Toy Company Mega Brands Settles Out of Court

Montreal-based Mega Brands, manufacturer of <"">Magnetix toys, reached a $13.5 million settlement with 14 families, including one whose son died from injuries related to Magnetix products. A 22-month-old toddler from Redmond, Wash., Kenny Sweet, died on Thanksgiving Day, 2005, after ingesting eight kernel-sized magnetic pieces, which led to a perforation of his intestinal wall and, subsequently, blood poisoning.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed and are subject to court approval. However, Mega Brands did not assume any liability in the cases. Mega Brands is Canada’s largest toy company, but none of the health issues reported thus far have taken place in Canada.

In March of this year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said that Mega had agreed to a voluntary recall of roughly 3.8 million units of its magnetic toys. The company also took steps to warn retailers of the risks involved and added warnings to their toy labeling. They also initiated a replacement program for toy owners with children under the age of 6. At the time of the announcement, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said they were aware of 34 incidents involving Magnetix toys, including the one fatality and four other severe injuries.

Simeon Osborn, the lawyer who represented the families, said in a statement, “The families and myself are very happy with the results. They’ve been treated fairly. I think Mega [Brands] stepped up and did the right thing, acted responsibly, and took care of the problem.”

Mega Brands president and CEO Marc Bertrand added, “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. We are pleased to put this behind us and avoid the uncertainty and distraction of litigation, allowing us to focus all of our attention on growing our business.”

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