A Texas family has filed suit against Nike after their child suffered burns over 17 percent of his body when his Nike Dri-Fit shorts burst into flames. The suit by Troy and Leslie Patton was filed in Collin County Court on behalf of their son, Hunter, who was gathered with his friends around a campfire when the flames ignited his Nike shorts. The child’s cotton t-shirt and cotton socks were untouched. Even though he was standing farthest away from the fire, Hunter was the only child who caught fire. Hunter attempted to put the flames out by rolling on the ground and burned his hands in the process.
Dri-Fit fabric is made from polyester microfibers designed to quickly absorb sweat from the body. Hunter’s shorts did not contain a warning label stating that this material was highly flammable. In Hunter’s case, that is exactly what the material was –highly flammable. In fact, the Nike shorts burned so quickly and intensely that they melted into Hunter’s skin. Fortunately, his friends were able to save him from further injury by pulling the shorts from around his feet. The complaint alleges that:
Nike has concealed the risk of injuring consumers by producing, marketing and selling unsafe highly flammable garments. Nike has a legal duty to warn purchasers and consumers of the potential flammability of its high-fire-hazard garments. Nike does not label any of its Dri-FIT products despite the clear danger of its melting fabric causing severe burns, scars and pain. Nike provides no warning.
Our firm has successfully handled cases involving clothing manufacturers that failed to warn of their clothing’s highly flammable nature. In 2012, Rick Morrison, a lawyer in our Personal Injury/Product Liability Section, settled a case against a bathrobe manufacturer. In that case, the client’s mother was cooking at her stove when her cotton chenille robe suddenly ignited and burst into flames. The robe burned so intensely and quickly that the mother could not put out the fire and suffered fatal injuries as a result.
The evidence in Rick’s case revealed that other similar incidents had occurred with other consumers using the exact robe. Fortunately, Mr. Morrison was able to secure a favorable settlement for our client and, hopefully, our firm has made a change in how that clothing manufacturer designs and labels its bathrobes. If you have any questions regarding flammable clothing, please contact Cole Portis, Principal & Personal Injury Section Head, at Cole.Portis@beasleyallen.com.
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