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Frazier v. The Limited, Inc.

Verdict: $420,000

The defendant Victoria Secret, a subsidiary of the Limited, entered the body and skin care

products market in l995 and sold a product labeled “Pear Glace Moisturizing Body Splash.” The product was its number one selling cosmetic product. Victoria Secret's Marketing Department designed label and marketed it as a moisturizer, despite the product's primary ingredient being SD Alcohol 40 which is highly flammable.

            The plaintiff, who was a twenty-year-old African American female, followed the instruction on the label and claimed did not realize it was flammable. She applied the product liberally, as instructed, to her arms, chest, and neck, while dressing in the bathroom with the door closed. After she put on her blouse, she lit a cigarette causing ignition and a blue flame. She suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns to eleven percent of her body.

The defendant re-labeled the product post-accident to say “flammable—keep away from heat or open flame” and dropped the word “moisturizing.” The plaintiff's counsel argued that the product was misbranded as a skin care product under FDA guidelines and that, although the product had a scented fragrance, the average woman would not assume it was perfume product which are known to be inherently flammable. Research of competitive market products, such as “Jean Nate Body Splash,” revealed that body splashes carried a warning regarding flammability.

Frazier v. The Limited, Inc.

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