A Pennsylvania woman filed a lawsuit against Aldi, alleging that the German-based grocery chain allowed its store brand turkey burgers to be sold without burn risk warning labels. The woman claims that she suffered burns on her hands and forearms after a turkey burger exploded while she cooked it according to the labeling instructions.
The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff suffered scarring, permanent loss of use of a bodily function, and loss of enjoyment of usual duties as a result of the accident-related burns. The woman seeks damages in excess of $35,000.
Products Liability and Warning Labels
The woman's lawsuit claims that Aldi placed a defective product into the stream of commerce. A product can be considered to be defective it if lacks a proper warning label. While manufacturers are not required to warn consumers of a product's obvious dangers, they are required to warn of hidden dangers and dangers that they know can arise if the product is misused.
Manufacturers also have a responsibility to instruct users on how to properly prepare or use a product in a way that diminishes the risks of injuries. If a manufacturer fails to properly warn a consumer about the dangers of its product, the manufacturer can be held liable for any injuries or damages caused by the product. In this case, the woman argues that the manufacturer should have included a warning label, informing consumers that the turkey burgers have a risk of causing burn injuries.
In order to succeed on a failure-to-warn claim against a manufacturer, a plaintiff must show that the manufacturer had a responsibility to warn the plaintiff about the dangers of the product, the manufacturer failed to provide an adequate warning, and the failure to provide the warning resulted in the plaintiff's injuries. In many failure-to-warn personal injury cases, a manufacturer may argue that the injury a plaintiff suffered was so obvious and preventable that no warning was necessary.
The McDonald's Coffee Case
Many people are familiar with the famous Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants case, which involved a failure-to-warn claim. The case involved a woman from New Mexico who sued McDonald's after spilling a hot cup of coffee on her lap.
The woman suffered from third-degree burns that required skin grafting surgery and years of medical treatment. There was a warning label on the coffee cup, but the court found that the warning was too small and gave an insufficient warning about the potential burn dangers that could result from hot coffee.
The plaintiff ended up settling the case for damages exceeding $600,000. This is one of the most well-known failure to warn cases in history and resulted in a documentary film being made about details of the lawsuit.