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Maker of Magnetic Desk Toy Sued Because of Ingestion Risks and Serious Injuries to Young Children, Tweens and Teenagers


Posted on Aug 05, 2012

On July 25, 2012, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) filed an administrative complaint against Maxfield & Oberton Holdings LLC, based in New York, over Buckyballs and Buckycube desk toys.  These toys consist of powerful small round magnetic balls that form different shapes and structures.

Dangerous magnetic toysEach Buckyballs or Buckycube set contains about 200 magnetic balls, which can be swallowed by children and teens, posing a substantial risk of injury.  When 2 or more balls are swallowed, they can connect to each other in the stomach and intestines which can result in perforation, intestinal blockage, blood poisoning and even death.

The CPSC alleges that the desk toys are defective in their design, packaging, warnings and instructions and is seeking an order that the company must stop selling them.

After failed attempts to convince Maxfield & Oberton to voluntarily recall the desk toys, the CPSC filed the complaint, which is very unusual. The last time the CPSC filed a complaint against a manufacturer was in 2001. 

In 2010, the company announced a voluntary recall of 175,000 Buckyball sets due to improper labeling.  In 2011, the CPSC and the company even worked cooperatively to inform and educate consumers that the desk toys were intended for adults only.  However, even after the recall and cooperative safety alert, ingestion of the product continued to happen.

Injured Victims- Young Children, Tweens and Teenagers

Loose balls from the set can easily go missing, i.e. roll on the floor, which allows young children to find the loose magnets.  It is also difficult for parents to know if any of the magnetic balls are missing.

As for tweens and teenagers, they use the balls to mimic tongue or lip piercings which can lead to the balls being accidentally swallowed or inhaled.

Maxfield & Oberton is fighting the complaint and is vigorously defending its right to market the desk toys on its website.

In addition to the complaint filed by the CPSC, Maxfield & Oberton may also be sued by victims who were injured after ingesting the magnetic balls.  The victims could bring a dangerous products liability claim.  If successful, victims may recover damages such as pain and suffering and medical expenses.

For more information about the risks, dangers and injuries to young children due to ingestion of magnetic balls, call our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania dangerous products liability attorneys for more information.  The lawyers at White and Williams also help injured victims and children who are injured by dangerous products in New Jersey. 877.944.8396

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