Flammable Fabrics

Written by
Abraham Jaros
Updated on Wednesday, Oct 18, 2023

With Halloween around the corner and pop-up Halloween costume stores selling various costumes, the consumer must be aware that some of these costumes may be highly flammable. There are Federal regulations such as the Federal Flammable Fabrics Act, ("FFFA"), 15 U.S.C. 1191, which have certain minimum standards of flammability for clothing which would include Halloween costumes.

For those who think that costumes or fabrics do not catch fire, think again. In a case handled by our office, Feiner v. Calvin Klein, Ltd., 157 A.D.2d 501, 549 N.Y.S.2d 692 (1st Dept. 1990), a young woman was wearing a blouse which caught fire when she went near a stove, as a result of which she suffered severe burns.

The manufacturer’s defense was that it had complied with the minimum standards of the FFFA. The New York Appellate Court made it clear that even if the manufacturer complies with the minimum standards of the FFFA, that does not mean it is not responsible or that the product was not defective if, in fact, it catches fire. Obviously, if the manufacturer does not meet minimum Federal standards, that is clearly proof of negligence.

For a similar proposition, see Mercogliano v. Sears, Roebuck and Co., 303 A.D.2d 566, 756 N.Y.S.2d 472 (2nd Dept. 2003), where an infant plaintiff was severely burned when a jacket she was wearing caught fire near a barbecue grill in the family’s background. The court found that even if the manufacturer had complied with the minimum Federal standards that did not mean it was completely off the hook if the jacket caught fire and the fire spread rapidly.

Similarly, in Perez v. Mini-Max Stores, Inc. 231 A.D.2d 162, 661 N.Y.S.2d 659 (2nd Dept. 1997), a five-year-old boy was severely burned when he dropped a cigarette lighter onto a thermal undershirt. The court found that the fact that it may have met the minimum FFFA standards did not absolve the manufacturer from liability.

Both cases, Mercogliano and Perez cited the seminal case of Feiner v. Calvin Klein, Ltd., which had been handled by our office in 1990 and is still good law.

If you purchase a Halloween costume or any clothing make certain it is from a reputable manufacturer and at the very least meets the minimum FFFA standards. Meeting standards should be reflected on the box of the Halloween costume, and that it is not a costume created by unidentified persons and sold in a pop-up store which will disappear after Halloween so that if the costume unfortunately does go up in flames and causes injury to the wearer or others in the vicinity of the wearer, there is no responsible party to answer for the harm.

Also be aware that even if the costume does meet the minimum FFFA standards, it will still catch fire if it is exposed to a flame. With candles on tables at restaurants and clubs, and used for atmosphere for parties, make certain costumes do not come into contact or even near with flames, to avoid possible serious burn injuries.

So, if you or a loved one suffered an injury due to a flammable fabric or Halloween costume then contact Jaroslawicz & Jaros. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery of funds.

Get the advice and guidance you and your family need

You do not have to go through this alone.

At Jaroslawicz & Jaros, we have over 40 years of experience helping accident victims in New York recover compensation. The clients we represent benefit from the personal attention of our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys.

We Have Recovered Over $2 Billion for Our Clients.

The attorneys at Jaroslawicz & Jaros have obtained verdicts and settlements of over $1 Million for hundreds of our individual clients. Since all New York personal injury law firms generally charge the same legal fee why not hire an experienced law firm with a proven track record?

When you retain the New York City accident lawyers at Jaroslawicz & Jaros, you will always work directly with your lawyer, and not with a paralegal or secretary. We will always be available to you! Our hundreds of positive client reviews and testimonials speak for themselves.

Experience and a track record of results

Contact the attorneys at Jaroslawicz & Jaros for a free legal consultation regarding your rights and your legal options. If we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis so that you don’t have to worry about any upfront costs.

Contact us today for a free consultation

Picture of Abraham Jaros

You can reach partner Abraham Jaros directly, either call his cell 917-842-9544, or email him at ajaros@lawjaros.com. Or call Jaroslawicz & Jaros at 212 227 2780 in New York, or toll free 800-269-2780, or submit an online questionnaire.