In July of 2010, a family from California utilized the Mass Transit Authority’s services and took an escalator down into the station. As the family rode the descending escalator, the family’s minor daughter got her sandal caught into the moving stairway. Onlookers rushed to help the child in need. The daughter’s foot was freed before meeting the bottom of the escalator, but unfortunately, not before resulting in severe damage to her foot. The family brought suit in Federal Court against the manufacture of the specific brand of sandals- CROCS. Amongst the allegations, the family alleged that CROCS have a heightened risk of safety to the wearers of the sandals while riding escalators and that the manufacture had failed to warn of this risk to consumers.
The United States Court of Appeals was charged with deciding whether CROCS pose a heightened risk of escalator entrapment, thus rendering the footwear defective. Under Massachusetts law, a consumer who has been injured by a product may bring a claim alleging negligence against the manufacturer- this is generally known as a products liability action. Much like sandals come in different colors and styles- so too are products liability claims. A consumer may allege that the product contained a manufacturing defect, a design defect, and/or failed to adequately warn prospective users of a danger associated with that product’s use. Each will be discussed in turn.