The Verdict - The Lombardi Law Firm Blog
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No product is thought to be dangerous until you’re injured in a way you never thought about. And that’s the point about Crocs, people, but mostly children, are getting hurt in ways parents hadn’t anticipated or imagined possible. To those people that love their Crocs, this is just a bunch of BS. But to the parents of injured children it’s real and unsettling. For the manufacturer of Crocs it’s a publicity nightmare with which they need to come up with a workable solution. Damage control can't just be blaming every parent whose children are unfortunate enough to be injured on an escalator.
Justin in our office posted about Crocs and we received thirty comments and some lighting rod discussion about what he wrote. He didn’t write anything all that controversial so the venom it drew surprised me. Today I’m going to assemble a compendium of what I could find on the Internet about this ugly plastic shoe that when worn makes you look … well, slovenly.
According to information on Wikipedia Crocs, Inc. (NASDAQ: CROX ) is the shoe manufacturer founded by entrepreneur George B. Boedecker, Jr. Originally a Canadian company the Crocs Beach was first sold in November 2002 at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show. He sold about 200 pairs.
Manufacture and patents
In June 2004, Crocs purchased Foam Creations and their manufacturing operations to secure exclusive rights to the proprietary foam resin "croslite", which is made using ethylene vinyl acetate. The foam forms itself to a wearer's feet and offers purported medical benefits, according to a number of podiatrists.
Crocs holds four patents covering various utility aspects of its footwear, U.S. Patent No. 6993858 B2 issued February 7, 2006, and U.S. Patent Nos. D517788,, D517789 and D517790 issued on March 28, 2006. The Company also announced that it has filed complaints with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and the U.S. Federal District Court against 11 companies that manufacture, import or distribute products called Crock-offs that Crocs believes infringe its patents.
Various types of Crocs with accessories
On October 3, 2006, Crocs purchased Jibbitz, a manufacturer of accessories that snap into the holes in Crocs, for US$10 million. On July 30, 2007 Crocs agreed to buy Bite Footwear, based out of Redmond, Washington
People that adore Crocs say we lawyers are picking on them and should stay out of letting people know about the seriousness of the injuries children have suffered while wearing Crocs.
But take a look at what information Wikipedia has listed concerning health and safety.
Health and safety
Footwear such as Crocs and flip-flops came under scrutiny in 2006 when children suffered injuries after the shoes became caught in escalator mechanisms. This was due to the softness of the shoe's material combined with the relatively smaller size of children's feet.
Rapid City Regional Hospital in Rapid City, South Dakota changed its dress code in 2007 to prohibit the sandal variants, along with those with Jibbitz holes, citing safety concerns, but still allowed closed-top "Professional" and the healthcare focused "Rx" Crocs to be worn. Blekinge hospital in Sweden has banned the wearing of "Foppatoffels" (Swedish nickname derived from the owner of the company that imports the shoes, Peter "Foppa" Forsberg) by hospital staff, due to the concern that the shoes may build up static electricity and thus interfere with electronic equipment. Vienna's city hospitals said they were banning popular Crocs plastic clogs, often worn by nursing staff, as they may pose safety risks for patients.
It’s interesting that hospitals seem to be in the forefront of stopping their employees from wearing this type of shoe to work.
The attorneys on the IB have posted quite a bit about this plastic money making machine. Here is a list of the articles posted:
Crocs are dangerous. No, not the toothy reptiles; the clogs , Justin Rogers, Des Moines.
Crocs Can Be Dangerous, by Jenny Albano, Baltimore.
Crocs Shoes and Escalator Accidents, by Claude Wyle from San Franciso.
Kentucky Woman Sues Crocs Over Daughter’s Escalator Injury, by Chrissie Cole.
Mike Parker, Escalator Accidents/Injuries Involving Crocs.
Kids, Crocs, Rubber Shoes and Flip Flop Sandals AND Escalators a Bad Mix, by Craig Kelley, Nebraska.
Escalors injure 10,000 each year,by Brent Adams, Fayetteville.
There is a web site titled “I Hate Crocs Dot Com”. They offer The I Hate Crocs store and Our Croc-burning video, along with Our Croc-cutting video and Our I Hate Crocs Facebook group. The people that run this site do have an email address. email@example.com. They claim to have over 1,000 members. The discussion board and Wall may be of interest to those with an injury and whose attorneys are investigating a claim. Facebook shows they have over 3,000 members.
A general Internet search showed you can buy a cellphone case that looks just like a Croc. Oh my, the world may be closer to ending than first thought. Even REI is selling Crocs. Not hiking Crocs but regular plastic ones. Some even come with furry collars. Maybe because there are no escalators in the mountains they feel it’s safe to wear them at base camp or around the camp fire.
It also looks like tree huggers and the folks from Berkeley, California are debating just how environmentally friendly Croc owners are being knowing they are a petroleum based product. I’m not so sure wearing an item of clothing that is made most everywhere but the United States is all that sound for our economy, but perhaps they feel so good the wearer could care less if they can afford to pay bills.
The company that cooked up the formula for the proprietary resins is Foam Creations, in Canada, which Crocs Inc. purchased in June 2004. Until 2005, the resins were compounded -- mixed together -- in Italy, but Crocs Inc. has since geared up additional compounding facilities. Crocs Inc. owns its own manufacturing facilities for the finished product in Canada and Mexico, but about 50 percent of all Crocs are made in China, and there are also third-party manufacturers in Florida, Italy and Romania. The prospectus offers an interesting rationale for the eggs-in-multiple-manufacturing-baskets strategy. Speed to market is critical for Crocs -- gotta get those lime-colored Kids Cayman Crocs into the local retail outlet NOW, before fickle 5-year-olds move on to the next model. Crocs Inc. waits for no slow boat from China!
All of this has lead me to believe I’ll never own a pair and over this Labor Day weekend be careful, it’s a dangerous world in which we live. Be looking, be aware and be safe. Enjoy the holiday and I’ll see you on Tuesday.