Defective lighter caused horrific injuries to my client
The mother of an 11-year-old Queens boy horrifically burned by a lighter is out to prove the device's maker knew it wasn't childproof.
The courtroom showdown kicks off this month when lawyers for Daniel Slowley begin laying out their case against manufacturer Scripto .
At stake is a multimillion-dollar payout for Scripto's alleged negligence.
Daniel was playing in the kitchen of his baby-sitter's house about dinnertime on Nov. 28, 2005, when his clothes were set on fire by a Scripto Aim 'n Flame lighter.
The then-5-year-old ran through the house trying to snuff out the flames, causing furniture to catch fire and ignite the Rosedale home. A baby-sitter tried dousing him with water from a tub.
The fire caused third-degree burns over Daniel's body and left him with permanent scarring that will require numerous surgeries and skin grafts for years to come, his lawyers said.
"His life was taken away from him," said the family's lawyer Robert Goldberg. "Every day is a trial for him."
In a court transcript, Daniel's mother, Karen Bentley, said there are days when her son refuses to go to school because he tires of schoolmates calling him nicknames like "broken chin."
"He is different from the rest of the kids, and everybody keeps staring at him and everybody keeps asking him questions," Bentley said.
Goldberg says Scripto knew youngsters could easily dislodge a thumbwheel mechanism on the top of the lighter by pushing it sideways and then pressing the trigger to ignite the flame.
Scripto's lawyers say the lighters include warnings to keep them out of the reach of children and are meant to be child-resistant, not childproof, They also say a 7-year-old friend of Daniel's set him ablaze while the baby
-sitter was outside.
"(The baby-sitter was) well aware of the dangers of allowing children to play unsupervised with lighters," said Scripto's lawyer Larry Golkin.
Bentley's lawyers say a school official released Daniel to a teenager rather than to the baby-sitter, as his mother had arranged.
Scripto has faced similar allegations after children in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas died after getting their hands on Aim 'n Flame lighters.
In 2010, the company agreed to a $3.5 million settlement with the family of a 3-year-old Illinois girl killed in 1998 when her sister accidentally set fire to their bunk beds.
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