Martha Stewart Sued by Maimed Magician

Associating with Martha Stewart isn't always a "good thing," according to an Iowa magician.

Patrick Albanese filed a lawsuit Monday (Nov. 17) against Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and Kmart Corp. after his finger was severed from sitting on a malfunctioning lounge chair sold by the store under the Martha Stewart Everyday brand.

The magician and Clive hand model was moving the lounge chair on his deck in June when the front legs collapsed, crushing his right index finger. The top digit was sliced off and rolled beneath the deck and was later retrieved by a family member. The tip was reattached by a surgeon.

The lawsuit claims that the named parties were negligent in warning that the chair was defective, for failing to inspect the chair and for improperly designing the chair. A later model of the chair had a signficant difference (two bolts on the front legs as opposed to one) that prevented any collapse.

Although Albanese's work as a hand model will continue, he obviously won't get any work during his recovery period. The injury will have a bigger effect on his work as a magician since slight of hand is essential to creating illusions. His fingertip is allegedly has decreased sensation and function. Also part of his act, Alabanese plays the banjo, which would also be affected by his injury. He has served as the master of ceremonies for Hollywood's Magic Castle for 15 years.

He is seeking compensation for past and future medical expenses, physical and mental pain and suffering, permanent partial disfigurement and loss of earning capacity.

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