ALLENTOWN – A third-party lawsuit filed by holiday-themed retailer Christmas Tree Shops, Inc. against Home Essentials & Beyond has been dismissed from federal court.

In response to a lawsuit from plaintiffs Whitney Vanicky and Jeffrey Vanicky, Christmas Tree Shops filed a third-party action against Home Essentials & Beyond of Jersey City, N.J., for manufacturing and selling a jar to the holiday retailer; one which later allegedly exploded in the hands of one of the plaintiffs.

However, on May 4, Christmas Tree Shops ended its third-party action against Home Essentials & Beyond, per Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(c)(1).

The Vanickys initially filed suit on Feb. 3 in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, against Christmas Tree Shops, of Harrisburg. Whitney had purchased a jar from the defendant on July 15, 2015, known as a barrel jar.

“On or about July 16, 2015, at approximately 7:45 p.m., plaintiff [Whitney] Vanicky was handling the subject for purposes of embellishing it with paint. Suddenly and without any advance warning, the subject jar’s defective and unreasonably dangerous condition resulted in it exploding while Mrs. Vanicky was holding it,” the suit says.

“As a direct and proximate result of the defective and unreasonably dangerous subject jar, Mrs. Vanicky sustained catastrophic, disfiguring and permanent injuries to her right upper extremity, including but not limited to severe and disabling injuries to the skin, bone, muscles, flesh, nerves, tendons, blood vessels and other tissues in her right hand and wrist,” the suit adds.

The plaintiffs believe the defendant failed to warn customers of the danger of the jar, and that this negligence caused the plaintiff’s severe, catastrophic and disfiguring injuries. For counts of strict liability, negligence and loss of consortium, the plaintiffs are seeking damages in excess of $50,000, with compensatory damages and costs.

Counsel for Christmas Tree Shops believed the complaint was brought in an improper forum, and filed a motion to remove the case to federal court in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, on Feb. 15. The move was successful and the case was transferred to Pennsylvania federal court in Allentown, where it remains pending.

The plaintiffs are represented by Frederic S. Eisenberg and Daniel J. Sherry Jr. of Eisenberg Rothweiler Winkler Eisenberg & Jeck, in Philadelphia.

The defendant is represented by Joel I. Fishbein of Litchfield Cavo and John J. Hatzell Jr. of Hatzell & Associates, also in Philadelphia.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case 5:17-cv-00738

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170104954

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas
1501 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

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