Consumer products expert witness Gabriele Goldaper describes a case she worked on regarding a “needle in a stack.”
I was engaged by a plaintiff, who purchased several pairs of pants from a leading upscale sportswear retailer. At home, while trying on one of the pants and sitting down, he suffered severe, medically documented, injuries in a very sensitive area of his body, from a needle which was apparently still in the seam of the crotch area of the pants. My role was to testify about the manufacturing process and standard quality control needed in the production cycle of men’s pants.
To support my opinion that not enough necessary action was taken to avoid this unpleasant accident, I was able to find evidence of the lack of good quality control when reading the depositions of the various production managers and the records they kept. Product safety dictates that at each step of the production cycle inspections take place. In this case, there were not enough, satisfactory or detailed records to indicate that procedures where in place to assure the safety of the product. Typically a basic check at the finish line of production is to use a mechanism, much like a metal detector, to see if any metal, like a needle point, is lodged in any area of the garment. No record of such basic final inspection could be found.
Ms. Goldaper’s opinion as an expert is that “the consumer is always entitled to a perfect quality garment. It is not the responsibility of the consumer to inspect the product for safety.”