Woman injured in North End chimney collapse sues maker of hammock she was in

Woman injured in North End chimney collapse sues maker of hammock she was in
A 21-year-old woman was paralyzed in July 2017 when a chimney collapsed on top of her while she was sitting in a hammock attached to it. (Sky 25)

BOSTON — Erin Field was relaxing in a hammock on the roof of her brother’s North End Apartment on a summer night in 2017 when one of the hammock’s supports, a brick chimney, collapsed onto her.

Field was paralyzed. She spent weeks in the hospital undergoing surgeries and recovery.

Now, she is filing a lawsuit against the company that she claims didn’t adequately warn users of the dangers when attaching their hammocks various structures.

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Eagle’s Nest Outfitters, known for hammocks made to be strapped between trees, is the subject of the lawsuit.

Field’s lawsuit claims the company negligently advertises its products to consumers with the tagline: ‘No trees, No problem.” According to the lawsuit, the company’s “deceptive marketing” leads users to put themselves in dangerous situations.

The company’s Instagram page encourages users to share photos of themselves in the places they hang their hammocks, even reposting some of the photos.

As a result of ENO’s failures and its negligent and deceptive marketing, Plaintiff Erin Field was crushed under the weight of a collapsed brick column, which could not support the weight of a hammock manufactured and sold by Defendant. She suffers from significant, lifelong injuries as a result of Defendant’s conduct. She is a quadriplegic.
Erin Field v. Eagle Nest Outfitters, Inc.

The lawsuit lists similar incidents between 2009 and 2017 that involved the same or similar hammocks causing structures to collapse when they had been placed unsafely:

  • On May 27, 2011, K.M., a 14 year-old Utah girl, was in a hammock attached to two brick columns when of the columns collapsed on top of her. She became quadriplegic. This story was well-publicized, including by an “Inside Edition” report on hammock safety that aired on July 11, 2016 (picture below from that report).
  • On September 18, 2010, Mallori Kastner, an 18 year-old Indiana woman, died when the tree her hammock was attached to fell on top of her. Her boyfriend, 21 year-old Jeremy Mohr, was also in the hammock and suffered paralysis injury. This was publicized on the internet and local news media outlets.
  • On October 27, 2009, T.B., a 3 year-old boy in Australia was in a hammock attached to a pillar made of clay masonry bricks and mortar. The pillar collapsed on the boy, killing him. This incident, and the investigation that followed was publicized in Australia. ENO has established a presence in Australia, through the development of its Australian website, www.enonation.com.au.
  • On March 15, 2009, J.P., a 14 year-old girl in Harvard, Massachusetts, died when the tree to which her hammock was attached fell on her. This was publicized on the internet and local news media outlets.
  • On May 14, 2016, P.S., a 13 year-old Iowa girl, died when the brick column her hammock was attached to fell on top of her. P.S. was in an ENO DoubleNest Hammock that was attached to the brick column with ENO’s Atlas Straps. The story of P.S.‘s tragedy was well publicized by news media sources such as CNN, USA Today, and The Washington Post.
  • On April 24, 2016, A.D., a 13 year-old Connecticut girl, died when a tree her hammock was attached to fell on her. This was publicized on the internet and local news media outlets.
  • On May 26, 2016, Elizabeth Gay Casey, an Arkansas woman, was killed when a tree her hammock was attached to fell on her. This was publicized on the internet and local news media outlets.
  • On May 16, 2016, in Amherst, Massachusetts, a man was injured when his hammock was attached to a rooftop chimney, and the chimney collapsed on top of him. This was publicized on the internet and local news media outlets.
  • On May 21, 2017, J.D., a 15 year-old Georgia girl, was killed when a tree her hammock was attached to fell on her. This was publicized on the internet and local news media outlets.

“Although ENO’s photo caption contest warned against hanging hammocks too high off the ground or stacking them, and forbid entry of photographs of such placements, it did not warn against or prohibit hanging them from masonry structures, non weight-bearing walls, or non-trees,” the lawsuit states. “Although ENO’s photo caption contest directed users to review ENO’s safety instructions, posted elsewhere on its website, the photos it published through the contest and on its social media accounts were inconsistent with those instructions. ENO provided no instructions adequate to communicate the risk and danger of hanging its hammocks on structures other than healthy trees, such as brick columns and other masonry structures.”

According to the lawsuit, the marketing campaign was the sole reason the hammock Field was injured in was hung in its place.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages to be determined at trial.

Boston 25 News has reached out to ENO, Inc. for comment. We will update this story when the company responds.