This is the story of Martha Stewart, the Lounge Chair, and the Magician’s finger. In Des Moines, Iowa, Patrick Albanese is suing Kmart Corp. and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia after he lost the tip of his right index finger while carrying the Martha Stewart Everyday lounge chair on his deck. Albanese claims to be a hand model, magician, and banjo player — making the loss a devastating blow, even after it was put back on by surgeons.
Albanese was carrying the chair when the tubular legs collapsed, crushing his right index finger between one of the chair legs and a tubular bar on the base of the chair. His fingertip fell between the deck but was recovered by a friend and reattached. His finger, however, is not what it once was for a hand-modeling, banjo-playing magician and sometimes actor.
He is alleging a product design defect as well as a warning defect.
Albanese was the master of ceremonies for Hollywood’s Magic Castle for 15 years. Now Martha Stewart has stopped the show with her bone-crushing Barcalounger.
While open and obvious dangers are no longer a complete defense in most states, it may be important to this case. The company may argue that the risk of a collapsible leg is obvious as with any moving part. Nevertheless, it is remarkable to see a standard function on a chair that can snip off finger tips.
This is not the only complaint over Stewart’s furniture, here. However, as I pointed out in a 2002 column, the sinister work of Martha Stewart has a longer and darker history.
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