On November 30, 2000, the plaintiff, a 61 year-old machinist was operating a commercial milling machine at his place of employment. At approximately 7:00 a.m. on that date, he was required to briefly stop the machine in order to perform a tool change. When the Plaintiff attempted to restart the machine by hitting the reset button, he inadvertently called up the wrong program. As a result, the tool made contact with the 7 x 3 aluminum part, causing the work piece to be ejected from the Unit, through the transparent guard, striking the Plaintiff’s hip area, and landing approximately 20 feet from the Unit.
The Plaintiff was diagnosed with an avulsion type abrasion and a thigh contusion. The Plaintiff attempted to return to work on December 4, 2000, but was forced to leave early due to intense pain in his right hip. The Plaintiff returned to his physician the following day for an evaluation, where he reported increased right hip and knee pain as well as increased swelling in his pelvic area.
On February 6, 2001, the Plaintiff underwent Magnetic Resonance imaging, which revealed a right L4-5 intraforaminal disc herniation and a L5-S1 disc degeneration with right sided osteophytic foraminal encroachment and a small broad-based disc herniation or diffuse posterior annulus bulge.
On March 12, 2001, the Plaintiff presented to North Suffolk Mental Health Association for an assessment and evaluation of a new onset of depression. After the consultation, his therapist concluded that the onset of the Plaintiff’s depression was caused by his recent work-related incident. The Plaintiff’s medical expenses totaled $8,762.73.
Plaintiff’s counsel contended that the subject milling machine was defective in its design, manufacture and or assembly. They reached this conclusion based on the fact that the transparent composite guard did not provide enough protection to guard the plaintiff operator from being injured by errant metallic work pieces traveling at an extremely high velocity. The plaintiff further contended that evidence offered by the defendant that the Plaintiff was comparatively negligent in calling-up the wrong computer program, would not be admissible at trial under Massachusetts law of breach of warranty.
Following initial discovery by both parties, the case was settled after only one day of mediation.
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