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Duke vs. UNC – Shoe Wouldn’t Believe What Happened

Nike is once again under fire from the sports world. During the much anticipated rivalry between Duke and UNC, five star Duke freshman Zion Williamson went down 35 seconds into the first quarter after his left shoeaNike PG 2.5 PE, fell apart. It took sports Twitter all of 20 minutes to have Nike “trending” worldwide, and not in a good way.

This begs the question of product liability. Is Nike responsible for the damages caused by Williamson’s shoe blow out? Although it is unlikely that Pennsylvania law will apply, we will examine this scenario as if it did.

In the Pennsylvania Suggested Standard Jury, the plaintiff must prove three (3) things: (1) the product malfunctioned; (2) the product was given only normal or anticipated use prior to the accident; and (3) that no reasonable secondary causes were responsible for the accident. Let’s take a look at how this most likely applies to the Duke star’s injury:

  • It is clear that the product malfunctioned. High-caliber players such as Williamson spend plenty of time, effort and money to get a shoe they know fits them well and can stand the intense nature of the game. A ripped shoe is a clear malfunction of its intended purpose;
  • College and professional basketball players tend to play no more than three to four games in any one particular pair of shoes. If the same can be said for Williamson, the shoe was most definitely given normal use;
  • It is difficult to claim any secondary causes were responsible for the accident without knowing all the facts (e.g. did Williamson mistreat his shoes prior to the game; sabotage?). However, assuming everything was status quo, there does not appear to be any causes that would have resulted in Williamson’s shoe coming apart in the manner that it did. It appears that he merely made a basketball play and his shoe should’ve held up.

At Leonard Sciolla, our attorneys represent people who are injured when products fail. By conducting diligent investigations to establish plaintiff’s burden, we aim to give our clients the highest chance of success in product liability cases.

If you or someone you know has been injured by product failure, give us a call and ask to speak with Chris Fleming or any one of our Personal Injury attorneys.

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