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Bellefonte family is suing Disney, Walmart for more than $75,000

A Bellefonte family is suing Walmart, The Walt Disney Company and Jakks Pacific.
A Bellefonte family is suing Walmart, The Walt Disney Company and Jakks Pacific. AP file

A Disney toy is at the center of a $75,000 lawsuit filed on Monday by a Bellefonte family.

Troy and Shelly Knecht, along with their children, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against several entities, including Walmart, the Walt Disney Company and product distributor Jakks Pacific.

A Disney Fairies Light Up Sky High Tink toy was purchased on Feb. 16, 2016, at the Benner Pike Walmart by Shelley Knecht’s mother for the children. The toy is used by placing a fairy on a launch pad and pulling a cord, which causes it to turn and spread its wings until being projected into the air.

Troy Knecht and his daughter played with the toy on March 9, 2016. The toy was launched without incident several times, but the last projectile caused a wing on the fairy to disconnect and flew directly into Troy Knecht’s eye, according to the lawsuit. The family immediately took him to Mount Nittany Medical Center and then to Geisinger Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with a ruptured globe.

Doctors performed emergency surgery in an effort to repair Troy Knecht’s right eye, but he did not regain his vision and experienced headaches and pain where he was hit by the toy, according to the lawsuit. He underwent emergency surgery 17 days later at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia to relieve intraocular pressure in his eye, but the headaches and pain did not go away.

Troy Knecht had cataract surgery for his injuries on Aug. 30, 2016, but it also did not help.

The lawsuit alleges that the toy’s defect caused a corneal laceration, globe rupture, headaches, eye pain, blindness and disfigurement to Troy Knecht’s right eye. The injuries resulted in medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress.

The Bellefonte family’s lawsuit said the defendants should have known about the toy’s dangers, because in 2000 there was a national recall for a similar toy produced by Hasbro.

The lawsuit levied single counts of strict liability: design defect and strict liability and manufacturing defect and strict liability, and failure to warn, negligence, misrepresentation, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, loss of consortium and three counts of negligent infliction of emotional distress against the defendants.

Thousands of toy-related injuries are treated in emergency rooms nationwide each year. So, when you're out shopping for the perfect gift to tuck under the tree, think safety first. Here are tips to keep little ones happy and out of the ER.

Shawn Annarelli: 814-235-3928, @Shawn_Annarelli

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