The company that manufactured a magnetic toy blamed in the death of a 22-month-old Redmond boy settled lawsuits Wednesday with his parents...
The company that manufactured a magnetic toy blamed in the death of a 22-month-old Redmond boy settled lawsuits Wednesday with his parents and 13 other families for $13.5 million.
The lawsuits were filed involving Magnetix toys manufactured by Montreal-based Mega Brands were linked to various injuries across the country and to the death of Kenny Sweet, the son of Penny and Ken Sweet of Redmond.
Penny Sweet, 38, said Wednesday that the settlement would help her family move on.
“Families are really the most important thing,” Sweet said. “I wanted to be with my family, spend time with my children, and raise them.”
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Sweet said that it was a unanimous decision among the families to settle instead of battling the company in court. Details of the settlement were not disclosed.
“We went into mediation in September,” said Sweet, who is pregnant.
Last year, Sweet’s son died on Thanksgiving Day after days earlier swallowing eight magnetic pieces — each about the size of a popcorn kernel. The magnetic pieces bonded together and pinched his small intestine, which ruptured the intestinal wall and led to blood poisoning.
The lawsuit included two other families from Western Washington.
“The families and myself are very happy with the results,” said Sim Osborn, the lawyer who represented all 14 families. “They’ve been treated fairly. I think Mega [Brands] stepped up and did the right thing, acted responsibly, and took care of the problem.”
The lawsuit does not include an admission of liability by Mega Brands, said Osborn. In 2005, Mega Brands purchased the New Jersey-based company, Rose Art Industries, which originally made the toys.
In March, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of the magnetic toys, totaling about 3.8 million units.
Mega Brands also issued warnings to stores.
“As an organization that is fully committed to providing creative and safe play experiences for children and families, we deeply regret these events and have taken proactive measures to ensure the safety of our products,” Mega Brands CEO, Marc Bertrand, said in a statement.
Kenny swallowed the small magnets after they came loose from a toy his mother bought for his older brother. The other toddlers were injured under similar situations. The toys were aimed at children 6 and older.
For Sweet, she and her husband will now focus on raising their six children and welcoming their unborn baby.
She said she will never forget Kenny and she knows that his death helped create safety awareness. “When a child dies, there’s never closure,” Sweet said. “Because you always have the ache in your heart, but you learn to cope with it every day.”
Manuel Valdes: 206-464-8305 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Material from The Seattle Times archives is included in this report.