A products liability/consumer product safety expert witness for the defense discusses a case involving a fast-food patron who was injured when a piece of artwork fell. The plaintiff was having coffee and eating yogurt at a restaurant owned and operated by a fast-food chain. With no warning, a piece of framed artwork came loose from the wall and struck her in the lower back. She then sued the restaurant for negligence and premises liability. She alleged that the restaurant knew or should have known that the artwork presented a hazard. The restaurant asserted that it did not create or cause the allegedly dangerous condition. It did not manufacture, assemble, design, or install the artwork that fell on the plaintiff.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Did the frame have a defect?
- 2. Did the framer uphold industry standards?
Expert Witness Response
After reviewing the deposition transcripts, photos of the frame prior to the accident and those taken after the accident and inspecting other frames by the same art framing company, I conclude that the subject frame was constructed with molding. The framer used staples to attach/wedge the artwork to the wood molding. V-nails were used on the corners. The frame was flimsy and wholly inadequate to support the specific artwork that was framed. As a result, the frame failed and caused the entire art piece to rip apart and fall. Had the framing of the artwork not failed, the art piece would not have fallen from the wall and injured the plaintiff. The failure of the frame was not caused by the installation method utilized by the contractor. The framer’s method of framing was defective and below the standard of care for a framer, given the piece of artwork being framed and the location where it was going to be hung.
The expert is an interior designer with more than 40 years of experience. He has been a leader in the American Society of Interior Designers and has been and interior design college instructor for 15 years.