Consumer Product Causes Disfigurement in Special Needs Daughter

Large Settlement in Product Liability Case

Emergency department signage

A client of Rosen & Perry settled for a confidential amount after her special needs daughter was disfigured by an elastic headband sold by a national retailer.

A resident of Pittsburgh, our client bought a pack of elastic headbands for her daughter to use to keep her hair in place. The product did not include instructions, warnings, and/or sizing information.

While on vacation, our client’s daughter used one of the headbands, but after returning to Pennsylvania, she noticed “a white creamy substance on her scalp and noticed a strong, unidentified smell” as well as an indent and presence of a foreign object on the back of her daughter’s head.

The daughter was taken to UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on June 26, 2020, where emergency department physicians found a hair tie embedded in her scalp and confirmed the presence of a foul odor. The embedded object was removed, and the area cleaned while the patient was started on a course of antibiotics and admitted to the hospital.

Following a three day stay at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, she was discharged home on a strict regimen of oral and topical antibiotics. Detailed instructions were provided to the family on how to properly wash, clean, and dress the wound left behind by the headband.

To date, the daughter of our client suffers from pain in the impacted area and often experiences pustules forming over the scar left behind from the product in question. Portions of the scar remain open and cannot fully close which will require her to undergo scar revision surgery.

The mother, representing her daughter, reached out to Rosen & Perry for a case consultation. Our medical intake team, alongside our personal injury attorneys, reviewed all necessary medical history and medical records and determined that there was basis for a claim.

As a result of the pain, suffering, and costs associated with her injuries, a personal injury lawsuit was filed on behalf of our client in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas on Jan. 19, 2022 against the product retailer.

The product retailer filed a notice to remove the case to federal court on Feb. 17, 2022, due to the diversity of citizenship between the parties and the amount in controversy exceeding the jurisdictional minimum.

Soon after, the defendant answered the complaint and denied such unsafe headbands were available in their store and alleged that any injuries were the result of improper use of the product by the plaintiff and her daughter.

After an unsuccessful session of mediation, Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment on Sept. 8, 2022. However, a U.S. Magistrate Judge denied the motion without prejudice on Sept. 13, 2022.

Then, on Sept. 13, 2023, our client, alongside our attorneys, filed a motion for settlement for an amount agreed to be kept confidential. While this amount cannot make up for the pain and suffering that our client and her daughter experienced, our team of personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys are happy we could help ease the financial burden placed on the family during such a difficult time.