Lawn mower flipped, says man in suit against Home Depot, MTD Products

Kelly Holleran Jun. 23, 2009, 8:00am

A Collinsville man says he sustained serious injuries after his lawnmower flipped and struck him multiple times.

Matthew Cauble filed a lawsuit June 16 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against The Home Depot, Inc. and MTD Products, Inc.
Cauble says he bought an MTD Shift-On-The-Go lawn tractor at The Home Depot in Collinsville on June 3, 2007.

In the tractor's manual, a warning cautions against driving the tractor across slopes, but rather to drive it up and down the slopes.
So, while Cauble was mowing his lawn on Sept. 12, 2007, he mowed up and down the slope in his front lawn, according to the complaint.
However, while he was mowing up the slope, Cauble felt the tractor's transmission slip and noticed the tractor was beginning to roll backward, the suit states.

"Immediately thereafter, the Tractor lurched forward as the transmission re-engaged, causing the tractor's front end to come up in the air," the complaint says.

Believing the tractor would fall on him, Cauble says he jumped off it to supposed safety.

"As the Tractor seat made contact with the ground the mower blades re-engaged and the unit began rolling toward Plaintiff striking parts of his body," the suit states.

In addition to his injuries, Cauble has incurred substantial medical costs because of the accident, according to the complaint.

MTD negligently designed a tractor that was not reasonably stable when on slopes, manufactured a tractor that was prone to overturn when accelerating and designed a tractor that's mowing blades would be exposed when it flipped, the complaint says.

The Home Depot Store sold a product that was defective and unreasonably dangerous, misrepresented to Cauble that the product was safe, failed to disclose the dangerous propensities of the product and failed to properly test the product before marketing it, Cauble claims.

In the five-count suit, Cauble is seeking a judgment in excess of $250,000, plus other relief the court deems just.

Kevin T. Hoerner and Brian T. Kreisler of Becker, Paulson, Hoerner and Thompson.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-318.

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