A man has filed suit against the manufacturers of a machine he claims caused him to lose his middle finger.

Darnell Chamberlain filed suit April 7 in the St. Clair County Circuit Court against Reinhold Electric Inc. and Zach Hesterburg.

According to the complaint, Chamberlain was working for Land-O-Sun Dairies in O’Fallon on April 28, 2012, when the incident occurred. He had been stationed at a large line of machinery that molded plastic milk containers when he noticed that plastic tails trimmed from the bottom of the jugs were stuck in the gears of the machine, according to the complaint.

“At the same time and place, the plaintiff opened the interlocked door, triggering the subject switch thereby stopping the machine,” the suit states. “After the machine stopped, the plaintiff began cleaning out the tails, but shortly thereafter, the machine turned on while he was removing the plastic. As a result, the plaintiff’s hand was caught in the gear when it started to cycle.”

Chamberlain’s hand was stuck in the machine for about two to three minutes, the complaint says. His middle finger was completely detached from the machine. Even though a co-worker placed the finger on ice, doctors could not reconnect it, Chamberlain claims.

Because of the incident, Chamberlain has endured multiple surgeries, has suffered fear and stress and has sustained pain and anxiety, according to the complaint. He has also been unable to work, labor and enjoy his ordinary pursuits, incurred medical costs and lost wages, the suit states.

Chamberlain is seeking a judgment of more than $150,000, plus costs, punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest and other relief the court deems just. He is being represented by Charles H. Stegmeyer of Stegmeyer and Stegmeyer in Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 14-L-264.

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