This case involves a child who was fatally crushed by a gym weight in a retail department store. The child was roughhousing in the fitness section of the store with another child. The child was then pushed into the shelves in the aisle and the force caused a 25 lb weight plate to fall on his head. The child suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and was rushed to the hospital. The child eventually succumbed to his injuries in the hospital. An expert in retail operations was sought to review the standards for displaying and selling recreational products and opine as to whether or not the retailer deviated from industry standards in allowing heavy weights to be displayed unsecured on the shelves.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please describe your experience working in retail department stores?
- 2. What are the proper packaging and safety measures necessary for such items sold in department stores
Expert Witness Response -023913
I have 20 years of experience in big box retail operations and merchandising with one of the largest department stores in the nation as the head of operations and merchandising. I also have 10 years experience as an expert in retail operations. I am currently a retail consultant focused on brands, merchandising, and operations. My primary responsibilities include providing expert assessments of safety. I have also completed two retail safety cases in two west coast states. There are safety practices that are normal and common in retail spaces for selling this kind of recreational product, which I can share with you in detail. The laws vary by state, but the common rule for display is to require staff assistance to purchasing. This includes lockdown and/or behind the counter display control and to package dangerous products within the department. I have served as an expert witness several times in cases relating to in-store safety programs and equipment failure. I have also served as a retail expert consulting on many topics, from equipment to falls to labor disputes.