EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

September 14, 2013

$20.6M award upheld in accident

SJC supports findings against Toys R Us in Andover backyard case


Toys R Us appealed the ruling on a number of grounds, challenging certain pretrial rulings, the sufficiency of evidence and the constitutionality of the $18 million award in damages.

The SJC in its ruling yesterday wrote that it supported the jury's findings and rejected the arguments by Toys R Us.

Zimmerman said yesterday that while his client is pleased about the ruling, "in any case like this, it is not going to change what happened or the loss they suffered. The fact that the SJC upheld what the jury found - that his wife was killed due to misconduct by Toys R Us - is some solace for him."

It is unclear whether Toys R Us will appeal the ruling to the United States Supreme Court. The attorney representing Toys R Us, Gregory Parks of the law firm Morgan Lewis in Philadelphia, did not return a phone call. A local attorney working with Parks, John McGivney of Rubin and Rudman, 50 Rowes Wharf, Boston, deferred comment to Parks.

Zimmerman said the jury award and the SJC's decision upholding the award centered around the fact that the product had not been adequately tested before it was brought into the country from China, where it was manufactured.

“We are pleased that today’s decision upheld the finding of the jury, and recognized the tremendous and needless loss suffered by the Aleo family,” said Zimmerman, who tried the case with his partner Thomas Smith. “It also sends a powerful message to toy retailers across the country that they have a responsibility to ensure the products they import and bring to market are safe for consumers.”

He added yesterday, "it's a product that shouldn't have been brought into the country."

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