Lawsuit Filed Over Beach Chair

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City company last week filed a motion to dismiss a suit filed in August by a New Jersey couple seeking $100,000 in damages for allegedly faulty beach chairs purchased two years ago.

On Aug. 10, East Windsor, N.J. resident Mark Pacelli, through his Baltimore attorney, filed a civil suit in U.S. District Court claiming negligence, strict liability and loss of consortium against Ocean City Boardwalk, Inc., the parent company of the Sunsations stores in the resort, claiming one of two chairs purchased in early July 2007 collapsed the first time the victim used it, trapping and severely injuring his fingers. The complaint seeks $100,000 in damages for each of the three counts.

Late last week, attorneys for Ocean City Boardwalk, Inc. filed a formal answer to the suit, seeking a dismissal based on the allegation the plaintiff’s own negligence, and the negligence of outside parties, contributed to the victim’s injuries caused by the collapsed beach chair.

“The plaintiffs were guilty of negligence which caused or contributed to the alleged occurrence,” the formal answer reads. “The alleged losses and/or damages suffered by the plaintiffs were caused by the acts of conduct of other parties which intervened between this defendant’s alleged act, if any, and the plaintiff’s alleged damages.”

According to the complaint, on July 3, 2007, Mark Pacelli and his wife arrived in Ocean City for the Fourth of July holiday and purchased two beach chairs from the Sunsations store at 94th Street. The next day, Pacelli went to use one for the first time when it malfunctioned and seriously injured his fingers.

“As he sat down on the chair, it buckled, catching and smashing both his right and left ring fingers between the chair handle and the jaws of the adjustment mechanism,” according to the complaint.

Pacelli immediately sought medical attention at a resort medical facility where it was determined that he suffered a crush injury to both ring fingers and, in fact, had partially severed the left, according to the complaint. He underwent a surgical treatment on the left finger. Pacelli, according to the complaint, continued medical treatment when he returned to New Jersey and continues to suffer from the injuries.

“As a result of the negligence of the defendants, the plaintiff, Mark Pacelli, was caused to suffer severe and permanent bodily injury, physical and emotional pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of convenience, lost wages, medical bills and other economic losses, and other injuries and damages, many of which are permanent in nature,” the complaint reads.