section in the wikipedia anti-lock brake system on risk compensation, with some reasonable proof that people really do drive more recklessly because of anti-lock brakes.

Posted: 9:59 pm on August 10th

cahudson42 cahudson42 writes: Perhaps its been mentioned, but a case could have been made that the BTS-15 was the wrong tool for the job to begin with.

Something like the $160 (Amazon) Skil 3600-02 120-Volt Flooring Saw should have been used by the flooring contractor.

Or perhaps a more typical tracksaw - like the TS-55 and MFT that was used by Tom Silva in a recent 'This Old House' series. (Tom was shown using a TS-55 when installing stairs).

While I personally still do believe that Ryobi and the rest of the table saw manufactureres are indeed negligent by not providing 'best engineering practice' (Sawstop technology) in their products, I also believe that Osorio's employer should have been held largly responsible for the accident.
Posted: 3:51 am on August 4th

Glenn Bradley Glenn Bradley writes: Once again I am dismayed that a jury of people who could find the courtroom more than one day in a row were not smart enough to see a get rich lawsuit for the plaintiff when they saw one. The cost of this decision to all consumers will be felt without many realizing the actual cause. My faith in humanity wanes.
Posted: 6:58 pm on July 30th

Dock16 Dock16 writes: I think I'm going to buy a high-powered sports car and disconect the brakes so when I have an accident I can sue the manufacturer
Posted: 1:27 pm on July 28th

Half Half writes: A few points. Most woodworkers agree on accepting personal responsibility (at least I strongly do), and everyone believes in common sense. Patick ended his article with a statement that he understands how a jury could find for the plaintiff in this case. When a jury decides, it is the embodiment of common sense whether we think this case was wrongly decided or not.

There a couple of competing systems that urge machinery manufacturers to make machines safer: government regulation and the tort system, each of which plays a role and has its drawbacks. This court case was one private party versus another. If you don't like this system, ask yourself if you would prefer government (or maybe insurance companies) to have a larger role.

The inventor of the SawStop is also, himself, a patent lawyer. (the comments above the case are my amateur view, I am really a practising patent lawyer). I looked into trying to design around his patents a year or two ago. It will not be a trivial job. He did a very nice job getting layers of protection.
Posted: 5:30 pm on July 27th

ralph54 ralph54 writes: The only comment I read that I agree with is this: I got hurt so its the manufacturer's fault, not mine.
You did something stupid and your injury is the result; your fault, your actions, accept them. Don't look to blame and pass the responsibilty for your actions on to someone else.
I've seen people fly airplanes, it doesn't mean I can fly one. I've seen other people operate the saw this way, so I can do the same thing. I can not fathom the legal reasoning on this case.
I still can not understand how the manufacturer is in any way responsible, even remotely, for what happened. It reminds of the McDonalds case with the idiot and the hot coffee between the legs. Again not my fault, McDonalds should have warned me.

Posted: 3:12 pm on July 27th

choco choco writes: Does anyone think that the manufacturer using the saw is going to lose this money. Everyone that buys a saw will pay for the mistake made by these people.
Posted: 8:20 pm on July 26th

cowtown cowtown writes: Sometimes the claims of liability getting to court are so frivolous and bizarre that the perspective of the insurance co is that "this will never clear stage one" and they ignore it....

Somewhere in the back of my mind, that once this suit gets settled (hey why did they just not settle the claim in the early stages...too late now it's gone viral!)

I'm thinkin that when it is settled, there will be a larger countersuit against the plaintiffs, I'm thinkin that there are way more people more culpable at earlier stages than the saw manufacturer! And some of the stuff I've read implies negligence by the saw manufacturer to be the main cause of the accident, but what of supervisory culpability, employers responsibility, workers comp and OHSA inspections or lack of So I'm not sure that what I read is anywhere near the truth, and the truth will out.

Yep some folks were seemingly asleep at the wheel to let this bizarre claim get to this stage....

It ain't gonna be over til the fat lady sings...


Posted: 11:51 pm on July 25th

RobMcCleave RobMcCleave writes: To experienced woodworkers, what Mr. Osorio himself did, and what his employer did not do, strike us intuitively as the two most obvious causes of the injuries. We don't see that happening to someone with our training and experience.

However, tools get purchased and used by a wide variety of people, and every time a purchase happens, a manufacturer profits.

The changes that have made our own tools safer have been driven by three forces: manufacturer's benevolent conscience, consumer demand and threat of product liability lawsuits. How important do you think each is?

The development of countless safety features that now protect our eyes, ears, fingers, lungs and lives did not just happen. While we woodworkers (me too) groan at aspects of what happened in this one case, the next generation will have safer saws. Fewer woodworkers, novice through expert, will get debilitating injuries and conditions.

Finally, it is not a satisfactory explanation that some people speculate or conclude that Ryobi's attorneys were somehow inferior to Osorio's. Far more plausible is that Ryobi simply had the weaker arguments. Indeed, Patrick's piece demonstrates just how weak they were, with all of Ryobi's points easily paried.

Posted: 2:23 pm on July 25th

jlanc57 jlanc57 writes: Yikes! Sorry about the triple-post. Your blog is apparently not Chrome-friendly.

