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The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is announcing a voluntary recall of all Buckyball and Buckycube products. Consumers should stop using Buckyballs and Buckycubes immediately and check for stray magnets that may have become separated from the set.
This recall comes as part of a settlement of an administrative case filed by the CPSC in July 2012, which sought a mandatory recall for the products. Under this settlement, a recall trust will also be established to refund consumers who own and return the recalled Buckyball and Buckycube products.
From 2009 to the present, the CPSC has received many reports of accidental ingestion of Buckyballs and Buckycubes. Children under the age of 14 may place single or multiple magnets in their mouths and accidentally swallow them. There have also been reported cases of teenagers and young adults using the magnets to mimic mouth, tongue and cheek piercings resulting in accidental ingestion. When two or more magnets are swallowed, they can trap or pinch intestinal walls and digestive tissue. This may result in ulceration, tissue death, perforation and fistula formation (holes in organs and tissue). These conditions may ultimately lead to infection, sepsis and death in children and teenagers.
Our lawsuits on behalf of injured children have both compensated the children and their parents and highlighted the need for a recall. These magnets are dangerous products. Our clients have had serious injuries and all of them have needed surgery to remove the magnets and, in some cases, sections of the intestine.
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Ingestion usually requires medical intervention and oftentimes surgery. The initial symptoms associated with swallowing Buckyballs or Buckycubes are non-specific and include nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Given their ubiquity, these symptoms may at first be misdiagnosed or ignored.
In response to this high number of incidents, CPSC staff filed an administrative complaint in July 2012 against Maxfield and Oberton Holdings LLC. seeking a recall from the company. The complaint was later amended in May 2013 to add Craig Zucker, a former officer of Maxfield and Oberton, to the complaint after Maxfield and Oberton was dissolved.
The CPSC alleged that Buckyballs and Buckycubes were a substantially harmful product. Moreover, the complaint argues that the danger associated with Buckyballs and Buckycubes was not appropriately noted on packaging. Warnings on packaging, even after revision, still failed to prevent injury because once the product is removed from its case, it no longer carries any warning label.
Mr. Zucker has disputed the allegations against Buckyballs and Buckycubes but has ultimately agreed to the recall as part of the settlement. In addition to the recall, the settlement also calls for Mr. Zucker to fund a recall trust. The trust, although funded by Mr. Zucker, will be controlled by the CPSC. Part of the funds Mr. Zucker supplies will also be used to establish a website with product recall information.