Defective Bottle Design Leads to Chemical Burns

Joseph O'Neill

Written by
— Updated on December 20, 2017

Product Liability Expert WitnessThis case takes place in New York and involves a child who was shopping at a big box retail store with his mother. The child picked up a large bottle of cleaning solution off the shelf and began to play with it . The bottle did not contain appropriate or conspicuous warnings of any hazard on the label for handling the bottle, and it’s contents began to leak from the cap due to defective design. One employee of the store was present and complained of the smell, but did nothing to stop the child from playing with the bottle nor investigate the cause of the odor. The child’s mother was unaware of the leakage until she reached the cashier, at which point the cashier and another customer identified the spill due to the odor. The child ultimately suffered second degree burns to his skin.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Are you familiar with the design of bottle tops for plastic bottles?
  • 2. Can you opine as to defective design of bottle caps and tops?
  • 3. Are you capable of reviewing images and the cap itself to opine as to defective design?
  • 4. What makes you qualified to serve as an expert on this case?

Expert Witness Response E-022515

Yes, I am familiar with the design of the plastic containers and closures. I served on a similar matter referenced in my CV as Valiquette vs Home Depot which involved a package of liquid drain cleaner. I would want to see the parts in question, but likely the cap was not complete sealed which led to the event. What quality control procedures were in place? I’m not sure you can squarely put this on defective design as billions of these packages are produced which do not injure consumers.

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