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Iowa magician, hand model sues over snipped finger


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A hand model, magician and actor blames a Martha Stewart-branded lounge chair for snipping off a bit of his livelihood. In a lawsuit filed Monday against Kmart Corp. and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Patrick Albanese said he was moving the Martha Stewart Everyday lounge chair on a deck in June when the front tubular legs collapsed, crushing his right index finger between one of the chair legs and a tubular bar on the base of the chair.

The lawsuit said the fingertip fell beneath the deck but was later retrieved by a relative. Albanese's attorney, Guy Cook, said the finger tip was reattached by a surgeon.

Albanese, of the Des Moines suburb of Clive, is seeking compensation for past and future medical expenses, physical and mental pain and suffering, permanent partial disfigurement and loss of earning capacity.

The lawsuit, filed in Polk County District Court, claims that Kmart and Martha Stewart Living were negligent in failing to issue a warning that the chair was defective, for failing to inspect the chair and in improperly designing the chair. It also claims the lounge chair was not sellable because it was defective.

Representatives for Kmart and Martha Stewart Living declined to comment.

Cook said that while the injury has not ended Albanese's work as a hand model, it has affected it while he has been recovering. Cook said the injury has had a bigger impact on Albenese's work as a magician.

Albanese, who served as the master of ceremonies for Hollywood's Magic Castle for 15 years, has some sensation in the fingertip but has decreased function, Cook said.

"He's a very accomplished musician and as part of his work, he does various slight-of-hand tricks," Cook said.

Cook said it's also affected Albanese's ability to play the banjo, which he does as part of his act.


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