A man filed a personal injury suit against an attorney and lost. The Supreme Court ruled that the law office was not liable for negligence and product liability for an overweight person sustaining personal injuries from a collapsed office chair.
According to the suit, in May of 2002, Charles Burnett went to the office of attorney Kenneth Covell in Fairbanks, Alaska for a meeting with him and one of his clients. Burnett, who weighed approximately 330 pounds, sat in one of the office chairs, which collapsed and injured him.
Covell had owned the chair since purchasing the practice in 2000. Therefore, Burnett filed a negligence claim against Covell. He argued that he had no knowledge of chair defects and there was insufficient evidence of negligence.
The Superior Court also ruled that Covell could not be found responsible for product liability, as product liability only applies to the manufacturer, seller, or distributor of the defective product.
The Supreme Court agreed with the ruling of the Superior Court.