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$400,000 Verdict for Machine Cleaner in Pie Crimping Machine Accident

Dietrich v. Luty Machine Company

Case Synopsis:

Our client was working as a machine cleaner for Mrs. Smith’s Frozen Pies for 9 years preceding the accident.  The pie crimper machine, designed by defendant, had 18 pie plate shells that traveled by means of a chain conveyor.  Tin pie plates were fed into the pie plate shells automatically by a dispenser.  On the date of the accident, our client was wiping a pie plate on the conveyor with his left hand and holding an emergency pull cord that ran around the perimeter of the machine with his right hand.  The conveyor was still running as our client wiped a pie plate with his left hand.  Our client’s hand was crushed into a pinch point between the pie plate cup and dispenser.

The pie crimper machine was defective as designed because the fixed barrier guard which would have prevented his hand from being crushed by the pinch point in the machine was not interlocked.  It was foreseeable by defendant that the barrier guard would occasionally be removed and such action could have been prevented with a changed design.

Our client suffered a crushing injury to his left hand that required four surgeries, two of which were to remove scar tissue, and significant residual functional impairment to his left hand as a result of the accident. Our client no longer has the ability to perform any tasks that require fine use, manipulation, or dexterity skills with his left and was unable to return to his former place of employment.

Outcome:

A jury returned a verdict of $400,000 after a four day trial.  The products liability case was handled by Richard M. Jurewicz of Galfand Berger in Philadelphia. For more information on this case or other hand injury cases handled by Galfand Berger, please call the law firm at 1-800-222-USWA (8792) or contact Mr. Jurewicz at rjurewicz@galfandberger.com.