A 51 year old construction worker using a Stanley Works nail gun, which was sold to him by Home Depot, suffered seizures and paralysis after a nail from the gun ended up embedded in his brain. The manufacturer said that the nail gun, known as a Model N79 or “contact trip gun,” met industry standards and is very popular with customers. The jury found the man 55% responsible for his injury because he had been using the gun to put nails into metal, rather than wood as was intended, but held the manufacturer 45% responsible for his injuries. The accident occurred when the a 3″ nail the gun fired bounced back at the man and entered his brain after going through his cheek. The jury ordered the manufacturer, Stanley Works, to pay $3.4 million to the man in damages to compensate for their responsibility in causing the injury.
Testimony showed that the man, who was married and the father of four, had worked for 20 years as a construction worker before his injury. At the time of the accident, he was working in a church and was standing 25 feet in the air on a lift putting nails into metal. He had 6 hours of surgery after the accident, but was still paralyzed on his left side and would never be able to work or drive a car again. The jury considered the case for 8 hours before reaching its verdict.
Evidence at trial showed that 129 injuries had been reported from the use of the gun since the 1970’s and that 26 of these resulted in brain injuries. According to the man’s attorneys, newer models of the gun are safer.