Posted: 11:03 pm on July 24th

jlanc57 jlanc57 writes: This is where I get stuck:

"...But the judge advised in his jury instructions that for this to be true, the plaintiff (Osorio) must have known of the saw’s danger when the safety features were removed, but used the product anyway."

So does this mean if I don't know that dynamite is explosive when I light the match that it is the dynamite manufacturer's fault when it blows up and kills me? Apparently so, by that judge's line of reasoning.

At some point, common sense will have to take hold or these idiot lawyer's will all have us living in padded cells, spooning our meals from rubber bowls because nothing else is safe.

Gads, the whole episode makes me want to vomit.

Jim Lancaster
Dallas, TX

Please print my name. I don't want to be anonymous. I want to stand up and be counted.
Posted: 11:00 pm on July 24th

jlanc57 jlanc57 writes: This is where I get stuck:

"...But the judge advised in his jury instructions that for this to be true, the plaintiff (Osorio) must have known of the saw’s danger when the safety features were removed, but used the product anyway."

So does this mean if I don't know that dynamite is explosive when I light the match that it is the dynamite manufacturer's fault when it blows up and kills me? Apparently so, by that judge's line of reasoning.

At some point, common sense will have to take hold or these idiot lawyer's will all have us living in padded cells, spooning our meals from rubber bowls because nothing else is safe.

Gads, the whole episode makes me want to vomit.

Jim Lancaster
Dallas, TX

Please print my name. I don't want to be anonymous. I want to stand up and be counted.
Posted: 10:59 pm on July 24th

jlanc57 jlanc57 writes: This is where I get stuck:

"...But the judge advised in his jury instructions that for this to be true, the plaintiff (Osorio) must have known of the saw’s danger when the safety features were removed, but used the product anyway."

So does this mean if I don't know that dynamite is explosive when I light the match that it is the dynamite manufacturer's fault when it blows up and kills me? Apparently so, by that judge's line of reasoning.

At some point, common sense will have to take hold or these idiot lawyer's will all have us living in padded cells, spooning our meals from rubber bowls because nothing else is safe.

Gads, the whole episode makes me want to vomit.

Jim Lancaster
Dallas, TX

Please print my name. I don't want to be anonymous. I want to stand up and be counted.
Posted: 10:59 pm on July 24th

donbean46 donbean46 writes: I am so tired of people blaming someone else for their own stupidity. If the saw had malfunctioned, like the arbor broke and the blade came out and did some damage then sue the manufacture for a faulty saw but when it does exactly what it was intended to do, "cut what you feed into the blade" how can it be the manufactures fault? It's not the governments responsibility to make sure you don't do something stupid. Same goes for every one else, when will the general public start being accountable for their own actions?
Posted: 5:45 pm on July 24th

sawdustmill sawdustmill writes: I teach a woodworking program for prisoners at a military brig (not sure if I should mention the name without permission) and have been doing so for 7 1/2 years. I have had over 150 people come through my program. We stress safety first in our program and requre them to use blade guards on our tablesaws, unless they are doing special cuts such as dados or rabbits. Many of these people have what may be called a "prisoner" attitude towards authority figures and will often do things that are wasteful of materials or time. But when I stress the dangers of the various pieces of equipment and show them pictures of injurys them become respectful of the machines. After 7 1/2 years we have had "0" accidents.
So, my question would be, do we need more expensive machines or better safety training.
Posted: 3:35 pm on July 24th

davcefai davcefai writes: I find this case to be perplexing. Doesn't the USA have a Health and Safety code?

European law (now harmonised across the EU) makes the *employer* fully responsible for H&S. OK in many cases it is beauracracy gone wild but it is almost impossible for a case like this to happen.

The employer must instruct the employee in all aspects of his job. If the employer is a subcontractor working on a site the main contractor and the employer must induct all workers into the site, explaining all special dangers and site regulations.

All this must be documented and the site and documents are open to inspection by the H&S authority.

The ultimate responsibility rests on the main employer. In a case like this the fault was that of Osorio's employer for not instructing him in the proper use of a saw. However the main contractor is also at fault for letting this happen, and so on up the ladder.

However a lawsuit against the manufacturer could not even start as there is no defect in the machine and the manufacturer provided a manual, safety guards and usually a statement that users of the machine must be over 16 and trained.
Posted: 1:50 pm on July 24th

james3one james3one writes: The only problem with pointing a finger at the supervisor is that he is the one, therefore they are the ones purchasing saws. Start pointing fingers at the ones who bring in the bucks(and yes I know, that is exactly where the finger should be pointed in this case)and you risk losing a significant portion of the market. Ryobi has to weigh all the costs involved, present and future.
Posted: 1:40 pm on July 24th

ergeek ergeek writes: I've read the transcripts and am completely puzzled. Where is the supervisor in all this? Where I live (Ontario, Canada), if a person is injured at work the first question is, "who was the supervisor, and how did he instruct the worker?" Also of course the company would be liable if they didn't have the appropriate safety standards in place. They don't appear anywhere in the whole case.
Posted: 6:44 am on July 24th

beers beers writes: sherman anti trust act?????
Posted: 10:38 pm on July 23rd

ted ted writes: Must have been a real sleeper, or at least good bedtime reading. Thanks Patrick.
Posted: 9:04 pm on July 23rd

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