A landmark action settlement involving the largest recalls of children’s toys in history has been reached. Through the settlement, Mattel and Fisher-Price have agreed to provide refunds and other monetary relief to millions of families who purchased children’s toys made in China. The toys were recalled or withdrawn from the market in 2006 and 2007, after they were found to exceed legal limits of lead in the paint or plastic of the toy or small magnets that could become loose and harm children if ingested. The affected toys included certain Sesame Street toys, Dora the Explorer and Diego toys made by Fisher-Price, and certain Mattel toys, such as Batman, Polly Pocket, Barbie accessories, and Sarge cars.
The proposed consumer class action settlement will resolve 22 class action lawsuits filed against Mattel and Fisher-Price and major retailers on behalf of millions of children and families who purchased or received the defective toys as gifts before they were later recalled or withdrawn from market. Mattel entered into the settlement on behalf of itself, its subsidiary Fisher-Price, and the retailer defendants.
If approved by the Court, the settlement will require Mattel and Fisher-Price to provide refunds to consumers who purchased or acquired the toys, as well as reimburse families who incurred costs for testing their children for lead exposure. Class members who participated in the prior recalls of the affected toys will automatically receive a check. Mattel will also implement a quality assurance program, overseen by the Court, which will ensure the safety of Mattel and Fisher-Price toys all around the world, and it will donate $275,000 to the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions, a not-for-profit association of 150 children’s hospitals, pediatric units of medical centers, and related health systems.
Last year, the Honorable Dale S. Fischer of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California refused defendants’ attempts to dismiss the case on the basis that they had offered consumers vouchers or replacement toys as part of a recall program.