Last month, on Martha Stewart’s wedding site, there was an article about some “amazing acrylic serving pieces made in France,” which were described as “Marie Antoinette throws a rave.” Imagine, Martha Stewart and Marie Antoinette joining forces to enrich home décor at affordable prices. Sounds good. They just need to stay out of the patio furniture business.
In what’s been described as the “Guillotine Lawsuit,” three people whose “fingers were snipped off or injured by Martha Stewart patio chairs” have settled their cases with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and Kmart, which sold the chairs. Apparently, “the lounge chairs’ legs are defective and snap forward, ‘serving as a guillotine’ for fingers and hands caught between the legs and the chair.”
AP reports, “The settlements were reached with Sandy Caffoe of Jamestown, N.Y., a 67-year-old who lost the function of her right hand when two fingers were amputated in 2008; college student Lisa Peterson, 22, of Des Plaines, Ill. who had her right ring finger amputated in 2009; and Kaitlyn Damron of Pikeville, Ky., who was four in 2006 when the tip of her left pinky finger was severed.”
Their attorney says, “Kmart continued to sell the chairs after he filed the original 2008 lawsuit but that they were later redesigned to add another bolt to the legs, preventing the snapping motion.”
New York City local consumer reporter Arnold Diaz asked Martha Stewart about this in 2009. As you can see below, she’s sounding a bit like Marie A. herself, pooh poohing the whole thing. But Martha’s all about lessons so let’s hope these lawsuits lead to some valuable ones. Safety's just as important as good taste, especially cake.