Pennsylvania Record

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Settlement reached in lawsuit against Christmas Tree Shops surrounding exploding jar


By Nicholas Malfitano | Jun 12, 2019

Christmas Tree Shops

ALLENTOWN – A lawsuit filed by an Effort couple against Christmas Tree Shops that claims the store chain negligently sold a jar that exploded and caused severe hand injuries to one of the plaintiffs was settled.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry S. Perkin issued an order on Oct. 17 that the suit brought by Whitney and Jeffrey Vanicky against Christmas Tree Shops was dismissed with prejudice, pursuant to agreement of counsel without costs. Further, the Court retained jurisdiction for 90 days, and any settlement agreement would be approved and made a part of the record and the order for enforcement purposes.

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 said.

“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 added.

The plaintiffs believed 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.

Prior to dismissal and 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 were represented by Frederic S. Eisenberg and Daniel J. Sherry Jr. of Eisenberg Rothweiler Winkler Eisenberg & Jeck, in Philadelphia.

The defendant was 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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