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Toys R Us Appeals Jury Verdict in Fatal Slide Lawsuit

Pool image

It is every family’s worst nightmare: you are enjoying a warm summer day with inflatable pool toys and suddenly a family member is seriously injured or killed as a result of a defective product. Sadly, that is just what happened to Robin Aleo, 29, in 2006. After climbing to the top of a 6-foot inflatable pool slide, she slid down head first and slammed her head into the concrete pool deck. She suffered a broken neck and died the next day.

In 2011, a jury ordered Toys R Us, the manufacturer of the defective pool slide, to pay Robin Aleo’s family $20.6 million in damages – $2.5 million in anticipated lost income, $100,000 for pain and suffering before her death, and $18 million in punitive damages. In reaching its decision, the jury found that Toys R Us had not complied with federal safety regulations for swimming pool slides, which caused the fatality.

Toys R Us appealed the jury’s verdict and went before the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month to argue its case, the Associated Press reported. In its appeal, Toys R Us argues that the 1976 Consumer Product Safety Commission regulation cited by Aleo’s family does not apply to inflatable in-ground pool slides, only to rigid pool slides. Toys R Us also argues that the trial judge allowed plaintiff’s lawyers to inappropriately accuse Toys R Us of importing an “illegal” product when it had relied on a certification that the slide met all safety regulations and that the $18 million in punitive damages was “grossly excessive.”

Although inflatable slides were not invented at the time the 1976 slide safety regulations were enacted, plaintiff lawyers argue that the regulation applies to all swimming pool slides “regardless of the materials of manufacture or structural characteristics.” Moreover, Aleo was well below the recommended weight limit.

The Associated Press reports that Toys R Us and Wal-Mart stores recalled the slides in May 2012, citing Aleo’s death and injuries suffered by two other people, including a 24-year-old man who became a quadriplegic and a woman who fractured her neck.

The Chicago product liability lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish are committed to protecting the public from dangerous products, including pool slides, unsafe medical devices, and children’s products. If you have been injured by a dangerous or defective medical device, contact the Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible product liability claim.

Steinberg Goodman & Kalish  (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families.  We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (800) 784-0150 or (312) 782-1386.