Suit claims exercise bicycle unreasonably dangerous for unattended minor

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Jul. 21, 2010, 3:50pm

SHERMAN-A mother has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturers of an exercise bicycle after her unattended child got his hand caught in the equipment and lost his fingers.

Josh and Diane Willeford, individually and as next friend of L.W., a minor, filed suit against Romfab, also known as Four Minute Workout, also known as Fastexercise, on July 19 in federal court in Sherman.

The accident occurred on Dec. 7, 2009, while Diane Willeford was at work at Fast Fitness, with her 5-year-old sons, W.W. and L.W., and her sister.

According to the complaint, "L.W. wanted to 'exercise' and Diane took him to one of the R.O.M. bicycles."

"He was riding the bicycle with Diane watching when she was called by her sister. Diane stepped away approximately 10 feet from the machine when she heard L.W. scream. There was no protective guard on the machine, and L.W. had his hand caught between the flywheel and the chain tearing off his fingers," the suit states.

L.W. was transported by ambulance to the hospital but despite efforts to reattach his fingers, two fingers remained amputated and another finger severely damaged that required an additional surgery.

The Willefords argue that the exercise bicycle was not reasonably designed, manufactured, marketed, assembled or tested.

"It was entirely foreseeable to and well-known by the Defendant that accidents and incidents involving its product, such as occurred herein, would on occasion take place during the normal and ordinary use of said product," the lawsuit states.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages for extreme emotional distress, mental anguish, pain and suffering, permanent disfigurement and impairment, diminished earning capacity, medical expenses, interest and court costs.

The Willefords are represented by Plano attorney Stewart D. Matthews of S.D. Matthews & Associates. Jury trial requested.

U.S. District Judge Richard A. Schell is assigned to the case.

Case No. 4:10cv00357

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