On October 12, 1986, 7-year old Derek Wilson was playing with neighbor children using a toy called the “Franklin Power Hit Batting Tee”. The toy was designed to allow a child to practice hitting a ball. An elastic string was attached to the ball and then anchored to a metal stake which would be driven into the ground at the base of the tee.
Apparently, when Derek was outside playing with the neighbor boys, he pulled on the elastic string and the metal stake flew out of the ground and impaled itself in Derek’s forehead causing left side paralysis and other neurologic problems.
A products liability lawsuit was initiated against Franklin Sports Industries and its distributor, Childworld dba Childrens Palace alleging the Franklin Power Hit Batting Tee was a defective product and unreasonably dangerous for its intended use. Specifically, the Wilson family alleged it was foreseeable that children of tender years would play with the toy in such a manner that the metal stake would become dislodged from the ground and become, in effect, a guided missile, when pulled out of the ground by the elastic string.
The defendants contended that Derek was using the product in a manner not intended and further that Derek’s parents, as well as the neighbor boys parents, were negligent in the supervision of the children.
Fortunately, Derek’s left side paralysis resolved although he continued to suffer from periodic headaches which were from moderate to severe in intensity.
Half way through trial, the defendants elected to avoid a jury decision and settled the case in the sum of $500,000.