Aleo v. SLB Toys USA, Inc.

In 2006, while visiting relatives in Andover, 29-year-old Aleo attempted to use an inflatable swimming pool slide that had been imported and sold by Toys R Us. She slid down head first; when she reached the bottom of the slide, it collapsed, and her head struck the concrete deck of the swimming pool through the fabric of the slide. Robin's upper two cervical vertebrae fractured, resulting in quadriplegia. She died the following day, after her family, in accordance with her wishes, withdrew life support. Her estate sued, alleging negligence, breach of the implied warranty of merchantability, wrongful death, and violation of G.L. c. 93A. A jury found Toys R Us liable for negligence, breach of warranty, and wrongful death, awarding compensatory damages of $2,640,000 and punitive damages of $18 million. Under G.L. c. 229, punitive damages available for gross negligence in wrongful death action. The Massachusetts Supreme Court affirmed, finding that Toys R Us exhibited a “substantial degree of reprehensibility.” The court rejected challenges to pretrial rulings, the sufficiency of the evidence, and the constitutionality of the $18 million award of punitive damages. View "Aleo v. SLB Toys USA, Inc." on Justia Law