This case involves a middle-aged woman in Maryland who suffered injuries while shopping at a suburban shopping center. At the time of the accident, the woman was walking on the sidewalk outside of the storefront of a chain restaurant location. The storefront had been equipped with a motorized, retractable awning, which was in the process of being extended as the woman was walking beneath it. Suddenly, the awning fell off of the side of the building, striking the woman on the head. As a result of the accident, the woman suffered a significant head injury which produced permanent brain damage.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Do you have extensive experience designing and manufacturing motorized shades?
- 2. Have the shades you've designed been outfitted in restaurant chains?
Expert Witness Response E-017742
I am the Director of Engineering for a high-end motorized shading company. The division I am in charge of has been running for 5 years, and prior to this I was working for the same owner in a different division developing motorized window coverings and motorized garage doors. Designing for safety is a fundamental component regardless of the product involved, but there are a few common issues that shade designers face that can lead to failure. Common mechanical failures are due to engineering stackup – which I am an expert at – or possibly poor tolerancing of specifications of a part. Poor quality control of an otherwise well-designed part can also be a source of failures like the one seen in the summary above.