A Manhattan woman is suing Spanish fashion retailer Zara after she says she found a rat sewn into a dress she bought at one of their stores.
In a lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court last week, 24-year-old Cailey Fiesel says that she not only suffered emotional distress but was diagnosed with a rodent-born disease after wearing the dress.
Court documents say that Fiesel bought two dresses “off-the-rack” at Zara’s Greenwich, Connecticut, store back in July and hung them in her closet. In mid-August, she wore the black dress in question for the first time.
While at work, Fiesel says she started to notice a “disturbingly pungent odor” but couldn’t figure out where the offending smell was coming from. “She was unable to escape this odor,” according to court papers.
Throughout the day, Fiesel says she noticed something that felt like a loose string from her dress rubbing against her leg. She didn’t give much thought to it and reached down to try to find the string. That’s when she says she made the grisly discovery.
“To her utter shock and disbelief, as she ran her hand over the hem of the dress she felt an unusual bulge and suddenly realized that it was not a string that was rubbing against her leg but was instead a leg rubbing against her leg. The leg of a dead rodent that is,” court documents say.
“Paralyzed with fear,” Fiesel jumped out of her chair as coworkers gathered around her desk. Court documents claim that when she took off the dress she found a dead rodent sewn into its hem, the bulge of its body hidden beneath the fabric.
Photos of the dress included with the court papers “conspicuously [depict] the dead rodent with at least one of its appendages protruding.”
The lawsuit claims that Fiesel “has sustained significant personal injuries and emotional distress” and “a large rash that was diagnosed as a rodent born disease” as a result of Zara’s negligence.
It was Zara’s duty “to prevent its products from being manufactured and sold with disease causing rodents sewn into them,” the suit says.
Fiesel is seeking unspecified damages.
A spokesperson for Zara USA told NBC 4 New York the company is aware of the allegation and is investigating the matter.
"The brand has stringent quality controls and health and safety standards worldwide that are followed and met in manufacturing, including stitching and pressing," the spokesperson said. "We are committed to ensuring that all of our products meet these rigorous requirements."