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A Tale of Two Defective Product Lawsuits

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Fort Wayne, INDefective product personal injury lawsuits will always be a varied lot, as varied as the products alleged to be defective. And with good reason. Consumers quite rightfully assume that a product has been properly tested and vetted before coming to market, that it delivers the benefit promised or your money back. Product liability lawyers are always busy, as they should be.

In two very different defective product lawsuits, a woman nearly had two fingers severed in a tanning booth, while a man was burned and scarred after using a product designed for a baby.

The latter defective product lawsuit was filed after Nicholas Fitzgerald, who cannot care for himself, came into contact with 'Head to Toe Baby Wash' manufactured by Johnson & Johnson and applied by Maxim Health Care Services, the care provider for Fitzgerald.

The lawsuit, filed in Allen Superior Court by Fitzgerald's mother Diana, claims the younger Fitzgerald was scarred when the product was applied to his skin. According to an account in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, not only did the product cause burns but also served to permanently impair his feeding access.

The lawsuit names Johnson & Johnson, Maxim and Meijer, the retailer that vended the product, as defendants.

As for the tanning salon story, how does one nearly severe fingers in a tanning booth?

Here's how. In 2004 Savannah Boles entered an upright tanning booth manufactured by Sun Ergoline Inc. and, once inside reached above her head expecting to find handles with which to grasp.

Instead she found a whirling blade. The Colorado Springs Business Journal reports that two of her fingers were partially amputated when the woman reached up and her fingers passed through the guard wires below a fan.

Boles sued the manufacturer, alleging a defective product. However, Boles had also signed a waiver releasing the manufacture and all other entities from liability. Based on the waiver, the trial judge dismissed the case and found for the defendant.

The Court of Appeals upheld the ruling. Today, on October 1st, the Colorado Supreme Court will hear an argument by Boles asking that Colorado public policy prohibit the release of a manufacturer from liability for a defective product.

It is not known if there was any signage affixed to either the exterior, or the interior of the booth warning of the presence of the fan and the potential for injury resulting from the fan. Specifically, the potential for injury given that the guard wires were allegedly spaced too far apart to prevent fingers from coming into contact with the blades.


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