Candle Kaboom!

DeGrate v. Executive Imprints (Published) No evidence summary judgment affirmed in negligence and design defect case over exploding candle.  The precedential value of this case is probably limited because the Tyler court questions the briefing presented by the DeGrates.

Mrs. DeGrate got a new scented candle marketed by Executive Imprints.  After letting it burn for an hour or so, she went to blow it out.  The flame just got bigger.  She dropped the candle.  The hot wax splattered everywhere, including on her.  She and her husband bring many claims including negligence and strict liability.

Executive Imprints filed a no evidence motion for summary judgment.  The DeGrates responded with the report and affidavit of a Ph.D chemist.  The chemist believes that the candle had the wrong sort of wax, the wax pooled up too much, and the design of the candle allowed the wax to be heated to the flash point.

The Tyler court finds fault with the expert.  He doesn’t back up his opinions.  So they’re not evidence.

The Tyler court also finds fault with the briefing of the DeGrates.  In a footnote, the Tyler court says that the entirety of the DeGrate’s briefing on the product liability claim was:

Under the doctrine of strict product liability, Appellants showed through the tendered summary judgment evidence that the candle was of a defective design since it was without a reasonable alternative design, as a fundamental element, marketed, manufactured and was unsafe for its purposes at the time it left control of Appellee and was sold posing an unreasonable risk factor for consumers.

So, if anyone cites this case against you, point out the footnote.

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