Local News in Brief : Jury Awards $860,000 in Defective-Machine Suit

A Van Nuys Superior Court jury Tuesday awarded a Northridge couple more than $860,000 for injuries the man sustained almost six years ago when his hand was crushed in what his attorney said was a defective machine.

Alfred Goldenberg, now 60, was a self-employed producer of plastic parts used in appliances in 1982 when his hand got caught in a machine manufactured by the Cleveland-based Van Dorn Co. He lost most of his right hand in the accident and has worn a sock over it since, said his attorney, David Drexler.

The accident occurred when Goldenberg tried to remove a plastic ring that lodged in the machinery just as there was a momentary power outage, Drexler said. The loss of power caused two clamps on the machine to close, crushing his client’s hand, the attorney said. If the machine had had the proper safety devices, Drexler argued, it would have shut down when the power lapsed.

Besides suing the Van Dorn Co. for negligence and product liability, Goldenberg had sued the Allen-Bradley Co., which manufactures a button on the machine. But the jury found that Allen-Bradley was not responsible.


In finding that Van Dorn was liable for the devices used on its machines, the jury ordered the company to pay Goldenberg more than $750,000 and his wife $112,000 for losses she suffered as a result of his injury.

Joseph Ryan Jr., who represented the Van Dorn Co., could not be reached for comment.