Home Depot To Pay Ex-Employee $25M For Invention

When Michael Powell invented a device called ‘Safe Hands’ that protected workers from slicing off their fingers while cutting wood at Home Depot, he offered to sell his invention to the company at $2,000 per installed protector. Instead, Home Depot executives stole his invention, duplicated the device, and installed it at 2,000 stores. One arrogant Home Depot executive, when confronted that the invention belonged to Powell, stated ‘F**k Michael Powell, let him sue us.’ And that is exactly what Powell did.

A recent news article states:

The crass response typifies the company’s attitude toward Powell, who crafted a simple, yet ingenious, way to keep Home Depot employees from slicing off their fingers while they’re cutting wood for customers, a federal judge said Monday.

“Home Depot knew exactly what it was doing,” U.S. District Judge Daniel Hurley said. “They simply pushed Mr. Powell away and they did it totally and completely for their own economic benefit.”

Calling the company callous and arrogant, he ordered it to pay the former Boca Raton man $3 million in punitive damages. That’s on top of the $15 million a jury in March said the company should pay him for stealing his so-called “Safe Hands” gadget that is now affixed to radial saws at nearly 2,000 Home Depots nationwide.

The damages for Home Depot don’t end there. Hurley also ordered the firm to pay Powell’s attorneys the $2.8 million they say they are owed, and to pay Powell an estimated $1 million in interest annually on the judgment. The interest began building in 2006 and will continuing accruing until Home Depot pays up.

The roughly $25 million judgment could have been avoided had the company agreed in 2004 to pay Powell the $2,000 he offered to charge for each device. That bill would have come to $4 million.

I would venture a guess that the Home Depot executive will still get a hefty bonus, despite his arrogant behavior that cost the company money. After all, that does seem to be the way corporate America functions!

Comments welcome.

Source – The Palm Beach Post News

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Home Depot Selling Computers Online

My buddy Charlie from Pioneer, CA sent me a link to Home Depot which shows that they are now selling laptop computers online. I took a look at some of the brands and Home Depot is carrying Toshiba, Samsung, Lenovo, HP, Panasonic and a few other brands So I compared pricing of one brand that Home Depot, Circuit City and Best Buy carry and which I bought bought back in November of last year.

There are two different models, one with a Intel CPU [Home Depopt & Circuit City] and the other with a AMD CPU [Best Buy] which I bought because of pricing. The laptop is a Toshiba 17″ Tru-Brite screen, 3GB Ram, 250 HD, Vista Home Premium, and web cam. Here are the different prices available from each store.

Best Buy:  $549

Home Depot:  $703

Circuit City:  $679

I seriously doubt that the performance difference between the Intel CPU and AMD CPU warrants the difference of $130 or more.

Comments welcome.

Microsoft Willing To Pay You To Search

In a move that will have some people shaking their heads and other filling their wallets, Microsoft will announce a new Live Search feature coupled with online retailers. The program will apy cash back for certain online purchases. Microsoft is hoping that this may stimulate the use of their search engine over the other guys. You know. The other guy Google.

In a sneak peak from Todd Bishop at seattlepi.com, he states that Bill Gates will make the big announcement on Wednesday, May 22, 2008. Bishop states:

That is the idea behind a new Microsoft program that will return money to online users who find and buy selected products through its Live Search engine. It’s an unusual move that illustrates the lengths to which the Redmond company is willing to go in its struggle to gain ground on the Internet search king.

Microsoft’s “Live Search cashback” site, set to be unveiled Wednesday, promises to pay back a portion of the purchase price — ranging from about 2 percent to more than 30 percent — to people who use it to find designated products and buy them online from participating retailers.

The company has signed up a long list of merchants to participate in the program – including the online sites of large retailers such as Barnes & Noble, Sears, Home Depot, J&R Electronics, Office Depot and others.

Interesting proposition.  You know there has to be a question taht all of us will have to ask? Will we be willing to switch search engines to save a few bucks? This may be a lucrative venture for Microsoft since people are tightening their belts during this recession, oops, I mean economic down turn.


Home Depot Laptop Stolen – Employees At Risk

When I first read this story, the first thing I thought was, why does any laptop need to contain ALL 10,000 employees records? What makes matters worse is that the stolen laptop was not encrypted and merely was password protected. Gee, that should make it hard to crack. :-) If the employee who took it home was dumb enough to leave it sitting unattended one could conclude they may also have a mediocre password.

A Home Depot rep. stated that the employee information contained home addresses and social security information as well as other personal data. Home Depot is going to provide one year of credit monitoring for those employees who’s information could of been compromised. Monitoring? How about picking up the tab if in fact an employee suffers a credit breach?

It still amazes me that any company would allow any portable device to contain this much information. I wonder if the employee who’s laptop was stolen would like his personal information plastered all over the Internet? It also makes one wonder how many other companies still allows this much info to be stored on their systems?

What do you think? Should companies be more accountable for protecting their data?

Comments welcome.

[tags]home depot, laptop, stolen, data, employees, [/tags]

Gnome On The Range

It’s nice to be a homeowner, but it’s also a lot of work. The new Gnomestead is slowly coming together. We’ve accomplished most of our “move in” goals, although we’re still searching for a good local (Seattle) contractor to help us with a few of those last mile tasks. Seems all of the good ones are busy! We had the House Doctors come out and assemble a bid, but they wound up asking for twice as much as what it might normally cost. They’re reliable, but I don’t know if Ponzi and I are really in a position to pay a premium for that.

This past weekend, the live studio audience saw me install a wall-mounted ironing board. I was supposed to attach it to a couple of studs, but there were no beams where my wife wanted it to go. I did my best with their installation kit, but wound up hitting Home Depot for some angle brackets. They looked pretty damned ugly! Eventually, I decided to paint the entire thing – since it didn’t match our white trim, anyway (even though I thought I had ordered a white one in the first place).

So, then we painted and chatted and set up a conference call and chatted and painted and watched paint dry and chatted some more. Actually, it was me who was painting – and everyone else who was discussing my painting technique. I think I did a pretty good job, all things considered. I’m also happy to say that someone forgot to hit the Record button to document the entire ordeal. I had several “Oh, Fudge!” moments – only I didn’t say Fudge.

[tags]home depot, home improvement, weekend projects[/tags]