Man claims serious injuries from grinding wheel explosion

Steve Gonzalez Jan. 9, 2007, 1:46pm

A Highland man who suffered extensive injuries to his leg from a grinding wheel filed suit against United Abrasives in Madison County Circuit Court Jan. 5, claiming the New York company sold him a defective product.

David Holthaus claims that sometime in 2003, he purchased a pre-owned United Abrasives Type 11 cup grinding wheel at a consignment auction.

He claims that on Aug. 15, 2006, he was using the grinding wheel to grind the teeth of a stump grinder when it unexpectedly exploded or fractured causing him to suffer serious personal injuries.

According to Holthaus, he had only used the grinding wheel on one occasion prior to the accident and it was in the same condition as when he first purchased it.

He claims the grinding wheel was in a defective condition, unreasonably dangerous when put to a reasonably anticipated use.

Holthaus claims he sustained permanent injuries to the muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones of his legs including fractures to both his left and right tibias and has incurred medical expenses, disability, pain, suffering, loss of income and loss of enjoyment of life.

He is seeking damages in excess of $100,000.

Margaret Holthaus, David's wife, also is seeking damages in excess of $100,000, claiming she has a right to his consortium and services and as a result of his injuries has been deprived of such consortium and services.

They are represented by Troy Walton of the Rex Carr law firm in East St. Louis.

Holthaus claims the grinding wheel contained an inadequate warning in both form and substance because the label attached to the grinding wheel was comprised of mere paper and was capable of being destroyed or rendered illegible by the regular use and storage of the product.

He also claims the label attached to the grinding wheel was incapable of lasting the life of the grinding wheel and also claims the label failed to warn that the grinding wheel was capable of suddenly exploding during regular and foreseeable use.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian.

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