NY Court Reinstates Drain Cleaner Product Liability Lawsuit

Posted on Thursday, May 12th, 2011 at 9:55 am    

The New York Court of Appeals on Tuesday reinstated a Manhattan restaurant worker’s product liability lawsuit against the manufacturers of a lye-crystal drain cleaner.

The product liability lawsuit was filed by Yun Tung Chow against the manufacturer, distributor, and package designer of Lewis Red Devil Lye after he was burned and blinded in one eye in 2001 while using the product to clean a floor drain. The lawsuit was dismissed by a judge before trial and that decision was upheld by a midlevel court.

Reckitt & Colman Inc., the product’s manufacturer, emphasized that the restaurant manager failed to follow label instructions, which direct users to wear gloves and goggles.

The Court of Appeals said Tuesday, however, that New York law requires companies facing defective design claims to show that their product doesn’t present an unreasonable risk of harm to the user.

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