19 Oct Halloween Lawsuits

What better way to get in the Halloween spirit than to read up on some of the silliest and spookiest Halloween lawsuits? Some resulted in a win for the plaintiff and some did not, but either way, these Halloween lawsuits make for an interesting read and may have you reconsider you next Halloween DIY costume.

Ferlito v. Johnson & Johnson

Plaintiffs Susan and Frank Ferlito, husband and wife, attended a Halloween party in 1984 dressed as Mary and her little lamb. Mrs. Ferlito had constructed a lamb costume for her husband by gluing cotton balls manufactured by defendant Johnson & Johnson Products to a suit of long underwear. She had also used Johnson & Johnson product to fashion a headpiece, complete with ears. The costume covered Mr. Ferlito from his head to his ankles, except for his face and hands, which were blackened with Halloween paint. At the party Mr. Ferlito attempted to light his cigarette by using a butane lighter. The flame passed close to his left arm, and the cotton on his left sleeve ignited. Burn covered approximately one-third of Mr. Ferlito’s body and the plaintiffs sued Johnson & Johnson for the injuries incurred.

Durmon v. Billings

In 2002, Gail Durmon sustained injuries when she fell while going through a haunted corn maze in Dixie, Louisiana. A character who wore a costume and mask, and held a chainsaw emerged from the maze and the plaintiff attempted to run away, but fell and broke her leg. Durmon charged the maze owners with negligence for the conditions of the field and for allowing their character to use an instrument that could have harmed her. The court ruled that the maze’s condition was obvious and that the defendants were not responsible for protecting her.

Mays v. Gretna Athletic Boosters Inc.

In 1996, Deborah Mays attended a haunted house which was organized in order to raise money for athletic programs. Mays became frightened by an employee who jumped out at her and ran into a cinderblock wall covered in black fabric. Her injuries resulted in two surgeries in order to repair her nose. The owners of the haunted house were sued for injuries sustained by the plaintiff, but the court ruled that the defendant had no duty to protect Mays from her bizarre and unpredictable reaction.

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