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Zittrain Torts Playlist Spring 2013

Wilson M. Hood, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Ryobi America Corporation; Ryobi North America, Incorporated, Defendants-Appellees, and Lowe's Home Centers, Incorporated; Ryobi Electric Tool Manufacturing, Incorporated; Ryobi Motor Products Corporation, Defendants.

Headnote

Should courts hold warning labels to be defective if they fail to include all the possible consequences of failure to heed the label? Should manufacturers have to accommodate foreseeable misuse when they design their products? Plaintiff purchased a miter saw that was manufactured by the defendant. Despite the presence of seven warning labels in the operator's manual and on the saw itself, not to operate the saw with the blade guards removed, the plaintiff removed the guards in order to cut more deeply into a piece of wood. Shortly after removing the guards and continuing to run the saw, the spinning saw blade flew off the saw and injured the plaintiff. The plaintiff admitted reading the warning labels, but argued that the labels did not inform him of the risk of the saw flying off if the blade guards were removed. A similar incident had led to a prior lawsuit against the defendant, nearly two decades before the present events.