Philadelphia Man Awarded $2 Million Payout After Defective Saw Blade Cuts off his Middle Finger

Posted by Josh Valentine | Jun 20, 2017

Manufacturers have a legal duty to consumers to ensure that the products they put on the market for distribution are functional and safe. When this duty is compromised and a consumer is harmed while utilizing the product the way it was intended, he or she now has grounds to seek legal recourse for their injuries. Consumers have a reasonable expectation that the products they buy and use be effectively designed and marketed. When manufacturers or other parties in the distribution process drop the ball and put their customers in danger, they should compensate the victim for the injuries they've sustained.

A man from Philadelphia filed a personal injury claim against Ryobi Technologies Inc., alleging that he was injured due to the manufacturer's defective table saw. Nineteen-year-old Alex Mai had no prior experience using a table saw when he was asked to cut a length of flooring. Right before he had finished cutting the wood completely in half, the wood struck the back of the saw blade, causing a serious kickback accident. The force from the incident pushed his fingers right into the sharp and rapidly spinning saw blade. As a result, his right middle finger was quickly severed at the knuckle. Mai also suffered permanent nerve damage to his right index finger.

According to Mai's attorneys, his injuries were completely preventable. They claim that his injuries stem from the manufacturer's failure to implement “SawStop” technology in the saw blade. Mai's lawsuit alleges that if the technology was intact, it would have been able to detect that the saw had come in contact with his flesh and set off a chain reaction that stops the spinning blade within 5 milliseconds of detection. The technology was licensed by Ryobi in 2002.

Mai's lawyers proceeded to mention that Ryobi never got to implement the technology due to its refusal to pay royalties for the invention. Also, the manufacturer had continuously disregarded warnings from the Consumer Product Safety Commission regarding the rising number of injuries people had sustained from the saw blade's defective design. The lawyers asserted that the manufacturer continued to sell, distribute and market the product despite their knowledge of the saw blade being dangerous to consumers for several years before finally implementing a new and guard design.

The manufacturer recently reached a $2 million settlement for the serious injuries inflicted to Mai's right hand.

This is not the first time Ryobi has been sued and it definitely is not the first time the manufacturer has provided a massive payout to an injured customer. A man by the name of Carlos Osorio had to undergo five surgeries after a Ryobi table saw severely mutilated his hand when he was laying hardwood floors a few years ago. He was awarded $1.5 million for his injuries.

If you have been injured due to the actions (or lack thereof in this case) of a manufacturer, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Caulder Valentine today for a consultation.

About the Author

Josh Valentine

You could say Josh has a God-given ability for sustaining long-term relationships. He and his wife first met in elementary school and went to Gardner Webb University (GWU) together, where they tied for number 1 in their class. Then, they both started law school on the same day of their graduation and got married during their first semester. He has also known his law partner Blake Caulder since Kindergarten. Theirs is the perfect partnership. “He’s the brake; I am the accelerator,” Josh says. Both Josh and his wife attended an innovative program at Charlotte Law School that allowed them to complete law school in two years instead of the typical three. His wife graduated and passed the North Carolina bar at age 20, becoming one of the youngest attorneys in the state. He readily admits she’s smarter than him. Of course, Josh went on to pass the North Carolina State Bar himself and later the South Carolina State Bar. While in school, he was Associate Editor of the Law Review and received accolades like Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society membership, Order of the Crown, Pro Bono Honors, CALI Awards (highest grade). In his career as a lawyer, he has been admitted to the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, is a member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys, and completed training for DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. Josh has also been named to the Top 40 Under 40 for Criminal Defense by The National Trial Lawyers, the Business North Carolina 2019 Legal Elite for Criminal Defense, and the 10 Best Attorneys for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys three years in a row (2016, 2017, and 2018). Community involvement has been important to Josh all his life. In high school, he participated in building a Holocaust museum that has become internationally regarded. He and his wife are actively engaged in animal rescue, which currently means seven cats and two kittens. He served in prison ministry and assisted with fundraiser banquets there, and he provides pro bono and reduced fee legal services to those in need. As if all of that weren’t enough, Josh also mentors high risk youth and helps with his church’s youth group. He participates in other community volunteer projects involving construction, remodeling, drywall, painting, and landscaping. He’s an active student of the Bible and has traveled to Israel, Brazil, and Europe for mission work. No one can say Josh isn’t a well-rounded individual. In his spare time, he likes to play softball, basketball, and tennis, and he can play the piano and trombone. Sometimes on weekends, believe it or not, he enjoys pouring and finishing concrete with friends who own a concrete and grading business. In his law practice, Josh has made it a point to develop positive relationships with officers, clerks, and district attorneys, which has proven invaluable in delivering positive results for his clients. It’s important to him to both listen to his clients and fight for them. Law enforcement officers have important responsibilities to keep our communities safe and uphold the law, but one of the responsibilities of attorneys is to make sure officers do their job correctly. Josh considers it his job to hold them accountable for their actions. Josh is a person of deep faith. He knows that the established order of our universe and strength of America’s Judeo-Christian influenced court system is built on God’s word. His passion to serve each client with innovation, excellence and integrity is a byproduct of his faith. When asked why he became a lawyer, Josh says, “All through my life, I have personally witnessed family members and very close friends endure divorce, child custody battles, bankruptcy, civil lawsuits, and even fraudulent criminal accusations. I both saw and experienced the stress such events can place on an individual, and I realized that everyone, at some point in their life, needs hope, comfort, and encouragement. In each one of those situations, the person who was best situated to provide that vital support was their lawyer. So that’s why I became an attorney. I understand what you are going through, and I’m here to help you. Our office is focused on meeting your needs and guiding you through what may be the most difficult time of your life.” Education: Charlotte School of Law J.D., Magna Cum Laude Class Rank – 21 of 328 Associate Editor of Charlotte School of Law Law Review Certification and Concentration in Employment Law Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society Order of the Crown Pro Bono Honors CALI Awards (Highest Grade)—Lawyering Process I and Contracts I Full Scholarship Gardner-Webb University B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude Distinguished Senior Student Award – Highest GPA Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honorary Society Bar Admissions: North Carolina State Bar