I was surprisingly intrigued by the on-line video.
After enjoying Norm for all those years, I'll give this guy a chance.
IMO it would be way cool if Norm was an early and perhaps recurring guest!
Yet quoting Bob Vila diminishes his reputation.
Even so, let's see what Tommy Mac has got to show!
Sorry ... I meant to say I agree with Mr. Patrick McCombe instead of IGOTWOOD.
My error and apologies.
I am a lawyer and stuff like this makes me sicker than I already am at practicing law for almost 30 years.
All of this talk to me is nothing more than idle speculation and a waste of time.
The theory of Defendant Ryobi's liability here is based on products liability law which is classified as a "tort" in legal parlance. Essentially, "tort" is a stylized Latin translation for "doing wrong to another" and injuries caused to one person by another fall under the descriptor of "torts".
Generally speaking, in order to prevail at trial like this a Plaintiff must prove four things (elements of proof) in court. First that Defendant (Ryobi) owed Plaintiff a "legal duty". Defendant breached that legal duty owed to Plaintiff. Defendant's breach of legal duty did in fact cause Plaintiff's injury. And lastly, that Plaintiff has sustained damages (injuries that cost the Plaintiff money including pain, suffering and costs of suit exclusive of counsel fees except in certain, special situations).
Now the yardsticks by which one side or the other has to prove or disprove all of these four (4) "elements of proof" are governed by prior case law and statutes in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Together these principles establish what (in Massachusetts only while other states may be similar) is the "legal standard" a Defendant has to breach in order to be liable for a Plaintiff's damages.
I am no expert in Tort Law nor do I practice in Massachusetts. But it seems to me solely based on my "legal intuition" and practical experience of nearly 30 years that a sharp and crafty Plaintiffs' attorney presented a the jury with a factual case of gruesome and horrendus injury coupled with compelling shock value that MAYBE caused the jury to ignore applying the appropriate law (done by the Judge in jury instruction) correctly. In addition Plaintiffs' counsel did his investigation and homework well in showing that Ryobi had "considered" the technology and then abandoned the idea.
From the defense side, there is apparently no discussion of how "personal responsibility" play a role in every injury. Not to mention in products liability cases. And defenses like this often boil down to being something like the Plaintiff misused the product stupidly and we're not at fault and not going to pay. Again there are the same yardsticks in the form of prior case law and statutes that create a legal standard for a Defendant to make this factual case to limit or absolve itself from liability.
Moreover and in spite of all the good press to the contrary, the Saw-Stop inventor is just not the nice guy everyone makes him out to be. As reported in Woodshop News at the time it happened, this fellow went so far as to SUE the national Bureau of Standards (or some other Federal regulatory agency for power tools) to have his Saw Stop technology included as a NEW standard in EVERY saw sold in the USA. And as far as I know, the Federal agency turned him down flat. Thus he was compelled to independently market his OWN product, incorporating the technology to stop the saw blade.
So from every business aspect possible, the Saw-Stop people have an identifiable and biased interest in showing and taking to trial every case of gruesome and horrendous injury where their product COULD have POSSIBLY stopped the injury before it happened.
So while I agree with IGOTWOODs conclusion about the jury, I am much more interested to see how the APPEAL from Ryobi plays out over time. Big money cases and cases of high precedental value like this one are rarely finished at the initial trial stage, where the jury awards the Plaintiff money damages.
The real fight comes on appeal. And I'll bet you that this guy will never see anywhere near that much money at the end of the day. Or that if he does see any significant bucks, there will be a private settlement wherein the Plaintiff and future prospective Plaintiffs will be contractually barred from using certain evidence.
And as for Ryboi's lawyers, if there was insurance coverage involved, bet money that the lawyers provided by the carriers were there because they are CHEAP not because they are GOOD or EXPERTS in Products Liability Defense. And I can almost guarantee not one of the primary defense counsel was a woodworker, carpenter, tool aficionado or hardware store junkie nor had ever used or even been familiar with the product that caused Plaintiff's injuries. As with everything else in life, so in law -- you get what you pay for. And in many cases fire in the belly that insurance hacks will not have loses cases for cheap defendants just as often as bad preparation, professional competence, and so on.
I would like to see FWW or Taunton seek out and get an expert opinion written by a Torts law professor or someone from the Products Liability defense bar to analyze and handicap this case. And preferably, he should be a WOODWORKER so he can understand the legal, factual and vocational aspects of the tools, their use and potential for operator injury.
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.
I'm surprised that FWW does not know riving knives were added to new US table saw designs due to bilateral treaty obligations with the EEC by way of Canada.
And although European manufacturers of table saws had riving knives for years, until these treaty obligations kicked in, US table saw manufacturers fought it tooth and nail.
Moreover, without riving knives, US made table saws could not be sold in Europe.
You people should also report that early on Gass sued the US Government to make his SawStop technology standard on every table saw sold in the US.
So this guy is far from lily pure in his motives and objectives.
If anything this might cause manufacturers to STOP making table saws or at least selling them in the US market.
And who's going to lose then? Woodworkers will.
Just because he won a verdict doesn't mean he was paid one, thin dime.
I'll bet the Defendant, manufacturer will be fighting tooth and nail to have this verdict reversed on appeal.
No one has an absolute obligation to make a 100% safe, product.
I'll bet the appeals court will ultimately find that law was misapplied in the trial court and reverse the judgment.
Odd thing to have to put your faith in the legal system. but that's the way it is in life, sometimes.
Oh and as to sponsors,wow how that has changed. Years ago, many companies owned and manufactured tools used in the woodworking trades, Today Black & Decker own DELTA, PORTER CABLE and DEWALT. WMH Tool Group (a privatley held Swiss company) owns JET, PERFORMAX and POWERMATIC. So today there are really only two companies to sponsor a show featuring just about anything that a weekend woodworker could possibly want when starting out.!
As for me, no one can EVER replace Norm!
I mean c'mon, the guy has a beard, flannel shirts and jeans and he works with all kinds of cool wood in a dream shop full of every tool imaginable. Does that nail the mental image of a weekend woodworker or what?
Go back and look at Norm's FIRST season to see how he struggled like the rest of us mortals. The kicker for Norm was when he got that TIMSESAVER sander. Good thing they didn't show him with a two head or three head version of that machine -- well over $100K!
For my taste, this guy looks too pretty and he has a crooked nose skewed to the right. I can't help but looking at this guy and thinking he got the nod because he tested well with WOMEN. Which somehow is just not going to be your sustaining audience for Norm's successor.
I didn't particularly like the CRAFT IN AMERICA series. And if that's the type of show that's going to be on each weekend with this guy talking about "woodworkers", I'll likely pass it by.
But that's just another woodworker's opinion.
Best of luck to all!
I could always make room for and use more LUMBER!!!!
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