Skechers allegedly made dangerously defective battery powered light-up shoes for kids and then didn’t disclose the safety risks, according to a new class-action lawsuit led by the mother of a boy who sustained chemical burns on his feet.
It’s a case Skechers SKX, +1.47% says it’s ready to boot out of court, telling MarketWatch “our lighted footwear has always been and remains safe.”
The dust-up started when Sherry Foster’s 9-year-old son laced up his light-up Skechers for the last day of school and came home with red, burned feet and shoe lights that no longer blinked, according to a new Manhattan federal lawsuit.
The following day, a podiatrist determined the grade schooler’s burns were second-degree and “chemical” in nature, said the lawsuit filed Wednesday.
Almost a year earlier, Skechers allegedly knew there were potential problems with some of its battery-operated light-up shoes, the lawsuit claimed.
The shoemaker stopped making the “problematic styles” and brought new kicks to market, court papers said, “all while quietly replacing sneakers of a handful of consumers who raised the dangers of the defective sneakers to the company.”
But some of the shoes allegedly remained available at third-party sellers, which is how Foster, who lives in Hillsdale, N.Y., bought the shoes in question. She bought the “sporty mesh” footwear at issue in March 2018 for $65, according to the lawsuit.
In a statement to MarketWatch, Skechers called the case “frivolous” and said Foster’s lawyers were getting their facts wrong about the shoe batteries at issue.
The company said even though it had “serious doubts that Ms. Foster’s son’s burns were caused by our shoes, we took the complaint, as we do all safety-related complaints, seriously and immediately contacted Ms. Foster to seek her assistance with our safety investigation.”
Skechers said the lawsuit failed to note that the company repeatedly asked to have its experts look at the shoes and speak with the podiatrist. Foster “refused all assistance with our safety investigation,” it said.
Even without her cooperation, Skechers said it had the style tested, with engineers concluding there was no grounds for the claim.
Daniel Rehns, a lawyer for Foster, declined to comment.
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