Last month, a federal appellate court decided a case involving a man’s claims against the manufacturer of a cleaning solution that spontaneously combusted when he was using the product to clean his basement floor. In the case, Suarez v. W.M. Barr & Co., the plaintiff filed three related product liability claims against the manufacturer of the “Goof Off” brand cleaning solution. Ultimately, the court determined that the plaintiff presented enough evidence on two of the claims to proceed. However, the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s failure-to-warn claim, based on the adequacy of the warning on the product’s label.
Suarez was using “Goof Off” brand cleaning solution to clean his basement floor. Like any responsible homeowner, Suarez read the instructions on the product’s packaging prior to using the product. In preparation, he opened several windows and the door to the basement to allow ventilation, as the instructions recommended.
Following the instructions, Suarez poured the cleaning solution onto the basement floor and used a broom to evenly spread a thin layer of the solution across the entire floor. However, as Suarez was brushing the solution, it caught fire, severely burning him. After he recovered, Suarez filed this case against the manufacturer.