DP&S is proud to have assisted trial counsel Jack Walker and Reid Martin of Martin Walker PC in a defective product case with national and international ramifications.
This tragic case involved the death of a two-year-old child who died from choking on a Calico Critters Yellow Labrador Twins toy. Initially filed in 2018, the case was heavily litigated for more than three years. In 2021, Plaintiffs successfully defeated partial summary judgment filed by Defendant Epoch Everlasting Play, LLC; although the Defendant argued that it could not be held liable as a matter of law under a negligence per se theory, Plaintiffs convinced the Court of the opposite: that Epoch was negligent per se because the toy violated Consumer Product Safety Commission Regulations, and thus the toy was a “banned hazardous substance.” The Court agreed with the position advanced by Plaintiffs, finding that Epoch was negligent per se because its toy has small parts that presented a choking hazard and, as a “flocked” toy, was intended for children under three years of age. You can read the Court’s opinion here. Shortly after the Court’s favorable ruling, the case was resolved for a confidential sum.
But honoring their clients’ wishes, Martin Walker and DP&S continued to fight to convince regulators that these toys should be removed from the market entirely. Initially, the Court’s decision was cited by CPSC acting commissioner Peter Feldman, who urged the federal agency to expedite enforcement of CPSC regulations against flocked toys to protect the health and safety of children across the country. You can read Commissioner Feldman’s press release here.
After continued lobbying efforts, on March 9, 2023, the CPSC announced a voluntary recall of all Calico Critters animal figure and sets sold with small parts accessories. Commissioner Feldman sent a strong message about the recall and called for the recall as a “first step” urging the CPSC to review similar toys and accessories to ensure safety. You can read Commissioner Feldman’s statement here.