Man Cut With Chain Saw Sues Sears, Says Item Defective

July 26, 1991|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff writer

An Annapolis construction worker who lost control of a chain saw andcut himself in the forehead has filed a $12 million suit charging Sears, Roebuck and Co. with marketing a defective product.

In the suit, filed yesterday in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, William W. Collins III, 30, charges Sears, along with White Consolidated Industries Inc. of Cleveland, Ohio, with negligence, breach of warranty and failing to properly test an unsafe chain saw.

The 14-inch chain saw is identified in the suit as Model No. 358-34031. A Sears spokesman was unable to immediately say

whether thenationwide department store chain still sells that model.

Collinswas working for Pasquarelli Construction of Annapolis on Aug. 4, 1988, when his chain saw's "on" lever stuck, causing him to lose controlof the saw, according to the suit.

The stuck lever caused the sawto continue to run and to "jump back and cut into (Collins') forehead, causing serious painful and permanent injuries," according to the suit.

Collins was disfigured, suffered mental anguish and was forced to miss time from his job because of the mishap, according to the suit. Collins said yesterday he was taken to Anne Arundel General Hospital and Medical Center, where he received stitches from over his right eye to the center of his forehead.

Collins said he doesn't remember how many stitches he received. "It was a bunch. I lost count," he said. Collins declined to comment further on the suit until he talked to his lawyers.

In the suit, Collins charges the companies knew or should have known the product was likely to malfunction because the saw was negligently designed. He contends the companies failed toprovide adequate warnings and instructions.

The suit does not make clear whether Sears or White Consolidated manufactured the saw.

Richard Pietch, assistant general counsel for White Consolidated, said yesterday, "We manufacture certain chain saws for Sears. Whether wemanufactured (the model named in the suit), I don't know."

Pietchcited company policy in declining to comment on charges contained inthe suit. Greg Rossiter, spokesman for Sears, said Chicago-based Sears does not manufacture the products it sells. He said company officials would not comment on the suit until they have had a chance to review it.

In the suit, Collins seeks $2 million in actual damages and $10 million in punitive damages. He is demanding a jury trial.

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