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May 22, 2017

Man gets $2 million after cutting off middle finger with saw in South Philly

What's adequate compensation for the loss of a finger?

How about 2 million bucks?

That's how much Alex Mai received from the manufacturer of the table saw that cut off his middle finger at a South Philly job site, according to his lawyers.

Messa & Associates said in a press release Monday it had reached a settlement with Ryobi Technologies and its parent company, One World Technologies, for the "defective" tool that severed Mai's bird flipper at the knuckle and caused nerve damage to the index finger on his right hand.

Mai, 19 years old at the time of the incident, had been cutting a piece of wood with a Ryobi table saw in 2012 when he suffered a kickback incident, causing his hand to make contact with the blade.

In 2002, Ryobi had agreed to implement the SawStop technology on its saws, which causes the blade to stop running once it detects human flesh.

But Ryobi didn't implement the technology because it didn't want to pay royalties to its creator Stephen Gass, ignoring warnings from the Consumer Product Safety Commission about the safety of its saws without SawStop, the Philadelphia-based law firm claims.

An email request for comment to Ryobi wasn't immediately returned late Monday morning.

This isn't the first time Ryobi has been forced to shell out cash because of a table saw incident. A man who mutilated his hand using one of their power tools in 2004 was awarded $1.5 million by a jury after asking for $250,000 in damages to cover medical expenses.

Messa & Associates said it still has two cases pending in Pennsylvania and New York against Ryobi regarding its table saws.