The jury awarded Heckman $750,000, and Federal appealed. Decision?

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The jury awarded Heckman $750,000, and Federal appealed. Decision?


Heckman, an employee of Clark Equipment Company, severely injured his left hand when he caught it in a power press that he was operating at work. The press was manufactured by Federal Press Company and sold to Clark. It could be operated either by hand controls that required the use of both hands away from the point of operation or by an optional foot pedal. When the foot pedal was used without a guard, nothing remained to keep the operator’s hands from the point of operation. Federal Press did not provide safety appliances unless the customer requested them, but when it delivered the press to Clark with the optional pedal, it suggested that Clark install a guard. The press had a similar warning embossed on it. Clark did, in fact, purchase a guard for $100, but it was not mounted on the machine at the time of the injury, nor was it believed to be an effective safety device. Heckman argued that one type of guard, if installed, would have made the press safe in 95 percent of its customary uses. Federal, in turn, argued that the furnishing of guards was not customary in the industry, that the machine’s many uses made it impracticable to design and install any one guard as standard equipment, that Clark’s failure to obey Federal’s warning was a superseding cause of the injury, and that state regulations placed responsibility for the safe operation of presses on employers and employees. The jury awarded Heckman $750,000, and Federal appealed. Decision?

Explanation & AnswerSolution by a verified expert


The court has made Company F liable for paying the damages to Individual H on the following bases:

The machine is considered defective because proper safety tools and label for precautionary use was not provided and Individual H's actions act as evidence for proving the same.
The machines were standard made because no proper tools for precautions were given.
The court measured the level of risk to the buyer from the machines and the level of injury that considered machines to be dangerous.

Verified Answer

The judgment of paying $750,000 for protecting Individual H from harm is correct because Company F would be held liable for the production of a defective and dangerous product.

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