Theatre worker lost thumb, blames college

By John O'Brien | Nov 10, 2006

MORGANTOWN - A Morgantown man says that while he was working on props for a musical play at Waynesburg College in Pennsylvania, he cut himself with a saw, lost his thumb and nearly lost his hand.

Steven Hawkins filed a lawsuit Oct. 31 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Waynesburg College, alleging that the incident was the fault of the college's.

He says the college failed to provide training, supervision, operator's manuals or warnings of the "inherent dangers of operating miter saws."

Hawkins was a nursing student taking Introduction to Theatre in February 2005 when the alleged incident occurred.

"On Feb. 23, 2005, as Plaintiff was operating a Craftsman 10-inch compound miter saw in the Performing Arts Center, suddenly and without warning, his left shirt sleeve was pulled into the blade area of the saw, resulting in severe and serious injuries involving fractures of the left thumb and small fingers; traumatic amputation of the left hand at the forearm; subsequent re-plantation of the left hand; subsequent surgical amputation of the left thumb; scar tissue contractures, injuries to the tendons, muscles, ligaments, arteries, veins and tissue of the left forearm and hand; and shock and injury to the nerves and nervous systems," the complaint says.

Hawkins is seeking compensation for medical expenses, great pain and suffering, inconvenience, embarrassment, loss of enjoyment of life, impairment of health, strength and vitality, loss of earnings and earning potential and disfigurement.

He adds that Waynesburg was negligent in "failing to adequately inspect the miter saws for evidence of mishandling, misuse and/or abuse by students who were allowed and/or required to use the miter saws."

Cindy Stine of Pittsburgh law firm Goldberg, Persky and White is representing Hawkins.

Monongalia Circuit Court case number 06-C-702

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