GRAPHIC: Charleston Co. Man sues Lowe’s after losing part of finger in garden shears accident
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A gruesome accident at the Lowe’s Home Improvement store on James Island left a man missing part of his ring finger, and now he is suing the company to prevent similar accidents at the store in the future.
According to attorney Roy Willey, it was a Thursday in 2020 when the unthinkable happened to his client, Mark Johnson, at the Lowe’s on Folly Road.
“While Mark’s son was looking at some children’s gardening supplies, and Mark was looking at his products, when he turned around, his son had full-sized garden shears that were unguarded in his hand,” Willey, a partner at Anastopoulo Law Firm, says.
In an interview with his attorneys, Johnson details what happened as he tried to grab the shears from his son.
“I pulled my hand back, and he closed it right as I did that and he snipped the end of my finger off,” he says. “My finger fell to the ground.”
Johnson rushed to the emergency room and later had extensive surgery to save what was left of his finger, he says, but the memory of the accident still lingered.
“I would lay there at night thinking, “What if it took the whole finger? What if it took four fingers? What if it took my hand? what if it hit my wrist?” Johnson says. “I just kept playing it over and over and over in my head.”
Willey has since filed a lawsuit on behalf of Johnson, in which he argues the defendants’ negligence could have caused a much more tragic accident.
“This could’ve been a catastrophic incident where Mark’s son could’ve seriously injured or killed himself,” Willey says.
Lowe’s and Fiskars, the company that made the shears and the display, both deny liability, Willey says.
“We know that’s not true because there’s other products—Craftsmen and other brands—that do protect the blades on the product,” he says. “And it’s not expensive to do and it’s not hard to do, but they just flat out refused to do it.”
The lawsuit states the defendants knew or should have known the way the shears were displayed was dangerous: on the ground with no protective covering or other safety precautions. According to the suit, if Lowe’s had used common sense in how they displayed the clippers, this never would have happened.
But even now, 2 years after the accident and while litigation is still pending, Willey says the display is still the same—with the clippers on the ground and with no safety precautions in place—and he argues that needs to change.
“Lowe’s has a responsibility to keep its premise reasonably safe,” Willey says. “And here, we know exactly what could’ve been done—a very cheap fix—plastic covers over the blade, a tie strap, which they sell by the thousands. [There are] very easy, cheap fixes in order to make this store more safe, which should be the priority of any store owner.”
Lowe’s has not responded to a request for comment.
The following slideshow shows Johnson’s injury. Some may find the images very disturbing.
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