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Lawyers Debate Sag Harbor Goop Fire

Thu, 12/15/2022 - 08:42
Christine Sampson

Whatever happened to that late-June incident at the Goop shop in Sag Harbor, where two waiters were badly burned after a store employee toasted marshmallows for an event, using isopropyl alcohol?

It’s not in litigation, at least not yet. Lawyers for both sides are trying to negotiate a settlement.

Justin Blitz, the New York City-based lawyer for the two men, Mark Nilon and Nathaniel Meeks, says that while his clients have since gone back to work, each was badly burned in the June 25 incident.

That evening, the Goop retail store, founded by the actress Gwyneth Paltrow and headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., hosted an event at its Bay Street shop, catered by Little Gem, which is owned by Mr. Blitz’s wife. (The catering company is not involved in the settlement discussions, the lawyer said.)

Little Gem provided the food and the waiters. Unknown to the two men, said Mr. Blitz, Goop, on its own, had set up a s’mores buffet, with a burner in a covered area outside.

According to police and fire marshal reports, a shop employee used rubbing alcohol to “kindle” the fire, and the vapors caused an explosion. Sag Harbor Fire Marshal Bruce Schiavoni cited Goop on a certificate of occupancy charge, and for lighting a flame underneath a flammable ceiling — in this case, a woven bamboo ceiling that was burned in the explosion.

Mr. Meeks was helicoptered to Stony Brook Hospital for burns on his back and hands; Mr. Nilon was taken to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital with facial burns. Police reported that “subjects stated that rubbing alcohol was added to candles, which caused a large explosion/fire.”

In the months that followed, said Mr. Blitz, both men paid follow-up visits to a number of doctors.

The lawyer said he was hopeful that the shop and the waiters will arrive at an amicable resolution of the case. Failing that, “the ultimate next step would be proceeding with litigation.”

An email sent to Goop’s corporate office for comment on the case did not receive an immediate response.

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