Crocs is back in the news this month, having been named in an unusual lawsuit that involves a prison inmate.
According to court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Roanoke, Va., on Sept. 5, Kelvin Deon Yates, an inmate at the Northwestern Regional Jail in Winchester, Va., is suing the jail for allegedly not providing him adequate footwear for recreational activities.
The lawsuit, which stems from several inmate grievance forms submitted by Yates to the jail dating back to April, cites how Crocs’ shoes are allegedly “not safe” for recreational use.
Yates states in a July inmate grievance form that he broke his left leg during a basketball game of “Horse” on April 14. Yates said that he was playing while wearing the Crocs that were provided to him during the time of his intake into the jail earlier that month. “[This caused] me to receive a metal plate and screws in my left ankle,” Yates wrote. This injury also resulted in torn ligaments and several screws in his left knee, the complaint stated.
In a response from a jail officer to Yates in July, the officer wrote that Yates was “correct” that the Crocs shoes provided are not meant for playing basketball. “The Crocs style shoe is a shower shoe and a lounging shoe,” the officer wrote. “We never stated you could play basketball in them.”
The officer added that Yates should have purchased an athletic shoe from the commissary and that it was “his choice” to wear the Crocs while playing basketball. “The responsibility falls on you,” the officer added. “My decision will be this grievance is unfounded.”
But after months of back and forth through grievance forms and appeals, Yates is now seeking relief from the Court to the tune of $1.5 million in damages through this new suit.
Crocs has denied to comment on the case and is not directly involved in this lawsuit.
This case comes as Crocs has received some backlash in Australia following several safety-related incidents. According to news.com.au, there have been multiple incidents involving the shoes getting stuck in escalators.
In the report, the news outlet said that a four-year-old girl almost lost her foot in May after the girl’s Crocs got stuck in an escalator. While the girl did not sustain serious injuries, the incident is part of a larger push by some businesses in the country to ban Crocs. The report added that the popular shoe has been banned from escalators in airports, train stations and shopping centers.
In a statement sent to FN from a Crocs spokesperson, the company denied any such ban was taking place. “To the best of our knowledge, Crocs shoes are not currently banned at any locations in any of our markets,” the spokesperson said.