Man Suffers Serious Injuries Due to Dangerous Retail Display


Retail Safety Expert WitnessThis case involves a man who was seriously injured while shopping at a large department store. At the time of the incident in question, the man was shopping in the men’s clothing section of the store when he walked into a transparent glass partition that was part of an elaborate retail display. The glass shattered on impact, leaving the man with a number of deep cuts and lacerations. It was claimed that the partition lacked sufficient visual indicators of its presence, and was located in a high-traffic area of the store.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you have specific experience in retail store layout and design?
  • 2. Are you familiar with human factors as they relate to retail?

Expert Witness Response E-057597

I have over 40 years of experience as an architect, including experience with retail locations. I studied architecture and have two Master’s degrees, one in architecture and on in city/regional planning. I have done retail design work and have critiqued problems with retail locations. My focus is on architecture and construction, including the layouts, functionality, and performance of buildings. I have advised on accident related cases, helping asses why someone might have fallen and if something was done improperly on the part of the store. Although retail stores are designed to encourage slow traffic, they are public spaces and there are standards relating to human factors that apply across the board. These standards, such as the placement of items so that they do/don’t catch your eye, apply across all architecture.

Expert Witness Response E-060449

I have worked in retail store layout and design for my entire career. I worked for retailers in the Northeast for many years and have also consulted with hundreds of stores on their design. For example, I developed and taught their comprehensive 16-day visual merchandising program. I am also the author of two books on visual merchandising and I have published the standards manuals for several retail chains. Both cases I have worked on in the past featured injuries caused by clear issues with visual merchandising;  one customer was injured on a floor riser that blended into the carpet and another was seriously hurt by a falling mannequin. People don’t think in stores like they do in other settings, so layout is very important.

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