MARSHALL – A Houston couple has filed a lawsuit against Target and a toy distributor after their son became ill from swallowing a recalled toy that produces the "date rape" drug when ingested.
A month after the public recall of Aqua Dots toy craft kits, Eddie and Summer Gerrald's 1- year- old ingested the product and required emergency medical treatment for vomiting and experiencing states of unconsciousness. The parents state that since ingestion, the toddler continues to suffer from sleeplessness, fevers and vomiting.
The Houston residents filed suit against the toy's distributors Spin Master Inc. and Target Corporation on April 4 in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas.
Aqua Dots is a craft toy kit that contains small, colored liquid-filled beads that when sprayed with water become adhesive and fuse together in a plastic tray. In November 2007 and in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Spin Master recalled 4.2 million Aqua Dots sets.
The toys, manufactured in China, were supposed to be made with a nontoxic compound found in glue, but instead the Aqua Dots beads were coated with an industrial solvent, 1, 4 butanediol. If the solvent is ingested, the body converts it into GHB, also know as the "date rape" drug.
According to the complaint, this toxin can cause "depression of the central nervous system, respiratory depression, unconsciousness, seizures, comas, and even death."
The suit alleges the defendants negligently marketed the product as children's playthings, when the toy was barred under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act for containing a toxic substance. The suit alleges the defendants are responsible for strict products liability, negligence, and breach of implied warranties.
The plaintiffs state that the defendants were negligent through allowing the manufacture, distribution, and selling of the product that was "unreasonably, dangerously, defective by containing harmful chemicals."
The suit seeks damages for the minor's medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, physical impairment, mental anguish, physical pain and suffering. The parents are seeking damages for loss of parental consortium, loss of affection, solace, comfort, companionship, society, assistance, emotional support, love, and felicity.
Further, the plaintiffs are alleging the defendants' actions constitute gross negligence and malice and are therefore, seeking an award of exemplary damages.
The litigation is expected to enter multi-district litigation for pre-trial proceedings. (In re: Aqua Dots Products Liability Litigation MDL 1940).
At a recent March hearing, the defendants filed for centralization of the multidistrict litigation to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois or in the alternative, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
Dallas attorney Collen A. Clark of the Schmidt and Clark law firm will represent the plaintiffs.
U.S. District Judge T. John Ward will proceed over the litigation.
Case No: 2:08cv00148