The toy manufacturer Mega Brands has agreed to pay
$1 million to a boy who suffered a terrible injury after ingesting magnetic pieces
from a popular toy. William Finley was only four years old in August of 2005
when he began to vomit uncontrollably. When it did not stop after three days he
was taken by ambulance to a hospital. Doctors were unable to diagnose the boy’s
ailment. The next morning William was again rushed to the hospital and into
emergency surgery where surgeons discovered two magnetic toy pieces stuck
together in his pelvis. The pieces belonged to a Magnetix toy set that William
had received as a Christmas present and if they had not been removed by
emergency surgery, he would have died within hours.
While no amount of money can compensate William and his
family for the permanent physical and emotional damage left by the incident,
their lawsuit in Sacramento federal court against the toymaker has been
settled. The agreement calls for incremental payouts of more than $1 million to
William and his parents and attorney.
William must remain on a special diet for the rest of his
life and will endure persistent constipation and diarrhea, severe abdominal
pain, and he will be at risk to develop lifelong gastrointestinal problems,
according to court papers. In addition, the papers say, he will very possibly
develop adhesions that may have to be surgically removed.
The family has been left impoverished by the event and is
in dire need of the settlement they have been awarded. Rose Art, purchased by Mega
Brands in 2005, will pay William increasing payments beginning now, and continuing at the ages of
30, 40, and 50. Mega Brands will pay semi-annually and monthly from 2019 to
Over the past year we have seen a rash of recalls involving
toys containing magnets. These toys are now labeled to warn of these risks, but
at the time of this incident had no such warning. It actually seems like the
toy company got off easy in this case to me. For company with a gross profit of over $120 million last year, $1 million doesn’t exactly break the bank. William will not see the bulk of
his payment until relatively late in life and with continued medical expenses
who knows how much of this money will be left to better William’s life.