Sen. Reid, wife sue makers of exercise band

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid and his wife are suing the makers of a resistance exercise band the politician has blamed for a January accident that left him blind in his right eye.

Reid, D-Nev., and his wife, Landra Gould, filed a product liability lawsuit Tuesday in Clark County District Court against three defendants: Hygenic Intangible Property Holding Co., The Hygenic Corp. and Performance Health LLC.

Representatives of the defendants could not be reached for immediate comment.

According to the lawsuit, the three companies "combined to create, manufacture and market a defective product called TheraBand or Thera-Band exercise band."

Reid, 75, claims he was injured while exercising with the band on Jan. 1 at his Henderson home.

"The TheraBand was mounted to a sturdy object in his bathroom," according to the lawsuit. "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."

According to the document, Reid suffered "loss of vision in his right eye, a concussion, broken orbital bones, severe disfigurement and bruising to his face, hand injuries, facial lacerations, scarring, and broken ribs."

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of negligence and failure to warn.

"Defendants knew or had constructive knowledge of the danger of injury to consumers, especially to the elderly, as a result of TheraBands breaking or slipping out of their hands while mounted to various sturdy objects," the complaint alleges.

Despite this knowledge, according to the lawsuit, the defendants failed to include warnings about such dangers in the packaging insert.

"Defendants failed to warn the elderly, and those with extensive damage to their hands and feet, of the increased risk of the danger of using TheraBand by that demographic population," the complaint alleges.

An appropriate warning would have prompted Reid "to take precautions to avoid his injuries," according to the complaint.

The lawsuit also includes a claim for loss of consortium and seeks an award of punitive damages.

"Defendants had knowledge of the probable harmful consequences of their actions and willfully and deliberately failed to act to avoid those consequences, justifying an award of punitive damages," according to the document.

The lawsuit indicates that Reid and Gould have been married since 1959, and that Reid has served in the U.S. Senate since January 1987. Reid, currently Senate minority leader, announced in March that he will not seek re-election next year.

Reid maintained that his decision to retire was not linked to health concerns, nor to the prospect of facing an uphill re-election campaign in 2016.

Rather, he said in a recorded announcement, the accident caused him and his wife "to have a little down time. I have had time to ponder and to think."

"We've got to be more concerned about the country, the Senate, the state of Nevada than about ourselves. And as a result of that, I'm not going to run for re-election."

Reid and Gould have retained Las Vegas attorney James M. Morgan and Florida attorney Jim Wilkes to represent them in the product liability case.

Contact Carri Geer Thevenot at cgeer@reviewjournal.com or 702-384-8710. Find her on Twitter: @CarriGeer