Suit: no warning that 10,000-lb. safe was risky to move

by Walter Olson on April 27, 2010

Trying to move the contents of his Duval Street store to another location, a jeweler in Key West, Fla. was killed when the enormously heavy object fell on him; his widow’s suit “claims that Mutual Safe Co. and Harwood’s Miami Safe Co. failed to warn her husband of the life-threatening risks involved in moving the 10,000-pound, refrigerator-sized safe, according to the lawsuit filed in Monroe County circuit court Tuesday.” [Adam Linhardt, Key West Citizen; & welcome Lowering the Bar readers]


1 Richard Nieporent 04.27.10 at 6:13 am

Another Darwin Award winner!

2 Bob Lipton 04.27.10 at 6:50 am

Does no one watch Looney Tunes any more?


3 Doug 04.27.10 at 6:55 am

Wouldn’t that have been an open and obvious hazard? But, less seriously, I was thinking along the above lines myself.

4 VMS 04.27.10 at 6:58 am

But in Looney Tunes, Wile E. Coyote seemed alright after he was hit with a 5 ton safe dropped off of a cliff. He just shook it off!

5 John 04.27.10 at 7:20 am

Bob and VMS:

We aren’t allowed to watch Looney Tunes any more – it’s too violent.

6 Todd Rogers 04.27.10 at 8:47 am

Why wasn’t Isaac Newton also named in this suit? Clearly he could have done more to warn humanity about the dangers of mixing gravity and multi-ton objects.

7 Kurt 04.27.10 at 10:05 am

So you are saying they should be sueing Warner Bros. instead?

8 Jeff Hall 04.27.10 at 10:59 am

I’d think that a jeweler would know everything there is to know about the practicalities of owning a safe, including the importance of not being under one when it is falling.

9 VMS 04.27.10 at 9:27 pm


Of course, and it was probably legal malpractice not to name them!

10 SmartGuy 04.27.10 at 10:28 pm

1) Who in their right mind moves a 5 ton safe by himself, using only with a do-it-yourself jack?
2) The unfortunate Mr. Gelman was still alive when half the population of Key West showed up and managed to remove the safe.
3) He died on-route to the nearest appropriate trauma center, which was a nightmarish Kiss of Death 4 hour ambulance ride away in Miami. Trauma specialists speak of the “Golden Hour”: that first hour after injury, when aggressive skilled treatment is most effective at saving lives.
4) The distinguished Florida trial lawyer industry is responsible for the closure of proper trauma care throughout Florida, down to a handful of remaining centers. Yeah, no need for tort reform in Florida.

11 Kevin 04.28.10 at 2:36 pm

In the interests of full disclosure, here is a partial list of other hazards that the safe manufacturer should disclose:

Should not be transported by Bike Messenger
Cannot be transported as Hand Baggage on most domestic air carriers.
Do not place in Microwave Ovens.
May not be used as a Flotation Device!

12 Bob Lipton 04.28.10 at 4:12 pm

Do not feed to children. May contain lead.


13 Bill H 04.28.10 at 10:16 pm

Your Mileage May Vary.

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