WILLIAMSPORT — A Coal Township couple are requesting damages in excess of $50,000 from an online retailer of pet products over a foot injury caused by a bag of kitty litter.
Amanda and Samuel Rumberger, through their attorney, Michael J. Fiorillo, filed a lawsuit May 1 in the U.S. Middle District Court of Pennsylvania that alleges Chewy Inc. is responsible for a crush injury to Amanda Rumberger caused by a 35-pound bag of litter that dropped through a cardboard shipping box secured with a single piece of tape.
The suit claims Rumberger is suffering from complex regional pain syndrome generating physical, mental and emotional pain as a result of the carelessness and negligence of Chewy.
“Rumberger has been required and will continue to require extensive medical treatments and has incurred and will continue to incur medical expenses for an indefinite time in the future,” the suit says. “Rumberger has suffered a loss of ability to attend her daily activities and needs, and the loss of life’s pleasures.”
The suit asserts Samuel Rumberger has also suffered a loss of consortium, which is a deprivation of the benefits of a family relationship due to the injuries of a spouse.
The plaintiffs claim a reasonable and safer alternative form of packaging could have been adopted by Chewy, which would have “reduced or avoided” the risk of harm.
“The defendant failed to exercise ordinary care in the inspection, quality assurance, quality control and distribution of products purchased by the public — and in this case, plaintiff,” the suit says.
In a response filed May 6, Chewy, through its attorney, John M. Wutz, denied all allegations of negligence and carelessness, adding that “strict proof” showing it was the cause of and substantial factor in Rumberger’s injuries will be demanded during trial.
Chewy responded in court by listing 26 defenses, including that it has no knowledge of dangerous conditions to the packaging and that company “reasonably and properly” trained its employees and agents.
“Plaintiff assumed the risk of her behavior and choices, which directly led to any alleged incident and injuries sustained,” the company’s filing says. “Plaintiff’s alleged injuries and damages were caused by plaintiff’s own activities over which Chewy had no control.”
Chewy argues that the product was safe for its intended use, not defective and “did not result in damages” to Rumberger.
Chewy requests the court dismiss the complaint with prejudice and it be awarded costs incurred in its defense.