Tablesaws on Trial
That buzz you've been hearing for the past few months isn't from using your router without ear plugs. It's woodworkers talking about the guy who won more than a million dollars in a civil lawsuit after getting his hand tangled up a benchtop tablesaw. After the verdict and award were announced, online woodworking discussion groups (such as this one at woodmagazine.com/forums) virtually exploded with outrage.
Why all the hubbub? Because in this case, attorneys argued that flesh-detecting technology, like that on SawStop, could have lessened the injury. After reviewing more than 1,100 pages of trial transcripts, here are a few excerpts.
Carlos Osorio, then a 25-year-old Colombian immigrant with a degree in computer science, came to Boston looking for work. He wound up installing and repairing hardwood floors for a small company. On April 19, 2005, his boss dropped off a Ryobi BTS15 benchtop tablesaw (with no blade guard or splitter) for Osorio and his job-site partner to use while doing some floor repair.
Speaking through an interpreter, here is an excerpt of Osorio's testimony of what happened. The questioner is his attorney.
On cross-examination, Osorio is questioned about the type of cut he was actually making and whether or not the fence could be used. The questioner in this excerpt is an attorney for Ryobi.
The jury found Osorio partly at fault for his injury, and exonerated Home Depot. Ryobi was found mostly at fault and the jury awarded $1.5 million to Osorio. The verdict and award are under appeal. Here is the jury's verdict form.