Hot Humidifier Causes 3rd Degree Burn to Baby's Foot-$500,000 Settlement

On May 13, 2020 an appellate court covering Kings County overruled a Brooklyn trial court that allowed the manufacturer of a Warm Mist Humidifier to sue the parents of a 10 month old baby girl whose foot was badly burned by its product. The manufacture claimed that the parents wrongful acts were an intervening cause totally absolving them from any liability. The father had placed the humidifier on the floor in the living room and left the home with an older child. While crawling in the living room with her mother present, the baby's hand knocked into the water tank of the humidifier causing it to tip over and scald her foot. She suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns which required a skin graft from her buttock to her right foot. It was claimed that the baby suffered permanent nerve and muscle damage with permanent scarring of the foot and the graft site.Just before trial and before a decision was issued on an appeal, the manufacturer agreed to settle for $500,000.

The Supreme Court justice in Brooklyn had refused to dismiss the manufacturer's suit against the child's parents for negligently supervising their baby. The Judge was wrong, but allowing the manufacturer to blame the parents raised the possibility that a jury might place all of the blame on the parents which would eliminate the child's recovery. A pre-trial mediation was unsuccessful when the manufacturer offered only $100,000 to settle. However, the manufacturer increased its offer to $500,000 one day before oral arguments were scheduled before the appellate court  and 5 days before jury selection. Despite the settlement, the appellate court explained why the Kings County Supreme Court was wrong for allowing the manufacturer to blame the parents for their child's injuries: "There is no legally cognizable cause of action to recover damages for injuries suffered by a minor child against his or her parent for negligent supervision." See General Obligations Law Section 3-111. The only exception for this well settled rule of law is when the parent entrusts the child with a "dangerous instrumentality" such as a car or weapon involved in an accident. Martinez v Kaz USA, Inc., 2020 NY Slip Op 02775

Ronald C. Burke, Esq

Trial Attorney with 30+ Years of Experience Attorney Ronald C. Burke, Esq. has more than 30 years of experience and has focused his career on representing clients in cases involving personal injury, medical malpractice and legal malpractice. He is a seasoned trial lawyer and has won many seven-figure settlements and verdicts for his clients over the years, including many case victories listed among the largest in the history of the New York State. He has been featured in the news and is a regular lecturer for the New York County Lawyers Association, as well as having lectured before the New York State Bar Association. Ron is also an attorney with Kelner & Kelner, a New York personal injury law firm. Awards and Accolades Mr. Burke's awards and accolades are many. Among them, he has been included in New York Super Lawyers® each year since 2010, and he has received the highest-possible AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®. Verdict Search, a part of the New York Law Journal, frequently recognizes his notable successes after winning some of the highest settlements and verdicts in past years. He was also featured in their list of the "Top New York Verdicts " and "Top New York Settlements." He is a member of the New York State Bar Association and is licensed to practice law in the U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, as well as before the United States Supreme Court. When Attorney Burke is not handling legal malpractice cases, he is highly involved in the local community. He was a member of the Village of Rockville Centre Volunteer Fire Department, has served on the local school board and as Chairman of the local Zoning Board. Learn more about Attorney Burke and how he can skillfully handle your malpractice case by contacting the Law Offices of Ronald C. Burke, Esq. right away to schedule your complimentary case evaluation. Our firm is here to help! Contact a New York Legal Malpractice Attorney Our firm provides each client's case with thorough preparation and aggressive representation, ensuring that you win the best possible results for your case whether it is settled or goes to trial. As a seasoned trial lawyer, Mr. Burke can provide the strong and relentless representation you need to establish negligence in a legal malpractice case and to recover any damages you may have suffered. Our firm can recover compensation for pre-trial and trial malpractice, violations of fee arrangements, loss of income, pain and suffering, and much more. Contact us today!


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