Parkersburg woman faults defective treadmill for injuries

By Lawrence Smith | Jan 15, 2010

PARKERSBURG - A Wood County woman alleges her New Year's fitness resolution for 2009 was thwarted by an injury she sustained on the exercise equipment she bought to help her with that goal.

Lou Ann Davis of Parkersburg filed a product liability suit on Dec. 29 against Icon Health and Fitness Inc. of Logan, Utah. In her complaint filed in Wood Circuit Court, Davis, 62, alleges a treadmill she bought in December 2008 at Kmart malfunctioned causing her to be injured.

Kmart, and its parent company Sears Holdings Corporation in Hoffman Estates, Ill., are named as co-defendants in the suit.

According to court records, Davis purchased a treadmill manufactured by Icon at the Kmart store in Vienna on Dec. 24, 2008. The make, model and price are not specified.

It was not until five days later that Davis put the treadmill to use. As per the instructions, Davis wore a safety lanyard while using the treadmill.

However, the treadmill "began uncontrollably accelerating while she was walking on it." Since she did not know how to stop it, "the increased speed caused her to fall violently and become injured."

Records show she later learned that the speed adjustment button on the right side of the treadmill became stuck. When the button is pushed, it catches on the frame causing the treadmill to accelerate until reaching maximum speed.

Due to her fall, Davis alleges she sustained injuries to her left arm, shoulder and hand. The pain and suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience and annoyance she's suffered as a result has forced her "to incur diverse and sundry expenses for medical care, treatment, drugs and attention."

In her suit, Davis maintains Icon is negligent for manufacturing a defective treadmill, and Kmart for selling it. They are responsible for her injuries since she not only "used the treadmill in proper manner pursuant to the instructions provided in the User's Manual," but also "could not have anticipated the danger that the defective contained within the treadmill created for [her]."

Davis seeks unspecified damages, court costs, attorney fees and interest. She is represented by Harry C. Dietzler with the Charleston law firm of Hill, Carper, Peterson, Bee and Dietzler.

The case is assigned to Judge Jeffrey B. Reed.

Wood Circuit Court, case number 09-C-649

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