Man sues Dick's Sporting Goods after hunting ladder breaks

By Kelly Holleran | Dec 9, 2010

CHARLESTON – A man has filed suit against Dick's Sporting Goods and the manufacturer of a stick ladder after he says he fell when a rung on the stick ladder broke as he stepped on it.

Michael Carpenter claims he purchased the stick ladder manufactured by defendant Primal Vantage Company from defendant Dick's to assist him on his climb into his tree stand.

Carpenter used the ladder for the first time on Nov. 24, 2008, when he placed it against a tree and ascended it to a tree stand he utilized to hunt deer, according to the complaint filed Nov. 22 in U.S. District Court.

After spending a few hours in the tree stand, Carpenter began his descent using the same stick ladder. First, Carpenter lowered his gun to the ground, then began his downward climb. However, while Carpenter was stepping on the ladder, one of its rungs collapsed, causing Carpenter to fall, the suit states.

Because of the incident, Carpenter sustained serious and permanent injuries, experienced a permanent disability and has been temporarily disabled, the complaint says. In addition, he claims he experienced extreme pain, mental anguish, suffering and discomfort; has been prevented from attending to his normal household duties; and incurred medical costs. He also lost his ability to engage in activities he enjoys and lost wages, according to the complaint.

The 218-pound Carpenter claims he obeyed the 300-pound weight limit specified on the stick ladder when he descended it and blames his fall on a manufacturing defect.

"During descent of the 'stick ladder,' it collapsed by breaking through the highest attached crimped sections, and specifically through the opening of the vertical member where a bolt to connect to the v-bar was attached," the suit states.

The stick ladder was less strong than its counterparts, was likely to collapse because of its design and was not reasonably safe, but the defendants still placed the product on the market without providing adequate warnings of its dangers to their customers, the complaint says.

In his complaint, Carpenter alleges defect in design, negligence and breach of warranty against the defendants.

He is seeking incidental, compensatory and punitive damages, plus costs, attorney's fees and other relief the court deems just.

He will be represented by Henry E. Wood of Wood Law Office in Charleston.

U.S. District Court case number: 2:10-cv-1328

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