Big Lots recliner fell apart twice, personal injury suit claims

Kelly Holleran Jul. 28, 2011, 3:00am

A woman has filed suit against Big Lots, alleging a reclining chair she bought from the store twice fell apart while people were sitting in it.

Helen Miller claims she bought a Berry Check reclining chair from the Fairview Heights Big Lots in early January 2009.

In the middle of February 2009, Miller's brother was sitting in the chair when it collapsed to the floor, according to the complaint filed July 1 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

At the end of March 2009, Big Lots replaced Miller's chair with a new Berry Check reclining chair, the suit states.

In the first week of July 2009, Miller sat in the chair when it again fell apart, the complaint says.

"Plaintiff pulled the reclining arm of reclining chair, and when doing so, the entire back of the reclining chair collapsed, throwing Plaintiff to the ground and injuring Plaintiff's body in various manner and various places," the suit states.

Because of the incident, Miller claims she sustained injuries to her left and right shoulders and left and right upper, mid and lower back and chest. In addition, she experienced pain, suffering and mental anguish and incurred medical costs, according to the complaint.

In addition to Big Lots, Miller names the furniture's manufacturers -- United Furniture Industries, Omega Motion and Leggett and Platt -- as defendants.

She blames the defendants for making and selling a defectively manufactured and designed chair and for constructing and selling a chair with inadequate instructions for use. In addition, the defendants failed to include proper warnings about the dangers of the chair, failed to sufficiently assemble the recliner and failed to inspect the recliner, according to the complaint.

In her six-count complaint, Miller is seeking a judgment of more than $600,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Miller will be represented by Ronald R. Duebbert of The Duebbert Law Office in Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-346.

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