Patrick Heffron Obtained Defense Verdict



E. Patrick Heffron

E. PATRICK HEFFRON concentrates his practice in general insurance defense, civil litigation, municipal law, labor/employment law, employment discrimination, motor vehicle litigation, premises liability and dram shop liability. In addition, Mr. Heffron devotes a sizable practice to the defense of employment matters before the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and in Pennsylvania's state and federal courts. Mr. Heffron has experience delivering lectures and presentations on industry...

The Client and Case Venue:

Our client is a global manufacturer and distributor of beauty and cosmetics products founded in Paris, France and headquartered in New York City.  The case was venued in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. 

The Situation:

Plaintiff alleged that a jar of body wax exploded, causing her to sustain 2nd and 3rd degree burns to her hands and arms as well as psychological injuries, after heating the wax in the microwave for 40 seconds per the instructions.  Plaintiff’s Complaint contained various claims, including strict products liability (design defect and failure to warn), negligence, breach of warranty, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

The Solution:

Attorney Heffron established that the Plaintiff’s version of events was not scientifically possible.  The Defendant’s expert, a renowned Professor from MIT, who also received his Bachelors Degree and Doctorate from MIT in the fields of Materials Science and Metallurgy, has worked in Failure Analysis, Thermodynamics and Heat Flow for over 35 years.  He testified that the Plaintiff’s injuries were the result of product misuse as testing revealed that the wax would need to be heated in the microwave in excess of two minutes in order for it to reach temperatures needed to cause the type of rapid burns Plaintiff sustained. 

In addition, Plaintiff’s own expert, a mechanical engineer, admitted during the course of cross examination that he could not replicate “the explosion” during testing or reach temperatures high enough to cause burns after 40 seconds of heating.  Lastly, the Plaintiff’s credibility was called into question by revealing prior inconsistent statements regarding how the incident occurred and how the alleged injuries impacted the Plaintiff both physically and mentally.     

The Result:

The federal jury returned a verdict in favor of the Defendant indicating that the product was not defective.  The case received national media attention following the verdict.  

See: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/jury-company-not-responsible-for-greenfield-twp-woman-s-burns-over-exploding-body-wax-1.2036612



Ouelette result for website (3).pdf