A woman who suffered permanent injuries in 2017 when a chimney on Charter Street in the North End collapsed on the hammock she was in is suing the hammock company, charging it not only failed to warn people that attaching hammocks to brick structures might be dangerous, it actually encouraged the practice through a photo-caption contest.
In her suit, filed this week in US District Court in Boston, Erin Field of Somerville says Eagle Nest Outfitters of Asheville, NC disregarded repeated instances of fatalities and serious injuries caused by the practice and used photos of people swinging in hammocks attached to brick structures - including the Great Wall of China - and other, flimsier structures, in its photo-caption contest and other marketing.
Field and her boyfriend were visiting with her brother, Todd, in his 43 Charter St. apartment the night of July 10, 2017, when they went up to the roof of the neighboring 45 Charter St. and Todd attached his Eagle Nest hammock to the same chimney he'd previously used with no problems in the month he had lived there.
Not long after, a bit after midnight, Erin Field got in the hammock. Then her boyfriend joined her.
Upon Jack sitting on the hammock, the brick column to which one side was attached collapsed on Erin, causing catastrophic, lifelong injuries.
In her formal complaint, Field says her brother only used the chimney as a support for the hammock because of Eagle Nest marketing.
On or about June 1, 2017, Todd moved into the apartment at 43 Charter Street in Boston. After moving to the apartment, Todd continued to review ENO's social marketing campaign and/or photo caption contest.
As a result of influence from ENO's above described marketing campaign, Todd decided to hang his ENO hammock on the rooftop of the apartment building located at 45 Charter Street, which was accessible from his 43 Charter Street apartment rooftop. He attached the hammock with the Atlas Hanging Straps to brick columns located on the rooftop.
Based on influence from ENO's above described marketing campaign, Todd took a picture within a month of moving into his apartment showing his hammock affixed to the brick columns. Todd attached a caption to the photo stating, "no trees no problem."
The complaint adds:
As a manufacturer of ENO hammocks and hanging straps, ENO owed a duty to Plaintiff and to all persons whom its products might foreseeably harm to exercise due care in the manufacturing, marketing and sale of its ENO hammocks and hanging straps.
ENO knew or should have known that affixing ENO's DoubleNest Hammock using its Atlas Hanging Strap to fixed points that were not stable trees presented an unreasonably dangerous condition that could result in serious injury to users.
ENO breached its duty of care to Plaintiff by marketing and promoting ENO hammocks and straps in a manner that encouraged users to attach hammocks with straps to fixed points other than stable trees.
As a direct and proximate result of ENO's negligence, Plaintiff suffered catastrophic injuries.
Field is seeking at least $1 million in damages.
Complete complaint (1.1M PDF).