The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

Musher suing Kershaw over nearly severed finger

Former Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey is suing Kershaw Knives for making a knife that nearly severed his finger and forced him to quit the famed dog sled race last year, according to Anchorage Daily News (h/t BladeForums.com).

Seavey was using a Kershaw folding knife, which featured a gut hook, a common tool used by mushers to slice plastic ties, when it accidentally closed on his finger. The damage was severe enough for officials to make him bow out of the race.

Seavey accuses the knife company of being negligent because of what his attorney claims to be a serious design flaw. A lever that releases the blade from locking position is in the middle of the handle and can be accidentally depressed when using the gut hook.

As a result of his injury, he was forced to quit the Iditarod when he was in fourth place. Even worse, his finger was reattached at an awkward angle, so now it gets in the way. He wants at least $100,000 in damages and lost wages.

While this is a serious injury and debilitating injury, a lot of the burden falls on Seavey to prove that it’s Kershaw’s fault and that he would have won the race.

Here’s more from Greenwich Time:

The lawsuit centers on the most essential of tools in a dog musher’s sled. A knife offers security, said Two Rivers musher Aliy Zirkle, who carries at least three blades on the trail, including one clipped to her parka.

If a dog’s leg becomes wrapped in a line or the team tangles itself around a tree, the musher must quickly cut the animals loose, she said. At checkpoints, racers use blades to slash open food bags or pry ice from frozen sled runners.

Even though knives are common in sledding, severe knife injuries are not. Of the few that happen, four-time champion Lance Mackey attributes the slices to carelessness.

When doing tasks that require a lot of force, it’s always a better idea to use a fixed blade knife because they are less likely to fail.

Kershaw has yet to make a statement about the lawsuit.

4 Comments

  1. Hence the name gut hook. little or no resistence to cutting. A tie strap on the other hand is not a gut. Should have turned the blade around and used the full blade to cut. Proper planning was not used in this situation. As always the proper tool for the work at hand. Law suit should be thrown out. Manufacturers shiould not be held responsible for someones ignorance.

  2. I’ve been trying to find out the exact model he was using. Is it the one pictured?

  3. I’m sorry……knives are very sharp and are dangerous. Extreme care must be exercised. I’m sorry the dude cut himself…..I truly, truly am, however if the knife was never touched it couldn’t have cut him, so it’s not really the knife’s fault because it was doing nothing until he picked it up.

  4. Lockbacks are features not design flaws. All folding knives are best reserved for light use.

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