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Jones v. Ryobi, Ltd.

U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
37 F.3d 423 (8th Cir. 1994)


Jones (plaintiff) was employed to operate a printing press manufactured by Ryobi, Ltd. and distributed by A.B. Dick Corporation (A.B.) (defendants). To ensure proper printing, the operator of the press must frequently adjust the wheels that eject the paper from the press. When it was sold, the press had a safety guard that prevented an operator from reaching into the moving parts of the press to adjust the eject wheels, and an interlock switch which shut off the press if the safety guard was opened. After the press was manufactured and distributed to Jones’s employer, the safety guard and interlock switch were removed. This modification is a common practice in the industry, allowing the press’s eject wheels to be adjusted without stopping the press. Jones’s hand was caught and crushed when she was adjusting the eject wheels on the running press. She brought a strict liability claim for defective design against Ryobi and A.B. At the close of Jones’s case, the district court granted judgment as a matter of law for Ryobi and A.B. based on the open and obvious nature of the press’s dangers. Jones appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Fagg, J.)

Dissent (Heaney, J.)

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