SE Texas Record

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Malfunctioning mulcher maims man

By Carol Ostrow | May 6, 2015


MARSHALL – A Wood County consumer filed a lawsuit against an Idaho-based outdoor equipment company on allegations of marketing unsafe tools in 2014.

Randall D. Rathie of Quitman filed a complaint against Advanced Forest Equipment Mfg. Inc. (AFE) on April 22 in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas, claiming liability and product negligence in an April 2014 purchase and July 2014 accident.

The plaintiff received delivery of a mulcher attachment from the defendant on or about April 11, 2014, accompanied by hoses and a maintenance kit. Court documents state that the manufacturer’s instructions indicated that the product was intended for mulching trees, bushes and shrubs and other forest habitats. Rathie intended to attach the mulcher to his Caterpillar 299D XHP Compact Track Loader, also known as a “Skid Steer”.

According to the lawsuit, when the plaintiff discussed the mulcher with AFE representatives prior to purchase, no one mentioned the need for protective equipment or a guard, even when he allegedly inquired.

When Rathie used the product for the first time on July 31, 2014, a tree limb was propelled backward onto his Skid Steer cab, shattering its glass front and severely injuring him, according to the lawsuit. The plaintiff was hospitalized for six days with profound eye injuries allegedly caused by the flying debris, the complaint states.

The lawsuit cites the defendant with strict liability, breach of warranty, several counts of negligence, misrepresentation and fraud. The plaintiff alleges physical pain; mental anguish; disfigurement and disability; lost wages and earning capacity; lost consortium and medical costs.

Rathie seeks a full refund of the allegedly defective equipment’s purchase price of $32,651 and compensation in excess of $75,000 for damages; pre- and post-judgment interest; attorneys' fees; expenses and costs. He is represented by Jarom Tefteller of Tefteller Law in Gilmer; Jeffrey Fletcher of Fletcher Law Firm in Quitman; and Ronald W. Armstrong II of the Armstrong Firm in San Antonio.

Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas case no. 2:15-cv-00538-JRG

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