Woman killed by neck massager

Dec 8, 2004
49,321
21,219
693
Maine
#1
Husband of Parkland woman killed by neck massager sues



The widower of the Parkland physician who was fatally strangled by a neck massager has filed a negligence lawsuit against the machine's providers, alleging her death could have been prevented had safety mechanisms and proper labeling been added to the device.In what may be the first massager-related fatality in the United States, the Dec. 24 death of Dr. Michelle Ferrari-Gegerson prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to warn the public against using the ShoulderFlex Deep Kneading Shiatsu massager.

Ferrari-Gegerson, a radiologist at Jackson Memorial Hospital, died using it in a bedroom of her Parkland home on Christmas Eve after wrapping presents. The device's rotating piece became ensnared in a leather cord necklace she was wearing and she was choked to death, the Broward Sheriff's Office said.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Miami-Dade's courts civil division, contends the device's providers were negligent in failing to install a mechanism that would have forced the machine to stop automatically when resistance is placed on the rotating knobs. It also argues the "defective" machine wasn't equipped with "obvious and adequate" labeling to warn of items getting caught in the device.

Stuart Z. Grossman, the Coral Gables lawyer representing Ferrari-Gegerson's husband, Dr. Kenneth Gegerson, called the ShoulderFlex a "killer." Grossman said he and his client were gratified that the FDA began warning consumers not to use the device on Aug. 25 because of the risk of death or injury.

"The FDA has allowed us to accomplish our second goal first," Grossman said. "It's been identified as a killer, which it is. It has no place in American homes, much less any home in the world."

"How can you devise a machine that can kill you for simply forgetting to remove your necklace?" Grossman asked. "Busy people forget things."

The first goal of the lawsuit, he said, is ensuring that the Gegersons' 2-year-old son, Chase, is compensated for his mother's death.

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are King International, the product's Oregon-based distributor; King Yiu Chan and Si Ming Du, the massager's creators and patent holders; Relax the Back Corp., a national neck-and-back-product retailer that sold it at some franchise stores; and ABP Aventura Inc., the operator of a Relax the Back store in Aventura.

Ferrari-Gegerson's death was a "very sad, terribly unfortunate event," but Relax the Back Corp. isn't at fault, argued Mark R. Boyd, a Fort Lauderdale attorney representing the California company.

Boyd said the massager is an adequate device if its plain, unambiguous instructions are followed. Its four-page instruction booklet has multiple warnings not to use the product while wearing a necklace, and a similar warning is affixed to the device itself, he said.

It's possible Ferrari-Gegerson ignored or didn't read the instructions, or forgot what they said, Boyd said.

"The very mechanism that unfortunately caused the strangulation of Dr. Michelle Ferrari-Gegerson is the very precise thing that was warned about," Boyd said. "The question that a jury will ultimately have to decide is, who's at fault?"

Representatives for the lawsuit's other defendants couldn't be reached for comment Friday by the Sun Sentinel despite messages left at listed phone numbers.

On Wednesday, King International recalled about 12,000 ShoulderFlex massagers that had been sold nationwide over the past eight years. The FDA said there were four reports of the ShoulderFlex catching on hair, clothing and jewelry. In addition to the death in Parkland, one injury had been reported.

Gegerson's lawsuit was filed in Miami-Dade, because the ShoulderFlex owned by Ferrari-Gegerson was purchased at a Relax the Back in Aventura, the lawsuit said.

Whether the massager was, indeed, bought at the Aventura store will be a significant part of the legal case, Boyd said. The device was widely sold at various stores, in catalogs and online retailers like Amazon.com, he said.

Massager-related deaths have been reported abroad as well, but involving a different brand and model.

An electronic foot massager, the Arubi Shape-Up roller, was recalled in Japan in 2008 after three reported cases in that country of people accidentally strangling themselves while using it as a neck massager, news reports say. The users had taken off a cover, and their shirts became ensnared in the machine.

Link
 

bill333

Go Screw!
Mar 23, 2005
8,907
1,193
631
Orange County,NY - Hudson Valley
#2
If there were warnings in the booklet and on the device, how is this even an argument?

Me thinks sales will rise across the country as gifts from husbands
 

Your_Moms_Box

Free Shit / Socialism 2016
Dec 20, 2004
5,755
468
628
Dover, Delaware
#3
am I the only one who was expecting this to be a woman choking to death trying to deepthroat a "massager" and is sad that it isn't?
 
Dec 8, 2004
49,321
21,219
693
Maine
#4
The image I put there was found in a Craigslis ad...
 

whiskeyguy

PR representative for Drunk Whiskeyguy.
Donator
Jan 12, 2010
36,498
22,150
398
Northern California
#5
"The FDA has allowed us to accomplish our second goal first," Grossman said. "It's been identified as a killer, which it is. It has no place in American homes, much less any home in the world."

"How can you devise a machine that can kill you for simply forgetting to remove your necklace?" Grossman asked. "Busy people forget things."
I really fucking hate these two sentences. A) A device that has killed one person since it's inception is not a "killer". B) Sure, busy people forget things... and that shit kills them. Companies cannot be expected to anticipate forgetfulness. Someone in a rush to work may forget to check their blind spot on the highway. Cars don't have warnings above the blinker control saying "remember to check your blind spot, you forgetful cunt".

I really hate this fucking sue-happy country.
 

Neon

ネオン
Donator
Mar 23, 2008
51,820
18,545
513
Kingdom of Charis
#8
If there were warnings in the booklet and on the device, how is this even an argument?

Me thinks sales will rise across the country as gifts from husbands
The fact that they didn't put in an auto killswitch is pretty negligent IMO. It would have been extremely cheap and easy to accomplish.