On October 27, 2014 Daniel Taylor was working on William Sulltrop’s farm in Howard County, Missouri and operating a John Deere 3 row corn picker. Taylor had worked on Sulltrop’s farm as a full-time farm hand for approximately 8 years and had operated the corn picker on multiple occasions. The corn picker would often get stopped up with corn stalks and weeds requiring the operator to stop and manually pull the clog out of the machine. Often the clog would occur in the corn picker’s “husking bin”.
After removing a clog from the machine, Taylor was standing near the corn picker’s husking bin while Sulltrop turned the corn picker back on to “run out” the remaining clog. It was at this time Taylor grabbed ahold of a corn stalk that was sticking several feet out of the husking bin and the stalk was suddenly sucked into the huski ng bin’s rollers, along with Taylor’s left hand. Shortly after discovering Taylor was caught in the machine, Sulltrop shut it down. It took approximately 30 minutes for the farmers to remove Taylor’s hand from the roller. Taylor was taken to University Hospital where the remainder of his left hand was amputated.
Initially, American Family denied liability as Taylor was familiar with the corn picker and was allegedly aware of the dangers of the machine. However Taylor’s attorneys argued that Taylor was not familiar with the specifically known danger of the corn picker’s husking bin’s roller as reported in numerous farm bulletins readily found on the internet. That is, the husking bin’s rollers would spin at a rate of 12 feet per second. That means a farm worker holding a stalk, even at a distance of three feet away from a roller, has less than a half a second to let go. Taylor’s attorneys further argued that Sulltrop should have been aware of this fact and should have trained his employees of the specific known danger of the husking bin’s rollers.
The case settled shortly after the lawsuit was filed