Shropshire v. Vermeer Manufacturing Company

Kenneth Shropshire was using a 605K Big Round Bailer manufactured by Vermeer Manufacturing Company when the twine mechanism became hung up on the left side of the bailer. As almost all farmers do, Mr. Shropshire got off his tractor with the bailer still running and the PTO still engaged. He opened the door on the left side of the bailer and tugged on the twine at which point it yanked his hand one and one-half feet into a running nip point. He lost his forefinger and part of his thumb on his dominate left hand. Mr. Shropshire sued Vermeer for its failure to properly guard the nip point on the 605K bailer. At trial, Plaintiff maintained that the twine should not have been running next to the moving chains and sprockets especially in light of Vermeer's knowledge that the twine mechanism often became hung up on its bailers. Plaintiff introduced evidence that a guard for the nip point would have prevented the injuries to Mr. Shropshire at a cost of a few dollars.

The jury awarded Mr. Shropshire a gross verdict of $400,000. The jury found Mr. Shropshire was 40% responsible for his own injury and therefore the court reduced the judgment to $240,000. The court also awarded $30,000 in pre-judgment interest. The case was tried by Robert M. N. Palmer.


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