Rafael Jimenez, a father of four, had been stuffing branches of a Chinese elm tree into the wood chipper in Inglewood in April when his right hand got caught in the branches, the suit said.
The machine, whose steel knives swallow a 20-inch branch in a second, took Jimenez's hand, then his elbow and shoulder, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday. The chipper pulled Jimenez in so far all that remained were his feet and left hand, the newspaper said.
The suit against the manufacturer of the machine, based Morbark Inc., alleges the company, based in Michigan, knew for years the machine's safety features were insufficient but did nothing to prevent injuries and deaths.
A Morbark spokesman declined comment.
In depositions for prior suits, the company said it knew of 150 to 180 injuries involving its machines in the past 20 years.
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