LAS VEGAS (CN) – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid says defective exercise equipment caused the badly bruised and broken face that caused widespread speculation about him last January, and he wants its maker to pay.
In a lawsuit filed in Clark County circuit court October 6, Reid, 75, says he was using a TheraBand on New Year’s Day when it either broke or slipped from his hand, “causing him to spin around and strike his face on a cabinet.”
The device, manufactured by defendants Performance Health and distributors Hygenic and Hygenic Intangible Property Holding, is a latex band used in resistance exercises. It is often for rehabilitating muscles after surgery or injury.
Reid says he suffered severe pain and injuries as a result of the mishap, including broken ribs and orbital bones, severe disfigurement, facial lacerations and bruising, a concussion, scarring and loss of vision in his right eye.
The sight of Reid’s bandaged and badly bruised face sparked a great deal of speculation about its cause, including rumors of a fight with his brother, an encounter with boxing champ Floyd Mayweather Jr., a motorcycle accident, a bull-riding mishap, and others.
The rumors became so rampant that Reid posted a video on his YouTube channel to dispel the rumors and assure his constituents and others that he is healthy and able to continue doing his job.
Reid says the TheraBand is a single piece of elastic material, similar to a giant rubber band, which enables him to exercise in a limited space without using bulky weights and other exercise equipment. The band’s elastic resistance works the body’s muscle groups and bones while stretching it during a variety of exercises.
Performance health should have known people would wrap the band around their hands or feet and attach one end to a door or other fixture while exercising, creating a potentially dangerous situation if the band slips or breaks, Reid says.
Despite the apparent dangers involved in using the TheraBand, especially for the elderly or people recovering from foot or hand injuries, Reid says Performance Health did not include warnings of the inherent dangers of the likelihood of it breaking or bother to use a safer design.
Reid and his wife, Landra Gould, seek damages, including punitive damages, for strict liability, negligence, failure to warn, and loss of consortium.
James M. Morgan of Lanzone Morgan represents Reid and Gould and did not reply to requests seeking comment.
Performance Health officials were not immediately available for comment.
Reid is a former U.S. Senate Majority Leader and won election to the Senate in 1987 after serving as a congressman and as Nevada’s lieutenant governor. He recently announced he would retire from politics upon the conclusion of his current term, which ends in 2016.
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