Article References GEK Victory in Defective Nail Gun Case
The construction industry is among the most dangerous. In fact, according to the latest numbers available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction workers had a fatal occupational injury rate nearly three times that of all workers in the United States.
Although these figures are troubling enough in and of themselves, they're even more staggering when you consider that they can be drastically reduced by implementing effective risk management practices on behalf of workers and their supervisors in conjunction with best practices in design by manufacturers of equipment used by those in the industry.
The latter was the focus of a case won by Personal Injury Attorneys Roger Gordon and Vincent Vallin Bennett from Gordon, Edelstein, Krepack, Grant, Felton & Goldstein, LLP (GEK) several years ago. This case involved a journeyman carpenter, Mr. Martin Oliver, who suffers from significant headaches, imbalance, dizziness and cognition difficulties after the pneumatic nail gun he was using discharged a nail into his head. Gordon and Bennett won this case, proving that the pneumatic nail gun Oliver was using (Hitachi's Model NR83A) was defective because it had a contact actuation trigger (CAT). A CAT allows a nail to be fired when the nose of the nail gun is in contact with the surface and the trigger is pulled, regardless of the order in which those events occur. The fact that Hitachi's gun didn't have a sequential actuation trigger (SAT), which allows a nail to be fired only if the trigger is pulled after the gun's nose contacts a surface, constituted a design defect.
Proving this defect was not only beneficial to Gordon and Bennett's client but also to all those in the construction industry who use pneumatic nail guns. In fact, transcripts of the trial proceeding were recently used and cited in an article—Pneumatic Nail Guns...Revisiting Trigger Recommendations—published by The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), and authored in part by retired researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
"Our goal for this trial was to represent Mr. Oliver to the best of our ability and to prove that the nail gun he was using was defective in its design," says Gordon. "A bonus to proving that is how many injuries, many of them life-threatening, we have prevented. The fact that our victory was referenced in the ASSE article is a testament to the power of the legal system to educate and protect."