Bucks Co. man injured by table saw files products liability claim against Ryobi

By The Penn Record | Apr 8, 2014

A Pennsylvania man who claims he sustained serious injuries as a result of

A Pennsylvania man who claims he sustained serious injuries as a result of

an allegedly defective table saw has filed a products liability complaint against the makers of the device.

James H. Simmers, Jr., of Morrisville, Bucks County, filed suit at the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Monday against South Carolina-based Ryobi Technologies Inc., Techtronic Industries North America Inc. and One Word Technologies Inc. over injuries he says he sustained in late August of last year while using the Ryobi BT210 table saw manufactured and distributed by the defendants.

The complaint accuses the defendants of designing, manufacturing, marketing and selling their table saw without the available safety technologies that would have made the device safer for consumer use.

Like all table saws sold in the United States, the Ryobi saw must be sold with a blade guard, and while the guard comes with the product, it is extremely difficult to use and must be removed for a user to make certain cuts with the saw, the lawsuit states.

Because it is very hard to put it back in place, users often either assemble the saw without the blade guard or remove it and leave it off of the machine permanently while using the device, the complaint states.

“This widespread practice was well know [sic] by Defendants, yet Defendants made no effort to improve the design of the guard to make it more user friendly until required to do so by recent changes to industry-wide standards,” the suit states.

The other problem with the saw, the complaint alleges, is that the splitter, or spreader, which is a device designed to prevent kickbacks while cutting, is attached directly to the blade guard, meaning no kickback protection is offered to the user once the blade guard is removed.

The complaint says that the defendants have known for years that kickbacks can be substantially reduced or eliminated by using something called a “riving knife,” rather than a splitter or spreader.

A riving knife is a small piece of metal that sits behind the blade and rises and falls with the blade.

And even if the blade guard is removed, the riving knife remains in place, “substantially reducing or eliminating kickbacks,” the complaint states.

Riving knives are already required to be installed on all table saws sold in Europe.

The Ryobi saw used by the plaintiff, however, did not have a riving knife.

If it did, the suit says, the plaintiff’s injuries would have either been lessened or non-existent.

Technology has been available for many years that stops a saw blade from spinning upon almost immediate contact with human skin, the suit says, but the defendants failed to make that technology, known as SawStop, available on their product.

“Because it lacked such technology, the Ryobi Saw was unreasonably dangerous as designed and manufactured,” the lawsuit states.

Simmers, the plaintiff, was seriously injured when his fingers came into contact with the rotating saw blade.

The exact extent of his injuries is not detailed in the complaint.

Simmers suffered from mental anguish, physical disfigurement and impairment, and had to spend money on medical care.

He also experienced lost wages and lost his ability to engage in usual and normal activities, the suit states.

The suit contains counts of strict liability, breach of implied warranty and negligence.

Simmers seeks damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, impairment, disfigurement, lost wages and medical expenses.

He also seeks attorney’s fees, interest and costs.

Simmers is being represented by attorney Michael Heygood of the Dallas, TX law firm Heygood Orr & Pearson.

The federal case number is 2:14-cv-02022-JP.

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