“Jurors award $2 million in child’s mower death”

Lawyers successfully urge a Virginia jury to send a message:

Justin Simmons was killed in April 2004 in Daleville, north of Roanoke, when a mower operated at his daycare center rolled backward while going up a slope and over the child….

The jury held MTD responsible for not designing a mower that automatically stops its blades whenever it rolls backward. No such mower exists or has ever been tested, [company attorney John] Fitzpatrick said.

The company also argued that the operator of the mower, whose wife was the daycare provider, had ignored safety warnings. (“Jurors award $2 million in child’s mower death– company to appeal”, AP/Richmond Times-Dispatch, Jun. 15).

More: Considerable further detail is to be found in Mike Allen’s coverage for the Roanoke Times: “Lawyers for lawn mower maker, operator lay blame in boy’s death”, Jun. 8, and “Lawn mower company liable in boy’s death”, Jun. 15.

More: Aug. 18.


  • I just bought a John Deere lawn tractor that has an annoying feature: a dashboard button must be held down while the tractor is put in reverse, else the engine is shut off. Guess I can look forward to many more engineered inconveniences in the future.

  • I would like to know if the lawyers have promised to place a portion of their fees into a company that will design, build and market such a mower. I mow going forward and in reverse, do they want to make it impossible to do so?

  • In this, as in many other endeavors, the people bringing the ludicrous theories will not be the ones having to actually live with the results (ver se a lawyer, especially a wealthy one, doing his own lawn?), so what do they care what happens AFTER the suit? All that matters is that they get their pay-day.