December 9, 2011 - Partner Barry Packin was successful in barring the defenses of employee's negligence and employer's negligence in major product liability litigation in Federal Court in Trenton. The plaintiff sustained significant and disfiguring lacerations of his face and neck when an industrial, hand-held, gasoline powered saw he was using at work at a construction site kicked back and struck him in the face. The plaintiff was using the saw with a woodcutting saw blade mounted on it at the time of the accident unaware that a woodcutting saw blade should not be used on the saw as it increased the likelihood of kickback. The plaintiff's employer was also unaware that such blades should not be used on the saw when it provided the blade to the plaintiff. The saw manufacturer intended to point a finger of blame at trial at the plaintiff and the plaintiff's employer for their alleged negligence. Relying on case law in New Jersey which afforded protection to workers who are injured in the workplace while using industrial equipment, Packin brought motions prior to trial to bar these defenses. He successfully argued that the plaintiff had no meaningful choice but to use the equipment provided by his employer. He successfully argued that since the plaintiff's only remedy against his employer was a worker's compensation claim and he could not sue his employer, any negligence of his employer should not be used against him or he would essentially be penalized twice for his employer's negligence. These decisions have far reaching ramifications for New Jersey product liability law and were featured in the New Jersey Law Journal weekly publication.
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