Snap On Tools Snapped Off

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Snap On Tools Snapped Off -- Jury Blames Company and Awards $162,000

When Charles Grazier, age 31, of Chester, NY attempted to move a large Snap On Tools Corp. tool case at his shop, an attachable side-mounted tool box snapped off injuring his right hand. An Orange County State Supreme Court Jury sitting in Goshen, NY ruled that Snap-On Tools was 100 percent at fault for the injury which occurred at Mr. Grazier's place of business, Monroe Brake and Muffler, in Chester, on January 6, 1996.

Mr. Grazier was an automotive technician and assistant manager at the time of the incident. He suffered a complete tendon laceration to his middle finger with diminished strength. A future operation is expected to remedy this problem. A second trial to determine the amount of compensation by Snap On Tools to Mr. Grazier resulted in a jury verdict of $162,000.

Mr. Grazier's attorney, John Tackach of the Newburgh law firm of Larkin, Ingrassia & Tepermayster, LLP, maintained in court that the tool company was negligent in its design, manufacture, testing and marketing of its product. "It is a major victory for Mr. Grazier and the consumer at large to hold Snap On Tools responsible. They said the part would snap on. The consumer expected it to stay on," said Mr. Tackach. "This must send a warning to manufacturers that their products must be fully tested against all possibilities of injuries to the user and they must make every effort to alert the buyer and user of any potential dangers," he added.

A company engineer said during examination before trial that the side box, which was purchased by Mr. Grazier a few years after he bought the main tool box, should have been bolted onto the main tool box. However, there were no drill holes on the main unit for that purpose and a warning message about the usage of the tool case included nothing about the manner in which the side case should be attached to the main unit. There were also no warnings about the potential for injury with the installation instructions.

The lawsuit alleged Snap On Tools negligently designed, manufactured, tested, assembled, selected components and materials for, packaged, marketed, advertised and sold the tool cases and that it failed to use reasonable care in the design through marketing stages. It further maintained the company failed to instruct or warn users of the product about the dangers associated with it or safe and proper methods of its use.

* Reprinted with permission of the Mid-Hudson News Network

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.