The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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April 21, 2014

Burned using Icy Hot, woman claims

GROVE CITY — A Grove City woman has sued Chattem Inc. and Rite Aid of Pennsylvania Inc., alleging she suffered a second-degree chemical burn using one of Chattem’s Icy Hot pain relief products.

The companies have denied the allegations, countering that she used the product incorrectly.

Vicki Seelbaugh, 121 College Ave., said she was suffering from a backache and/or muscle strain in her upper back and neck area on Feb. 24, 2012.

She went to Rite Aid’s store at  213 W. Main St. in Grove City and bought Icy Hot’s Medicated No Mess Applicator, a roll-on product “partially due to its packaging, which states its uses included ... the temporary relief of minor pain associated with simple backache and muscle strains.”

Seelbaugh said in her suit filed Feb. 21 the product was in “substantially the same conditions as when it left ... Chattem’s possession and control.”

She said she read the warnings and directions contained on the packaging and applied Icy Hot in accordance with the directions. The area of her body in which she applied Icy Hot “was not wounded, damaged, broken or irritated in way prior to the application of the Icy Hot,” she said.

However, after rolling on the pain reliever, she experienced “excruciating burning pain” in the application area, and observed “inflammation, discoloration and blistering,” she said.

Seelbaugh said she tried to allow her body to heal naturally, but sought treatment at Grove City Medical Center in Pine Township on March 4, 2012, when “the affected area of her body showed no indication of healing and had become worse.”

She alleged the product was “defective” and her suit includes counts of strict product liability and breach of implied warranty.

Chattem, of Chattanooga, Tenn., and Rite Aid, of Camp Hill, who are represented by the same lawyer, said the packaging met all U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations and rules.

The companies said the “actions and/or inactions of (Seelbaugh) caused the alleged incident.”

Seelbaugh failed to “exercise reasonable care when using the product;” “educate herself and follow instructions;” “take appropriate precautions;” or “protect herself,” the companies said in an answer filed April 8.

They added the product was “misused, abused, altered and/or in a condition substantially changed after it left the hands of the manufacturer, distributor or seller.”

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