Space Heater Sold by Large Retail Chain Catches Fire and Results in Death

    This case involves a 24-year-old male who died in a fire caused by a space heater. The space heater was purchased at a large national retail chain. The victim’s family sued the manufacturer as they alleged that the space heater caused the fire. Additionally, they’ve named the retail store as a defendant, as they alleged that a more stringent buying process should have been in place to prevent a potentially unsafe product from appearing on the shelves of that retailer.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. What are the buying practices pertaining to product safety and testing at large, national retail chains?
    • 2. Are there any safety precautions taken by large retailers to ensure that the products they inventory and sell are safe for consumers?

    Expert Witness Response E-004863

    Large retailers have formal buying processes that take into account safety and liability. The retail store has a safety department and when purchasing a product from a multinational corporation with a strong reputation, it is unreasonable to expect any additional safety or compliance testing to be offered by the retailer for the specific product. I am a retail expert with over twenty years in the field. I have occupied high-ranking administrative positions in Fortune 500 companies similar to the retail store named in the case, and have supervised retail budgets in excess of $1 billion.

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