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ARTICLE ID 1459

Products liability - Defectively designed kitchen tongs - Tongs break while lifting pot of boiling water - Burn injuries to foot - Peroneal nerve damage - Three surgeries performed.

Miami-Dade County

The plaintiff, a 34-year-old kitchen worker claimed the defendant manufactured a defective pair of kitchen tongs. The tongs broke while the plaintiff was lifting a pot of hot water, causing burn injuries to the plaintiff’s foot. The defendant argued the plaintiff could not establish it was the manufacturer of the tongs. The tongs were discarded after the accident by the plaintiff’s employer.

The plaintiff testified he was lifting a 25-pound pot of boiling water containing corn, using a kitchen towel and a pair of metal tongs. The tongs broke, causing the hot water to spill on the plaintiff’s foot. The plaintiff testified he looked at the tongs and saw the defendant’s name "Edlund Company" written on the tongs. The manager of the restaurant where the plaintiff worked as well as a co-worker testified they also saw the brand "Edlund" on the tongs in question.

The plaintiff’s physician testified the plaintiff sustained third degree burns to the top of his foot with damage to the peroneal nerve. He underwent three surgical procedures, including a skin graft, flap procedure and liposuction.

The defendant argued that its tongs are capable of lifting up to 50 pounds. The defendant’s culinary arts expert conceded that lifting pots was a foreseeable use for the tongs. However, the defense maintained the plaintiff could not establish that it manufactured the tongs in question.

The jury found the tongs in question were not manufactured by the defendant. The plaintiff anticipates a spoliation of evidence claim against the plaintiff’s employer for alleged violation of its duty to preserve evidence (the tongs).

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