Lunchtime Reading: John Deere, Impalement, and Proximate Cause

Should this lawsuit survive the pleading stage, and not settle quickly, you can almost guarantee that it will be in law school textbooks within a few years. The plaintiff, Larry Faust, (and his wife) sued John Deere after his runaway lawn mower threw him onto a fence post that impaled his testicles, reports the Courthouse News Service.

The cause of the accident is kind of hard to understand without a diagram of the mower. Per Courthouse News:

The upper bolt in the right-hand steering lever can catch on the lift stop bracket, causing the steering lever to remain in the forward position. He says there is no guard to prevent the right hand steering lever from catching on the lift stop bracket, and no warnings about it.

So the screw on the doumahickie got caught on the thingamajob and there was no plastick thingie to keep it from doing so. Gotcha. This is kinda like one of them darn cars with their stuck gas pedals that ol’ Paps warned us about.

John Deere Z445 EZTrak

Z445 EZTRAK Zero-Turn Mower (Courtesy of John Deere)

So the right hand accelerator got stuck. We’re picturing him doing donuts while his neatly manicured grass gets slowly worn out by those meaty rear tires. He’s then flung from the mower and lands in the worst possible position, testes on a metal spike.

The proximate cause aspect of a negligence case requires that the injury be a foreseeable result of the negligent conduct.

For this case specifically, Faust will have to argue that it was foreseeable that someone would be tossed off of the mower due to the allegedly flawed design. The testicular impalement is simply a grisly extension of a perfectly predictable predicament that can arise from a runaway mower.

What wouldn’t be covered under the foreseeability aspect would be the goat that had a heart attack watching the entire affair.

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Lunchtime Reading: John Deere, Impalement, and Proximate Cause