SEATTLE, Nov. 21 LAWFUEL – Legal News, Legal Jobs Network — On the heels of a nationwide recall,
toy manufacturer Mattel (NYSE: MAT) is now the target of a lawsuit by a
Wyoming family who says their 6-year-old son had to undergo life-saving
surgery after ingesting small magnets that came loose from the popular
Polly Pocket dolls and accessories.
According to the joint recall by Mattel and the U.S. Consumer Product
Safety Commission, three other children suffered serious injuries after
swallowing magnets, and the agency is aware of 170 reports of small magnets
coming out of the recalled toys. More information is available at
Earlier this year, another popular toy manufacturer faced a similar
In this case, Devlin Bowman suffered hours of excruciating abdominal
pain before doctors conducted exploratory surgery and found that two of the tiny magnets he had swallowed had attracted to each other in his intestine.
“Devlin had been on morphine to control his pain for 18 hours, and his doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Finally, when his intestines began to twist and swell, they decided on surgery,” said Chris Bowman, Devlin Bowman’s father. “If they hadn’t operated just then, we could have
lost our boy.”
The magnets that Devlin Bowman swallowed came from his younger sister’s
Polly Pocket toys. The tiny magnets, smaller than a kernel of popcorn, are embedded in the dolls’ hands and feet and glued to the sides of some of the other accessories.
“The idea that toy manufacturers would make these potentially deadly
magnets so accessible to children — especially after all of the injuries
that have been documented — is an absolute outrage,” said Sim Osborn, the attorney representing the Bowman family. “Kids rough house with these toys, the magnets get caught in carpets where kids can reach them long after the toys are put away. Of course the magnets are going to find their way into a child’s mouth.”
Through his legal work, Osborn has been instrumental in raising
awareness of the dangers posed by small magnets in toys.
“Previous cases have proved that if toy manufacturers made simple,
inexpensive design changes, they can revolutionize the safety of their
toys,” Osborn said. “Based on the huge popularity of Mattel’s Polly Pocket play sets, this has the potential to spur widespread changes across the toy industry.”
According to Chris Bowman, Devlin Bowman woke up at around 12:30 a.m.
in early December 2005 screaming and bending over in pain, so his parents
took him to the local emergency room in Rock Springs, Wyo. When they
arrived, physicians put the boy on morphine and ordered CAT scans, but
mistakenly believed that he had swallowed a button or a BB. When the pain
did not subside, the family traveled by ambulance to Primary Children’s
Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“When we were at Primary Children’s, doctors just kept running test
after test and giving Devlin more morphine — but they couldn’t understand
what was wrong and every time the drugs subsided, he would scream in pain
again,” Chris Bowman said. “It was a parent’s worst nightmare — and worst
of all, it could have been prevented.”
Chris Bowman said that at around 7:30 p.m., doctors detected that his
son’s intestines were swelling and twisting and they began exploratory
surgery. Physicians found and removed the magnets during the procedure.
The Bowmans’ lawsuit seeks damages for medical bills and for the
family’s emotional harm that resulted from Devlin Bowman’s injuries.
About Osborn Machler
The attorneys at Osborn Machler represent plaintiffs in personal
injury, products liability, and professional malpractice cases. The firm
represents injured passengers and crew in airplane and helicopter accidents
through its aviation law practice. Osborn Machler is noted for taking
difficult cases and successfully taking them to settlement or trial. The
firm has extensive experience representing injured persons against federal,
state, and local governments. Because of the firm’s litigation experience, Osborn Machler is frequently called upon to prepare large cases for
litigation. Attorneys at the firm also represent clients in personal
injury, premises liability, railroad, professional malpractice and maritime cases.
Simeon J. Osborn is listed in the Best Lawyers in America, The Bar
Register of Preeminent Attorneys, Outstanding Lawyers in America, and has
been voted into the American Board of Trial Advocates.
Annie Alley (206) 443-9357; cell (206) 913-8663
Firmani + Associates Inc.