Remember when Harry Reid was seriously injured in his own bathroom while using an exercise band to work out? There’s an ongoing civil lawsuit over the injury and yesterday the Associated Press reported an attorney defending the company argued what happened was an accident caused by Reid losing his grip and maintaining a proper stance:
A lawyer for elastic exercise band maker TheraBand blamed former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid on Tuesday for his own serious injuries, including blindness in his right eye, suffered when he says his grip slipped and he fell while using a flexible device on New Year’s Day 2015.
With the former Democratic party leader, now 79, sitting in a wheelchair in a Las Vegas courtroom, company attorney Laurin Quiat told a civil trial jury that congressional exercise advisers tried for months to teach Reid to improve his foot stance, balance and technique while using the resistance bands at his doctors’ recommendation…
No one will contend that Reid intentionally let go of the exercise band that had been looped through a shower door, the company attorney said. But jurors might surmise that Reid lost his balance because he was dangerously leaning away instead of using the wide and balanced stance he’d been advised to use with the bands…
“Sen. Reid was improperly using a flat resistance band that morning and he’s responsible for his own injuries,” the company attorney said.
Reid’s own attorney seems to admit the band slipped from his hand while he was using it in a room full of hard surfaces:
“The evidence will show that he was using a band … it slipped from the hand, he spun to the right … and landed right on the eye,” [Reid’s attorney James] Wilkes said, telling jurors they’ll hear from doctors and see photos of Reid’s bathroom with hard granite and marble counter tops.
Back when the accident happened in 2015, I seem to remember Reid claiming the band broke and that’s what caused the injury. Sure enough, down below is a clip from C-Span of him telling reporters, “I was doing exercises that I’d been doing for many years with those large rubber bands and one of them broke and spun me around and I crashed into these cabinets and injured my eye.”
That clip is from January 2015. By April 2015, Reid had changed his story and told Jorge Ramos, “…the strap had no handle on it—slipped, spun me around.”
So which is it? Well, when he filed his lawsuit in October 2015, he included both stories:
The couple is seeking more than $50,000 in damages from three companies: Hygenic Intangible Property Holding Co., the Hygenic Corp. and Performance Health, according to documents filed with Clark County District Court…
“While in use, the TheraBand broke or slipped out of Mr. Reid’s hand, causing him to spin around and strike his face on a cabinet,” the lawsuit states. It goes on to say the injury caused a loss of vision in his right eye, broken bones in his face and broken ribs.
It seems to me there’s a fairly significant difference between “one of them broke” and “it slipped from the hand.” The former is arguably a defect with the product itself which could result in injury. The latter sounds more like an accident or user error.
Because the band used by Reid that day was thrown away along with other similar bands he owned, the defense attorney argued it’s not even certain his clients manufactured the band Reid was using that day. Here’s a clip of opening arguments in the case: