Jury Finds Sears Roebuck Failed to Warn Lawnmower Owners

West Milford Woman Who Suffered Multiple Leg and Back Injures Awarded Nearly $500,000

Newark, N.J. — A Federal jury in Newark has awarded a West Milford couple nearly $500,000 for injuries the woman sustained when a small stone broke through the plastic guard on her Sears lawnmower and was propelled into her leg. The stone caused an infected spiral fracture of her leg and numerous subsequent health problems.

G. Martin Meyers of Denville represented plaintiffs Kathy Mascola and her husband, James Mascola, in their product liability action against Sears Roebuck and Co. Mr. Meyers argued that Sears failed to warn consumers that the 6.5 hp “Eager 1″ power lawnmower’s plastic rear guard, intended to prevent such accidents, was made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which becomes weak and brittle over time.

Mr. Meyers said, “This was an accident waiting to happen. Sears knew that the rear deflector guard on the lawnmower tended to degrade, but the manual only told people to replace it if it became damaged. Unfortunately, the manual failed to mention that the damage was frequently invisible — so there would be no way of knowing that it needed to be replaced.”

Judge William H. Walls presided over the trial in the United States District Court for New Jersey. The seven-person jury, comprised of five women and two men, took six hours to reach its verdict. David R. Kott of McCarter English in Newark represented Sears Roebuck and Co.

Mr. Meyers said that Mrs. Mascola suffered an extremely serious leg fracture and was required to endure five surgeries as a result of her injuries. “Adequate warning and instruction could have saved her and her family years of agony. Who knows how many other consumers are using mowers that have the same invisible damage and potential to fail? Sears’s own lawnmower expert said that there are 50 million similar lawnmowers in American homes. Let’s hope that this verdict forces Sears to warn all owners of that model and all models that have PVC deflectors to inspect and consider replacing them,” he said.

The Law Offices of G. Martin Meyers provides representation to clients in such areas as products liability law, litigation, plaintiffs’ securities fraud, consumer fraud, personal injury, medical malpractice, and employment discrimination law in New Jersey, New York, and throughout the United States.

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