ALLENTOWN – According to a scheduling order approved by the presiding judge, a lawsuit filed by an Effort couple against Christmas Tree Shops which claims the store chain negligently sold a jar that  exploded and caused severe hand injuries to one of the plaintiffs is headed to trial in federal court later this year.

Per the order issued by U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry S. Perkin on Oct. 3, Whitney Vanicky and Jeffrey Vanicky’s litigation against Christmas Tree Shops had until March 2 to conclude pre-trial discovery. Subsequently, motions for summary judgment are due by June 4 of this year, pre-trial motions are due by Sept. 3 of this year, a final pre-trial conference is scheduled for Dec. 6 and jury selection is set for Dec. 17.

The trial will then commence in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania’s Edward N. Cahn Courthouse the following day, on Dec. 18 of this year, in Allentown. Three telephone settlement conferences took place on Nov. 15, Nov. 29 and Nov. 30 of last year, but information on those conferences is not publicly available.

The Vanickys first filed suit on Feb. 3, 2017 in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, against Christmas Tree Shops, of Harrisburg.

Per the litigation, 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, along with compensatory damages and costs.

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 and Michael C. Heyden Jr. of Litchfield Cavo, 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

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Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

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