Posted on Nov 06, 2006
Jury awards family in dive sticks trial
St. Petersburg, Florida - A jury in a lawsuit involving Wal-Mart, an injured toddler and Dive Sticks continues to deliberate.
They came back before lunch and awarded $102,592 in compensatory damages to Marcus Zunner's family. They're deciding on an amount for punitive damages now.
The judge asked the jury to clarify the decisions they made last night regarding punitive and compensatory damages.
The case centers around swimming pool toys known as dive sticks, supplied to Wal-Mart in the 1990's by a Clearwater based Florida Pool.
When Marcus Zunner was just three, he was hospitalized with a severe accident from a divestick. He slid into the pool and landed on a stick. Family attorneys say he suffered rectal impalement and had open abdominal surgery with a colostomy.
Wal-Mart and Florida Pool are expected to argue the dive sticks were safe, but that that the family misused them by allowing the child to jump on the sticks in a shallow, inflatable kiddie pool.
The sticks are weighted to stand perpendicular to the bottom of the pool, and when they are three to seven feet underwater, kids often dive after them in order.
But in shallow water, they may stand just inches below the surface which was apparently what happened when Marcus jumped in.
In 1999, the Consumer Product Safety Commission ordered Florida Pool to recall 9 million dive sticks.