While 42-year-old Elizabeth Flickinger vacationed in NYC with her husband and sons, they visited the Toys R Us flagship store in Times Square. The mom of two alleges that a candy dispenser containing 25 pounds of light blue M&Ms toppled on her head, twisting her neck.
The victim claims she was struggling with the swing-down arm of the dispenser when the entire bin smacked her in the forehead, twisting her neck. She states that she suffered excruciating headaches, a herniated disk, loss of income and a diminished sex life with her husband.
“My vision went black for a couple of seconds,” Flickinger testified in the case heard last week in Brooklyn federal court. “All I’m thinking is, [I’ve] got to catch this thing so it doesn’t land on the kids. I remember myself and my boys screaming for help.”
Flickinger and her husband, James, both optometrists from Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, are seeking unspecified millions in damages against Trade Fixtures, the maker of the candy dispenser.
This is not the first case against Toys R Us filed by the Flickinger family. In a prior suit against Toys R Us in their home state of Pennsylvania, a jury found store employees were not negligent. The couple reached a settlement for an undisclosed sum with the maker of M&Ms.
The Flickinger family was having a perfect weekend until this mishap. They went to see “The Lion King” on Broadway, shopped at FAO Schwartz and Build-a-Bear on Fifth Avenue. They even attended Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
On October 26, 2008, the mom and her two sons stopped at the Toys R Us for a ride on the Ferris wheel, toys and candy for the trip back home. Each of her boys wanted a different treat from the store’s self-service dispensers. James Jr., 5 years old, wanted green M&Ms and Daniel, 7 years old, chose light blue M&Ms.
It is unclear exactly what happened next, but the entire bin fell on Beth Flickinger. An employee of Toys R Us claimed that James Jr., not his mother, was the one yanking on the swing-down arm, but James Sr. testified under oath, “The boys were adamant they didn’t pull it.”
Flickinger said she had discussed the incident with the cashier but didn’t file a report until later when her husband, who was waiting in the car, saw a “goose egg” on her head.
Experts testified that the dispenser tipped over because it was not properly secured, due to a design defect.
The M&Ms may ‘melt in your mouth,’ but unfortunately in Beth Flickinger’s case, they hit her in the head. This is an establishment that caters to children. There is no excuse for any display to be unsafe.
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