McKINNEY, Texas (CN) – A child spent a week in a hospital burn unit after his Nike Dri-FIT shorts burned “with unthinkable speed and intensity,” though he was the farthest child from a campfire, and was the only child who caught fire, his parents claim in court.
Troy and Leslie Patton sued Nike in Collin County Court on behalf of their son, Hunter, who suffered burns over 17 percent of his body on May 5.
“Hunter left home that that morning dressed from head-to-toe in his favorite Nike apparel, which included Nike Dri-Fit shorts,” the complaint states. “Hunter, [his twin brother] Tanner and their friends were gathered around a campfire when the flames ignited only Hunter’s Dri Fit shorts. Hunter’s cotton T-shirt was untouched. Hunter’s cotton blend socks were untouched. And, even though Hunter was standing furthest from the fire – he was the only child who caught fire.”
Hunter tried to put out the flames by rolling on the ground and burned his hands doing so.
“Hunter’s brother and friends helplessly watched in horror as Hunter’s Nike Dri-Fit shorts melted into his groin and legs, and dripped molten fabric on his shins,” the complaint states. “Hunter’s friends eventually rescued Hunter from the melting Dri-FIT inferno by pulling the shorts from around his feet and burying them in sand to extinguish the flames. Tanner Patton suffered a tremendous shock as he helplessly watched his twin brother suffer this horrifying tragedy.”
Hunter spent seven days in a hospital burn unit with second-degree burns over 17 percent of his body to both hands and from his shins to his inner thighs.
His parents claim that “Nike has concealed the risk of injuring consumers by producing, marketing and selling unsafe highly flammable garments. Nike has a legal duty to warn purchasers and consumers of the potential flammability of its high-fire-hazard garments. Nike does not label any of its Dri-FIT products despite the clear danger of its melting fabric causing sever burns, scars and pain. Nike provides no warning.”
Dri-FIT fabric is made from polyester microfibers that are designed to wick sweat away from the body to the fabric surface for evaporation, according to Nike’s website.
The fabric is used extensively in Nike’s athletic wear products, including its Tiger Woods-branded golf wear and soccer kits for Manchester United, Barcelona and the United States Men’s National Team.
Nike did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Pattons seek actual and punitive damages for negligence and product liability. They are represented by Kevin Koudelka with Richardson Koudelka.
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