Another lawsuit has been filed against a shoe company that some attorneys say has been knowingly causing injuries for a decade.
A Texas couple is suing footwear maker Crocs after their toddler son's foot was caught in an escalator while wearing the malleable clogs.
The family was visiting a Waikiki resort in Hawaii in 2014 when they stepped onto an escalator. The 2-year-old boy's foot was sucked into a space between a step and the sidewall of the escalator. The boy travelled almost the entire distance between floors with his foot stuck before a bystander was able to activate an emergency stop button.
According to the lawsuit, the boy required emergency surgery in Hawaii and two more surgeries back home in Texas to repair the torn skin, broken bones and severed tendons and muscles, and he may have suffered permanent damage.
The parents are suing the resort for negligent in maintaining the escalator's safety and they are suing Crocs for what they say are "negligently and improperly designed" shoes. According to reports in the United States and abroad, the shoes' flexibility and grip cause them to get caught in the “teeth” at the bottom or top of the escalator, or in the crack between the steps and the side of the escalator. All reports of serious injury have involved children.
According to the current lawsuit, Crocs knew as early as 2008 that children suffered severe injuries when the shoes got stuck in escalators. However, a lawsuit from 2012 stated the company knew as early as 2005 that the shoes were dangerous for young children to wear on escalators. In the 2012 case, a 4-year-old girl lost a toe after her Crocs-clad foot got stuck in an escalator. At that time, the law firm handling the lawsuit had represented more than a dozen others suing the shoe manufacturer. Lawyers, in that case, said a warning tag Crocs puts on its shoes is insufficient to make parents aware of the dangers.
Although a 2010 article in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics did not specifically name Crocs in its study, the authors concluded that:
“Escalator-related foot injuries involving rubber clogs can result in severe crushing of the foot and even traumatic amputation. The broad toe-box design may give a false perception of the distance between the foot and the side of the escalator, whereas the ‘softness' of these rubber clogs makes them vulnerable to crush by moving escalator steps. Injuries sustained can be significant and permanent. The potential dangers of escalators and rubber clogs must not be underestimated.”
Products liability law deals with the responsibility of any party along the chain of manufacture of a product for damage caused by that product. Depending upon the jurisdiction in which the injury occurred, products liability claims can be based on several criteria:
- Negligence or failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.
- Strict liability, when a defendant is in legal jeopardy by virtue of a wrongful act, without any accompanying intent.
- Breach of warranty, where the buyer is purchasing goods based on the judgement of the seller that the products are suitable.
If you have been injured or a loved one killed as a result of what you suspect is product liability, call the offices of trial attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian at 1-800-529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.