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Personal injury attorneys may want to pay attention to a First Circuit ruling issued last month on products liability claims against CROCS shoes.
FindLaw favorite Judge Bruce Selya opens with an amusing observation about the clogs' fashion faux pas: "CROCS are odd looking shoes, known for their comfort."
Odd looking yes, but dangerous around escalators? It's not clear, the surprisingly fashion conscious panel ruled.
The plaintiff's 9-year-old daughter allegedly sustained an injury to her right foot when her CROCS resin sandal became stuck in the side of an escalator.
The district court granted summary judgment to the shoemaker, ruling the plaintiff failed to meet her burden of proof under Massachusetts law that the shoes present a heightened risk of escalator entrapment. On appeal, the panel began -- and ended -- with the question of whether the plaintiff presented sufficient evidence to show the breach of some legally cognizable duty.
Under Massachusetts law, manufacturers have a duty to warn only where there is "some reason to suppose a warning is needed" -- namely, when it presents a risk. Here, the burden fell on the plaintiff to "make a tenable showing that CROCS pose a heightened risk of escalator entrapment."
The panel rejected the following "evidentiary pillars" of CROC escalator dangers proffered by the plaintiff:
Because her evidentiary arguments fell short of "sufficiently probative," the panel couldn't tell whether CROCS present a heightened risk of escalator entrapment, and therefore affirmed the lower court's entry of summary judgment.
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