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Banzai Inflatable Pool Slide Lawsuit
Banzai Inflatable Pool Slides were made with the intention they be used with already-installed in-ground pools. Many people purchased these relatively inexpensive slides not knowing they were potentially quite dangerous. Unfortunately, at least one person lost their life and others suffered severe injury while using the pool slides.
In May 2012, Walmart and Toys R Us recalled over 21,000 inflatable pool slides made by Banzai at the urging of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) after at least one death and several severe injuries occurred while consumers were using the slide. One woman, a 29-year-old Colorado mother, died after fracturing her neck while visiting relatives in Massachusetts. The slide she was using partially deflated at the end, causing her to hit her head on the concrete side of the in-ground pool the slide was being used over. Her catastrophic death-causing injury happened right in front of both her husband and her 18-month-old daughter.
The slides, manufactured between 2005 and 2009 in China by Manley Toys, Ltd., were sold at Walmart and Toys R Us locations for approximately $250.00. In addition to dangers of partial deflation while being used, the slides can easily topple over as they are unstable, causing a risk of falling. In addition to Robin Aleo, the Colorado mother who died, other injuries acknowledged by the retailers include a 24 year old man from Springfield, MO whose injury resulted in quadriplegia and an Allentown, PA woman who suffered a fractured neck.
The CPSC found the recalled slide had three major defects making it dangerous to consumers:
- The pool slides could deflate while being used by people of any weight
- The pool slides were unstable and toppled over easily
- The enclosed warnings and instructions were inadequate
Consumers were urged to immediately stop using the slide and return it to Walmart or Toys R Us for a full refund. Alternatively, consumers can cut the warning labels off of the slide and just return that portion. The affected slides have a bar code of 2675315734 and a model number of 15734. Neither number appears on the actual slide, however. The numbers can only be found on the original packaging.
A CPSC regulation mandates the pool slide must be able to bear a weight up to 350 pounds. The recalled slides, however, can collapse or deflate under any weight.
Robin Aleo Death and Lawsuit
Michael Aleo, Robin Aleo’s husband, successfully sued Toys R Us. In October 2011, a jury awarded him $2.64 million dollars in compensatory for loss of Ms. Aleo’s future income along with $18 million dollars in punitive damages. Toys R Us appealed the decision, arguing that a 1976 CSPC regulation regarding pool slides did not apply to the Banzai product and that the award amounts were beyond constitutional limits. The verdict and amounts were upheld by Massachusetts’ highest court in a unanimous Supreme Judicial Court opinion issued in September 2013.
The jury found Toys R Us was guilty of negligence, breach of warranty and gross negligence. The Product Safety Commission had previously indicated the warnings and instructions included with the slide were inadequate. The Supreme Judicial Court’s opinion found no error in the lower court’s proceedings and instead found the punitive damage award amount was constitutional.
The Aleo case revealed that Toys R Us didn’t test the product before selling it to the public. Testing would have revealed the slide would easily collapse. Tests conducted later found that the slide contained excessive amounts of lead and wouldn’t have met governmental regulations for that alone.
The Aleo family filed their lawsuit in a bid to get retailers to stop selling defective and untested products to the public. Their goal was to send a strong message. They were not suing simply for monetary gain. Although the Aleo family won the lawsuit, they will never get the wife, mother and daughter back that they lost.
Mark Grantham Paralysis and Lawsuit
Mark Grantham, the 24 year old Missouri man, had already suffered his injuries and resulting quadriplegia at the time of Ms. Aleo’s death. While working as a church camp counselor at the Assembly of God’s Sonrise camp, he was using the slide when it partially collapsed. The slide had been purchased at Walmart by the Central Assembly of God’s children’s pastor, Justin Koch for use at the camp. Mr. Grantham has a currently pending federal lawsuit against both Walmart and the China manufacturer of the slide.
It is a tragic thing to understand that the slide, despite two pending lawsuits for death and injury, was not recalled until after the Aleo jury handed down its huge verdict. The irresponsibility and lack of care demonstrated by both Toys R Us in the Aleo case and Walmart in the Grantham case is astonishing.
Potential Serious Injuries
Numerous potentially serious injuries can occur with Banzai Inflatable Pool Slide use, including the following:
- Broken necks
- Broken backs
- Broken legs
- Broken arms
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
If you or a loved one has suffered any of these or other serious injuries while using a Banzai Inflatable Pool Slide, an experienced personal injury attorney can help fight for you to receive the compensation deserved. It is possible to be compensated for such things as medical bills, ongoing and future medical care required by suffered injuries, loss of current and future income and other damages.
Retailers and toy manufacturers have a duty to the public to make certain the products they sell are safe. When a product is as defective as the recalled slides and serious injuries or deaths result, compensation should be made by them to the people and families suffering loss.