Woman Sues Zara After Being Injured By Rat-Infested Dress
When we talk about dangerous products, we’re often talking about items that are designed in a way that makes them more dangerous than they need to be or are made with components that are prone to failing and making a product dangerous. There are federal safety regulations clothing manufacturers have to meet to be able to sell products in the U.S., such as flammability standards for fabrics, but there aren’t many headlines about people being injured by a piece of clothing. However, there is one very unusual case that recently made the news because that’s just what happened.
24-year-old Cailey Fiesel has filed a lawsuit against clothing manufacturer Zara after she purchased a dress from Zara which had a dead rat sewn into the hem of the dress. She developed a large rash as a result of wearing the dress, which was found to be caused by a rodent-borne illness.
Fiesel purchased the dress in question from a Zara location in Greenwich, CT on July 5, 2016 and when she returned home to Manhattan, she placed the dress in her closet until she decided to wear it to work a few weeks later in August. As the day went on, she noticed a very strong smell, but she wasn’t able to figure out where it was coming from and it didn’t go away when she got up to walk away from her desk.
Later that day, she felt what seemed like a loose string from her dress brushing against her leg. When she went to reached down to try and brush it out of the way, she noticed a strange bulge in the hem of the dress. That’s when she realized it wasn’t a string brushing against her leg, but rather the leg of a dead rat which had been sewn into the hem of the dress. After wearing the infested dress to work that day, Fiesel developed a very large rash. Her doctor later diagnosed the rash as being caused by exposure to a rodent-borne disease.
Fiesel’s personal injury lawsuit claims the dress was defective and accused Zara of being negligent in several different ways. She accuses Zara of failing to take reasonable steps to make sure disease-carrying rodents aren’t sewn into their products in the first place, of failing to properly inspect their products to make sure infested products never make it to stores, and of failing to remove the dress from stores before it was sold to a consumer. She also says Zara should have been aware that a rodent being sewn into the hem of the dress is something that reasonably could have harmed a consumer who purchased it.
This lawsuit implies that one factor which could have led to this incident is the extremely fast process Zara uses to get new products into stores. Zara is known as a “fast fashion” brand, similar to H&M and Forever 21, which produces extremely trendy pieces of clothing at highly affordable prices. Fast fashion clothing isn’t known for its high quality and tends to only last for as long as the item will be in style for. Fiesel’s lawsuit states that while it takes six months for many other clothing manufacturers to get new products into stores, Zara only needs one week to develop and launch new products, with approximately 12,000 new products hitting Zara stores every year.