“Warning: Do Not Move 10,000-Pound Safe Without Help.”

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As so often happens, a sad story has somehow managed to become a comical lawsuit.

The widow of a Florida man who was killed when a safe fell on him has sued the retailer and manufacturer for allegedly failing to warn him of the risks of trying to move the safe by himself.  Probably, the defendants will suggest that these risks were open and obvious, especially since the safe was the size of a refrigerator and weighed about 10,000 pounds.  The decedent was apparently trying to move it by himself with a pallet jack, and he also left the safe door unlocked, allowing it to swing open and cause the five-ton weight to shift, with unfortunate results.

According to plaintiff, the failure to warn specifically about the risks of using a pallet jack (by yourself) and leaving the safe door open rendered the safe "defective" and "unsafe for its intended use."  Unless its "intended uses" include being wheeled from place to place while being moved by one person by hand, it is hard to see how this case could succeed.

There may be some room for debate, though, at least according to commenters on Overlawyered.  One commenter indeed suggested that a reasonable person would have been aware of the risks presented by falling safes, asking, "Does no one watch Looney Tunes any more?"  A few minutes later, though, another suggested that these cartoon representations could actually have been misleading, since Wile E. Coyote was repeatedly hit by falling safes (which he had presumably moved without help) and yet suffered no permanent ill effects.

Actually, in Florida that might be enough evidence to get to a jury.

Link: Overlawyered
Link: Florida Keys News