Court dismisses suit by man who fell off chair in lawyer’s office

New Jersey: Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Dennis O’Brien has granted summary judgment to the defendant law firm of Wolff, Helies, Duggan Spaeth and Lucas and dismissed Thomas Hickey’s suit over his injuries in falling off a reclining chair in its office during a deposition. Hickey’s lawyers had argued that the law firm as owner and maintainer of the chair was negligent not to check its settings for safety before each use. The court found that whatever hazards might inhere in the chair’s low-tension setting, Hickey had been sitting in it for 90 minutes which was “sufficient time for him to learn the chair was designed to tilt and to appreciate its tension setting.” [Ashley Peskoe,]

More chronicles of office-chair falls here (law office, Palm Beach, Fla.), here (law office, New York, N.Y.), here (NYC police detective shot by self in tippy chair), and here (U.K. law firm ad).


  • This sort of things works a lot better when you’re trying to convince judges about topics where they have less familiarity. They are familiar with office furniture, so they are skeptical that it’s particularly dangerous, comfortable with the level of risk involved in using it, and unsympathetic to the idea that they should be exposed to liability for anybody who swings by their home or office for a sit and chat.

  • Talk about irony! I support cases that actually have merit, so having a flagrant suit happen to a firm like this might actually get some of them to smarten up about some of the nonsense cases that they take on these days…

  • Not so long as they win on net…. and in this particular case.


  • Took me months to realise the backrest settings on my new office chair were ajustable, but then i was not paying attention during the mandated lesson on how to use the chair safely. dangerous thing, chairs.