A jury has awarded the family of Robin Aleo $20.6M in its Essex County, Massachusetts wrongful death verdict against Toys “R” Us. Aleo died after she hit her head on the end of a swimming pool. The injury accident occurred in 2006 when the Banzai Falls in-ground slide she was going down headfirst bottomed out.
The Andover swimming pool accident caused her to break her neck and sustain spinal cord injury that left her a quadriplegic who couldn’t breathe on her own. Aleo later was taken off life support and died at age 29. Her 18-month-old daughter witnessed her mother being rescued while unconscious from the pool.
In their Andover wrongful death lawsuit, the family claimed that Toyquest Banzai slide, which was made in China, hadn’t been tested to see if met federal standards. The slide had been purchased at Toys “R” US, which had imported it.
Lawyers for the toy company had argued that because the Banzai Falls slide was inflatable, Toys “R” Us was not required to test the product to make sure it complied with federal regulations. Per federal safety standards, pool slides must be able to support 350 pounds without giving way or deforming. According to an expert witness for the plaintiffs, not only does the Banzai Falls slide deform under any weight, but as a person’s weight shifts on the slide while going down it, the air becomes displaced and renders the slide unable to support any load.
The $20.6 million products liability verdict included $18 million in punitive damages, $100,000 for Aleo’s pain and suffering before she died, and $2.5 million in lost income. The other defendants in this Massachusetts products liability lawsuit, Amazon.com and SLB Toys USA, have already settled with Aleo’s husband Michael.
Aleo is not the first person to allegedly become paralyzed after riding down a Banzai Falls slide. One man claims he became a paraplegic after going down one. The slide he got hurt on was bought at Walmart. He is suing the retailer and the Chinese manufacturers for his spinal cord injury.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission established minimum standards for swimming pool slides because they have been linked with so many serious injuries, including paraplegia, quadriplegia, leg fractures, and deaths. Examples of common defects involving pool slides include material failures, environmental incompatibilities, and surface material flaws.
$20.6M award in pool slide death, Eagle Tribune, October 15, 2011
Toys ‘R’ Us hit with Mass. lawsuit damages, UPI, October 16, 2011
Safety Standards for Pool Slides, Consumer Watch
Related Web Resources:
Toys ‘R’ Us
Consumer Product Safety Commission
More Blog Posts:
Boston Playground Accidents Can Cause Serious Massachusetts Child Injuries, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, September 10, 2011
Massachusetts Products Liability: CPSC Recalls More Pourable Gel Fuels Following Burn Injuries and Two Deaths, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, September 9, 2011
Boston Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed in Toddler’s Fatal North Attleboro Crib Accident, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, January 12, 2011
Sellers and retailers can be held liable for Andover personal injury or wrongful death if they sold the product that was the cause of harm. To find out if you have grounds for a Massachusetts products liability lawsuit you should speak with an experienced Boston injury lawyer today.