Conn. Jury Awards $3.4M to Man Injured Using Nail Gun

December 10, 2007

A Hartford, Conn. jury has awarded $3.4 million to a construction worker who was seriously injured when a nail became embedded in his brain as he worked with a nail gun.

Jerry Crutchfield, 51, of Hartford had sued toolmaker Stanley Works and Home Depot, which sold the nail gun, claiming they were partly liable for the injuries he sustained Feb. 3, 2003.

A Superior Court jury concluded that Crutchfield was 55 percent liable for his injuries because he fired the nail gun into metal rather than wood, which caused it to bounce back at him. However, the jury also ordered the companies to pay $3.4 million for their portion of liability.

Company officials said the corporations had not decided as of Friday whether to appeal the verdict.

Ted Morris, assistant general counsel for Stanley works, said the nail gun met industry standards, is used countless times each day without problems, and that tool users are warned to be careful and follow the instructions.

“It is a shock to me that we would lose this case. It is the No. 1 choice of carpenters all over the world. The customers demand it,” he said of the nail gun.

Crutchfield was doing carpentry work in the rafters of a Ludlow, Mass., church when he was injured. The 31/2-inch nail went through his cheek and into his brain, according to testimony during the court proceedings.

Attorney Edward Jazlowiecki said Crutchfield, who was a carpenter for 20 years before the incident, was partially paralyzed by the injury and now has seizures and other medical problems.

The jury returned its verdict Thursday after about eight hours of deliberations.

“He will never work again,” Jazlowiecki said of Crutchfield. “He’ll never be able to drive again. He is under constant supervision.”


Information from: The Hartford Courant

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