Man files lawsuit against Mercedes after power door cuts off his thumb

Originally published at: Man files lawsuit against Mercedes after power door cuts off his thumb | Boing Boing


I’d assume something like that would have a sensor, like a modern garage door, that reverses if it senses much resistance. Maybe it was set on the wrong side of “don’t cut off fingers.”



One time when I was little I was in a hurry and got into our car and I some how slammed my pinky into the fucking door and hurt myself further pulling it out.

Luckily it was not broke and the soft tissue damage healed. I still have no idea how I managed to clutz that one up.


How much torque can that soft close door apply, and/or are this person’s bones essentially as tough as a Slim Jim?

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Was it his thumb that got cut off, or some other protuberance(s)?

Sounds like a Land Shark’s description of a cop.
Sure enough, from the linked article:
a lawsuit filed by plaintiff Richard J. Kastigar, Jr., who is chief deputy of the Pima County Sheriff Department in Arizona

Hmmm. Didn’t know his arm got chopped off… even so, he still has a spare. /s

A couple of years ago, I broke my left wrist. Didn’t ‘need assistance’ doing any of those activites listed by the Land Shark. As far as ‘great difficulties’ are concerned, the only one that would seem to apply would be tying shoes.
Those other activities didn’t give me ‘great difficulties’. Couldn’t do 'em as quickly, but one finds work-arounds to the usual methods of Doing Things.
I noticed that ‘cooking’ wasn’t listed anywhere. Make of that what you will…
I am left-handed, & essentially had to learn to write with the Wrong Hand; it’s actually more legible.

As is noted in the article, similar suits have been thrown out before:
Mercedes-Benz isn’t the only automaker to be sued over soft-close doors, as Jaguar and BMW have also faced similar claims about a lack of sensors.
In the case against BMW, the judge dismissed the lawsuit by saying humans have been slamming their fingers in car doors since doors were invented and BMW’s doors are no exception.

Too bad about his thumb; delusions of grandeur sometimes come with a price.


No more nude driving for me. I never knew I was at such a risk.


I empathize with this guy. Nobody should have a body part severed by a convenience mechanism that should have protective measures built into it, but “now relies on his wife to assist him with going to the bathroom, showering, brushing his teeth, getting dressed and buttoning his shirt. He has great difficulties holding a pen, feeding himself, tying his own shoes, using tools and assisting around the house with chores such as laundry and washing dishes.”?

I have an uncle who ties fishing flies with two fingers and three nubs on one hand. (and weirdly, he can pinch the hell out of you with the nubs…),so I don’t buy the “oh he’s lost all independence” statement from the lawyer. I get that that’s necessary to whip up a jury or the media, but it’d be nice to see legal things argued from a point of reasonableness and honesty for once.

But I guess “It really hurt, and now he’s missing part of a thumb, which is a pain in the ass. I mean he’ll get by but it’s going to suck for a while, and c’mon he’s literally missing a part of his body due to the errors of this company” isn’t as gripping a narrative.


You’re going to have to put that car down.

You can’t just let them wander around once they start seeing human beings as prey. It’s sad, but that’s nature.


The description of his hardship does make it feel like he had his other arm cut off by a band saw and they forgot to include it in the story.

I would have thought door severed thumb would be enough but I am not a lawyer.


lawsuit filed by plaintiff Richard J. Kastigar, Jr., who is chief deputy of the Pima County Sheriff Department in Arizona

Why didn’t he just shoot it?


Wasn’t even his whole thumb.

I had a similar problem with my jeans. Although, it wasn’t my thumb.


who remembers that story about a guy who had his thumb cut by his robber

Similarly (as an adult) I slammed my thumb in my car door, hard enough that the door latched shut and I had to re-open it to get my thumb out. It was a bit bruised, but nothing serious. Maybe I should be thankful that the car had poorer panel fit than a Mercedes?


“One of the distinguishing features of Homo sapiens is opposable thumbs. The defendant’s negligence has robbed the plaintiff of his very humanity!”

– counsel for the plaintiff, probably

Lots of victim-blaming and mockery in this thread, based on his lawyer’s over-the-top hyperbole, but the fact remains that he lost part of his thumb as a result of Mercedes’ negligent design. Garage door openers, stair lifts, and other powered devices are designed to shut off if they meet any resistance. Why wasn’t that built in to this (unnecessary) feature?

Is the door closer powerful enough to sever a small child’s hand at the wrist? Would that still be something to shrug off?


Exactly. My reaction would be “THEY TOOK MY THUMB, CHARLIE!!!”

As someone who has already had that opportunity to lose my thumb many times in my life, I’m glad it hasn’t happened to me.

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In the video the door appears to close from about 6 inches open down to completely shut, so it could decapitate your toddler. Is that actually what’s happening or did a human do the initial closure?

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