Visitor Question

Product Liability Case for Malfunctioning Toy…

Submitted By: Anonymous (USA)

My friend Jenny’s daughter Maggie got a Christmas gift which was bought at major retail chain store. This gift was a brand new doll manufactured by a major toy company.

Jenny watched as Maggie opened the gift. She installed the batteries and began to play with it according to the packaging directions. Maggie asked her mom if she could sleep with the doll and noticing no problem with that, Jenny agreed. 

In the middle of the night, a connector in the back of the doll ignited and the doll caught fire, which also ignited a portion of Maggie’s pajamas and burned other furniture. Maggie’s arm was burned also.

Could Jenny successfully claim all losses including the price of the doll, other property damages, and medical cost from the toy company?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Anonymous,

We certainly hope Maggie is feeling better. Presuming Maggie is still a minor there remains little doubt Maggie, by and through Jenny, has a legitimate Claim against:

• The store where the defective doll was purchased; and

• The manufacturer of the doll.

From the facts you present, the doll was quite obviously defective. Jenny has a claim against the above entities for the damages to her furniture. It is unlikely Jenny would be entitled to much more. Pain and Suffering and Mental Anguish can only be claimed by the person (or their Legal Guardian) who has been physically injured.

Although not clear about the state in which the injury occurred, we can tell you that most states do not allow a parent to recover vicariously through their children for the parents’ pain and injuries, especially Pain and Suffering and Mental Anguish.

On the other hand Maggie, through her legal guardian, should be able to recover for her actual damages, Mental Anguish, and Pain and Suffering. In some cases the court or a jury also can award to Maggie Punitive damages.

Be sure to have documented as much as you can including, but not limited to, photographs of Maggie’s arm, doctors’ bills, bandages, medications, and more. Once all the information is gathered Maggie and her Mom Jenny will be ready to proceed to negotiation and litigation of their claims against the defendants.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: May 5, 2011

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