PARKERSBURG -- A Waverly woman and her husband say the woman sustained irreversible injuries to her right hand after she was ordered to operate a machine she was not trained to run.

Dreama D. Powell and William N. Powell Jr. filed a lawsuit Aug. 14 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia against Parkersburg Bedding.

Dreama Powell claims she normally worked as a ruffler operator for Parkersburg Bedding at its mattress manufacturing facility in Parkersburg.

However, on Nov. 29, 2007, the ruffler machine was broken, so Dreama Powell was ordered to operate the cut down table, which was normally equipped with a guard over a blade, according to the complaint. But when Dreama Powell was ordered to work on the machine, the guard had been removed to make the machine faster, the suit states.

To make matters worse, Dreama Powell had never operated the cut down table before, despite a company policy that required all employees work only on equipment on which they had been trained, the complaint says.

"While operating the cut down table, Plaintiff's right hand came into contact with the unguarded blade on the cut down table, and plaintiff suffered debilitating injuries to the nerves, muscles and other structures of her dominant right hand," the suit states.

Dreama Powell claims she suffered laceration of her extensor carpi ulnaris, laceration of the digiti minimi right hand, enlarged ulnar styloid, distal radioulnar joint instability, permanent loss of grip in her right hand and permanent lifting restrictions of 10 pounds.

In addition, she experienced extreme physical pain and suffering, permanent physical impairment, loss of wages, loss of future earning capacity and loss of her capacity to enjoy life, incurred medical costs and sustained annoyance, inconvenience, permanent scarring and disfigurement, the suit states.

William N. Powell Jr. says he has lost his wife's consortium, society and companionship.

In the two-count suit, the Powells are seeking compensatory damages, costs, attorney's fees, pre- and post-judgment interest and other relief to which they may be entitled.

Timothy C. Bailey and Paula L. Wilson of Bucci, Bailey and Javins in Charleston will be representing them.

U.S. District Court case number: 6:09-950

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