Wisconsin Court Tosses Lawsuit Against John Deere Over Mower Mishap

July 15, 2009

The Wisconsin Supreme Court says a father who accidentally severed the feet of his two-year-old son with a riding lawnmower cannot hold the manufacturer liable for the injury.

In a 4-2 decision, the court ruled that bystanders, such as the boy, do not have any greater protections than consumers from dangerous products.

The 2004 case involves a father who was mowing his yard, put his John Deere lawnmower in reverse and ran into his son. The boy now wears prosthetics on both legs.

The decision means the family cannot get a new trial in a lawsuit that claimed Moline, Ill.-based Deere & Co. should not have allowed the mower to work in reverse.

Justice Michael Gableman says it was a horrible accident but was caused by the “negligent use of the lawn mower and negligent supervision of the boy by his parents.”

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