Faulty Beach Chair Suit Settled

OCEAN CITY- A civil suit filed last summer by a New Jersey man against an Ocean City company seeking $100,000 in damages caused by an allegedly faulty beach chair last week settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

Last Aug. 10, East Windsor, N.J. resident Mark Pacelli, through his Baltimore attorney, Michael Smith, 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 was seeking $100,000 in damages for each of the three counts.

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 read.

In September, 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.

After months of legal posturing on both sides, the case was settled out of court last week although the terms of the settlement have not been made public.

“Unfortunately, as part of the resolution of this action, my clients and I are not at liberty to provide you with a little insight into how the settlement worked out,” Smith said this week.