When you go to a grocery store or a big box retailer, like Wal-Mart, Sam’s, or Costco, and you see the plastic shrink wrapped packages of drinks, dog food, and other products, how do you pick up same? Most of the packages have a pair of holes in the sides of the packaging. The industry often refers to them as hand-holds. The drinks or cans of dog food or other products are placed into a cardboard box and then a sheet of plastic is wrapped around the package and shrink wrapped – heated to shrink around the packaging. This leaves the holes on the sides of the product. Typically, there is no warning that the product should be picked up by the bottom, where the cardboard is located, and not by the holes on the sides.
We represented a lady who picked up a package of canned dog food by the hand-holds. After using the hand-holes to pick it up from a shelf and place it into her buggy, using them again to place the package on the conveyor belt for checkout, the package failed on the third occasion when she picked up the package of dog food to put it back into her buggy. Because one of the hand-holds ripped, she was unable to hold onto the package and the entire package and all of the cans dropped onto one of her feet. The resulting fractures and destruction of tendons resulted in multiple surgeries and permanent problems with her foot, including the inability to stand or walk for any length of time.
We sued the manufacturer of the product under the theory that the packaging was not adequately designed to be picked up by hand-holds. Interestingly enough, we could not find any similar suits in the United States! The evidence showed that the manufacturer had initially tested the shrink wrap packing decades earlier, when it started manufacturing that product, but had never tested the hand-holds as to whether they would hold when someone picked up the packaging! We hired a professor at a school of Packaging at a major university in America who testified about packaging industry standards and the choices available to package products. We were also able to show the pricing of the various types of packaging used by hundreds of American corporations for their various products. The same plastic could be bought in a thicker film, which would not have torn. Alternatively, the manufacturer could have even used a thinner film but of a more modern material and the hand-hold would have held. Modern plastics mix in webbing or thread-like materials to make their packaging super strong. The cost is virtually the same.
On deposition, the corporation who manufactured the product took the position that their packaging was as good as anyone else in that same industry and that it was not foreseeable that an individual would pick up the packaging by the hand-holds! We did a survey of stores to show that this is routinely how customers pick up all similar type products. Combined with the testimony concerning viable alternatives, which were much safer but not more expensive, the case settled for a confidential sum.
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"I was pregnant and injured in an automobile accident. Mr. Owens, personally, came to the hospital. He told me he would handle everything, I just needed to get healthy for the baby and myself. Mr. Owens did everything he said he would. I highly recommend Owens and Mulherin. Everyone in their office is friendly and informative. You're not just another client with them, they genuinely care." - Lindsay Chadwick
"Highly recommend working with this group!! They are very friendly, understanding, caring people and very easy to talk to. They Gave us plenty of time to talk with them. Did not make us feel rushed and explained everything thoroughly. Made the experience the best possible and we had a positive outcome during a tragic time. Thank you to the attorneys and entire staff." - Cindy Shuman
"I found Mr. Owens to be very professional and extremely sympathetic towards my needs as a result of my injuries. His experience helped guide me through my case and we ultimately won in the end...settled out of court! Thanks for all your help!" - Diane Calahan
"Following an automobile accident I sought representation from Wil Owens. Throughout the process he and his staff were always very kind, informative, and diligent in protecting my rights and interests. I knew my case was minor comparatively speaking, however, they never minimized the importance of my situation or claim. I would highly recommend this local law firm!!Sincerely,Christi (Fry) Vinyard" - Christi Fry
"This was my first time having to get an attorney and my experience was great. They make sure you fully understand everything that's going on and make sure the case is settled in your favor. I highly recommend this attorney office if you need one." - Dee James
"Absolutely 100% the best law firm around. I was completely blown away by the staff with all their generosity and helpfulness every step of the way. Wilbur Owens is hands down the best attorney I have ever met. He was caring, professional, and helpful in all aspects of my case, from the very begining with all my treatments to the very end with my settlement. He was highly recommend to me and I have heard nothing but great things about him and his firm. They truly are the best around and if ths need were to arise again in the future I will gladly come to the law firm of Owens and Mulherin. Wonderful people and they gave me my life back as well as piece of mind, and for that I am and always will be truly thankful." - Courtney Graves
"I had a good experience with Mr. Owens and Ms. Teresa. They were very professional and was on point. It was a long process but it was worth the wait. I would recommend anyone to this lawfirm." - Ashley Robertson
"My thanks to Mr. Owens and his crew. After getting injured at work , and not knowing what to do I found them thru a local web search. Everyone in the office was great, Will walked me thru my case and explained how it would go. After everything I would highly recommend this law firm. I can't say enough of Mr. Owens and his staff . Thank you for your help!" - Mark Kalla
"I worked with Mr. Ownens and his team for my most recent accident involving 2 uninsured motorists, and I am extremely pleased with the way my case was worked, as well as the outcome. I cannot say anything negative about the law firm whatsoever, but I can tell you that being hit by uninsured vehicles is a nightmare." - Nic Schuman
"Loved working with me. Mulherin. Didn’t make me feel rushed or pinned against a wall. He gave me the beat and worse case scenario. Went to bat for me when the insurance company thought they could get away with being cheap. Brooke was amazing to work with to. Always answered calls or emails in a timely manner." - Natasha Campbell
Mr. Owens devotes his practice exclusively to representing plaintiffs in personal injury and wrongful death claims. His primary focus is automobile/tractor-trailer accidents, dog bites, slip/trip and falls, medical malpractice, injuries from dangerous products, job injuries and nursing home abuse. Before joining forces with Mr. Mulherin to open Owens & Mulherin in 2001, Mr. Owens worked…
Mr. Mulherin represents individuals in personal injury cases. His primary practice areas are automobile accidents, tractor-trailer collisions, medical malpractice claims and workplace injuries. Before forming Owens & Mulherin with Mr. Owens in 2001, Mr. Mulherin practiced at Bouhan, Williams & Levy, LLP, from 1984 - 2000, representing both plaintiffs and defendants in personal injury cases.…