WEST PALM BEACH, FL - A federal judge in Florida ruled last week against the manufacturer of Ryobi table saws in a case related to flesh-sensing technology - the type used in SawStop and Bosch Reaxx table saws to instantly stop saw blades to avoid injuring a user.
 
Techtronic Industries, the manufacturer, asked the judge to toss out a jury verdict that awarded $27,000 to plaintiff William Anderson, arguing the jury was incorrect in its determination that lack of flesh-sensing technology is a design defect, and that this lack of technology was at least partly responsible for Anderson's loss of three fingers in an accident.

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SawStop Sues to Block Reaxx Technology

SawStop  filed complaints at the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court in Oregon against Robert Bosch GmbH of Germany to stop what it sees as infringement of SawStop’s patented inventions.


In his November 23 ruling from West Palm Beach, FL, District Court, Judge Paul G. Byron denied Techtronic’s arguments that plaintiff  Anderson "didn’t produce enough evidence about the saw’s design flaws, that his expert witness was unqualified and that the jury should not have heard about changes that Techtronic implemented after the accident to make the saw safer," reports Law360 in its summary of the case. 

“There is substantial evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that the risks of the table saw outweighed its benefits,” Judge Byron wrote.
 
The jury found in May that Techtronic’s Ryboi brand table saw was defectively designed because it did not include “flesh detection technology” that stops a spinning blade when it connects with skin.
 
In denying the company’s motion to overturn the verdict for insufficient evidence, the court cited the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Power Tool Institute documents showing that Techtronic, “along with the power tool industry as a whole, were well aware that tabletop saws like the table saw [in this case] posed a significant risk of injury.” 
 
The judge said that CPSC had urged the power tool industry to adopt flesh detection technology on table saws as early as 2001 — three years before Techtronic made the saw used by Anderson.
 

What an Animated History of Flesh-sending Technology