FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Allison Marble (254)-485-4865
Provost Umphrey Law Firm
BEAUMONT, TX, October 17, 2014 – Provost*Umphrey Law Firm, L.L.P. attorneys Paul "Chip" Ferguson and Ryan Schaper have reached a confidential settlement in a lawsuit against the Los Angeles importer, OKK Trading, Inc. The lawsuit alleged that a China-made toy dart gun was unreasonably dangerous and claimed the life of 8 year old Keith Mayfield of Port Arthur, Texas. The lawsuit prompted the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to conduct a parallel investigation that resulted in a recall in December 2009. The investigation found that the toy darts were a choking hazard.
"This case exemplifies the tragedy that unfolds when corporations fail to do their safety homework. This toy was unquestionably dangerous and, upon review of the facts we made available to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the toy was taken off the market. In fact, we were able to demonstrate its dangerous nature so much that OKK Trading agreed to the recall," Ferguson said.
Keith Mayfield was a 2nd grader at Franklin Elementary in Port Arthur, Texas. On November 18, 2007, he ingested one of the toy darts shortly before going to bed. The dart lodged in his throat, making it difficult for the boy to breathe. Emergency responders were finally able to remove the dart; however, the 8 year old was comatose. He was eventually transferred to Texas Children's Hospital where he passed away on Thanksgiving afternoon.
The lawsuit was brought by Keith's father, Sheldon Mayfield and settled on October 1, 2014. The terms and amount of the lawsuit are confidential but Ferguson did state, "While the precise amount cannot be disclosed, it is safe to say that the case settled in range of millions of dollars. It was, in our view, substantial. It will never replace Keith but it does provide the boy's father, when coupled with the recall, some sense that his son did not die in vain."
This is the second settlement in 2014 where Ferguson and Schaper have forced a recall of a dangerous product. In May, a multi-million dollar settlement was reached in a case involving a 14 year old Bridge City, Texas girl whose father was killed due to a defective tire. The investigation into that case resulted in 150,000 tires being recalled.
Ferguson concluded, "It is always gratifying to represent a client and to do that well. To have the opportunity to also remove these deadly toys from the market makes the result more gratifying. Making things safer, and making the world safer, is what we do at Provost*Umphrey and I am proud to have had a direct hand in that part of the process."
For fifty years, Provost*Umphrey's mission has remained to seek justice for those most in need – those who have suffered a personal injury or death due to the wrongful conduct of others. Our attorneys fight for our clients nationwide with offices in Beaumont and Houston Texas, Little Rock, Arkansas and Nashville, Tennessee. Led by Walter Umphrey, Provost*Umphrey continues to be one of the most successful trial law firms in the nation by remaining Hard-Working Lawyers for Hard-Working People.
Contact: Allison Marble