$1.3 Million Settlement for Worker’s Injury Caused by Inadequate Guard on Mold Press Machine

John Smokes worked for a temporary employment agency, Adecco Staffing and was assigned to work at Dentsply Prosthetics. While at work at Dentsply, Smokes was trained on the operation of a rotary mold press machine.

Two weeks after starting his training, while placing a mold into the load area of the mold press, Smokes’s hand became caught in the machine’s automatic push mechanism, causing his long, ring, and index fingers to be crushed by two platens.

Although he pressed the emergency stop button, the platens did not reopen, and his hand was trapped for almost a half hour while his coworkers dissembled the press.

Unfortunately, his three fingers required amputation.  His medical expenses exceeded $197,500.

Smokes sued the parent company of Dentsply Prosthetics, Dentsply International Inc., alleging that the mold press was inadequately guarded and that he was able to bypass the guard while working on the machine.

Smokes asserted that a subsequent OSHA investigation resulted in a violation being issued to Dentsply Prosthetics for the mold press’s unsafe condition.

In addition, he argued that other presses at the facility configured with complete barrier guarding, interlock access doors and two-hand operator controls – features that would have prevented his injury.

The defendant countered that argument, maintaining that the press was adequately guarded and that Smokes had committed willful misconduct by reaching over the guard to reposition his work, contrary to his training.

Smokes claimed past lost wages of approximately $81,800 and future lost earnings of $489,300.

At a mediation, the case was settled for $1.3 million.

The attorney representing Smokes was Richard M. Jurewicz.

Smokes’s attorney engaged experts in mechanical engineering, workplace safety and vocational economics.

Smokes v. Dentsply International Inc., No. 2016-SU-00969-72 (Pa. Ct. Com. Pl. York County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been successfully handling work injury lawsuits, catastrophic injury lawsuits, traumatic brain injury cases and wrongful death cases for individuals, families and loved ones who have been injured, harmed or killed by the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Cicero, Joliet, Waukegan, Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove, Deerfield, Lemont, Willowbrook, Hinsdale, Justice, Blue Island, South Holland, Chicago (Marquette Park, Englewood, Gresham, Burnside, Chatham, Grand Crossing, Woodlawn, Kenwood, Bronzeville, Chinatown, Little Italy, West Loop, Roscoe Village, Beverly), Calumet Park, Alsip, Crestwood and Forest Park, Ill.

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