Claim for Burns from Hair Care Product Tossed Where Plaintiff Ignored Warning Label Not to Use Near Open Flame

Case: Licorish v. L'Oreal USA, Inc.

Court: Supreme Court, Appellate Term, First Department

Date: 7-16-12

From: New York attorney Gary E. Rosenberg (personal injury and accident attorney and lawyer; serving Brooklyn and Queens; Queens injury lawyer)

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Facts: Interesting case. Plaintiff was using a hair care product while trying to light a cigarette. Her hair caught fire and she sued.

Hard to believe that a lawyer took her case. Why? Because the hair care product had a warning label on it -- to keep away from flames.

This accident victim says at her deposition that she never noticed the warning. The defendant asks the court for summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff's complaint and the Court denies it.

This appeal followed.

Held: The Court says that plaintiff can't sue thehair care product manufacturer for failure to warn not to use it near an open flame where the warning was there but the plaintiff simply ignored it. So that claim is dismissed.

However, the Court permitted the part of plaintiff's claim that the hair care product was defectively designed to go forward. So plaintiff is permitted to try to show that the product presented an unreasonable risk of harm to its users. With, perhaps, a wink to the defense, the Court concludes that the defense can attack that claim later if it wishes to, in another summary judgment motion.

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