Defective Plastic Stool Causes Femur Break and Permanent Limp

Shaw v. Kennedy International, Inc., No. 2:11-cv-02552-JPM (W.D. Tenn. 2012)

We had the privilege of representing a housewife who suffered a life-long injury when a plastic stool broke and caused her to fall. She had purchased a plastic folding stool from TJ Max and has used it one or two times before her fall. While getting ready for church on Sunday, she stood on the stool to examine her dress in her bathroom mirror when, without warning, the stool shattered; she fell in an odd position, breaking her right femur in nine different places. Despite multiple surgeries and extensive physical therapy, our client was left with a permanent limp.

We were retained and had the stool examined by Dr. Duane Priddy, a preeminent plastics expert recognized throughout the nation, He determined that the stool was made in China and was manufactured from used plastic that had dirt particles in it; these particles cause the plastic to be weak and not suited for use as a stool.  We also retained an import/export expert, who opined that the U.S. distributor of the stool had not reasonably examined and inspected the stools when importing them for sale in the United States. Lastly, because our client was attempting to return to the work force as a hospital chaplin at the time of her accident, we retained a vocational expert to opine as to her loss future wages.

The distributor of the ladder did not concede that the Chinese manufacturer was beyond Tennessee’s jurisdiction. However, we were able to obtain summary judgment to this effect, so that our client could hold the distributor responsible as if had been the actual manufacturer. See, Shaw v. Kennedy International, Inc., No. 2:11-cv-02552-JPM (W.D. Tenn. Feb. 7, 2012). Following summary judgment, we were able to obtain a very favorable settlement for our client.