A judge Wednesday approved a $30 million payment to resolve part of a lawsuit brought on behalf of a 2-year-old Covina girl who was scalded when an allegedly defective water dispenser shot hot water onto her in 2018.
Under Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Samantha Jessner’s ruling, DS Services of America Inc., the owner of Sparkletts, and distributor Costco Wholesale Corp. will pay $25.7 million and Crystal Mountain Products Inc., which made the dispenser, will contribute the remaining $4.3 million.
The defendants also agreed to settle the emotional distress claims of the girl’s mother and one of the girl’s two brothers, who is now 11 years old. The mother will receive $1.425 million and her son $200,000, bringing the total settlement to $31.6 million.
The son’s settlement was approved earlier this week by another judge. Both he and his sister needed court approval because of their ages.
Sparkletts issued a statement shortly after the case was filed in March 2019, saying, “the safety of all DS Services and Sparkletts products, and third party products delivered by us, is of paramount importance.”
The girl was 17 months old and was home with her mother and brothers when she was injured Dec. 29, 2018 after an allegedly “defective and dangerously designed water dispenser shot scalding water at her face, chest and stomach,” according to the suit.
In his court papers, Kevin Boyle, a supervising attorney in the case, stated that the girl’s estimated lifetime benefits through an annuity are about $54.8 million.
“Not only would this result be remarkable in normal times, but it is truly mind-blowing that it was obtained during the global COVID-19 pandemic,” Boyle wrote in his court papers.
In his court papers, lead lawyer Robert Glassman said the girl was hospitalized for two months after the accident and spent several weeks on a ventilator. He stated she has undergone six extensive tissue grafting surgeries and is scheduled to have two more laser treatment surgeries in the next several months.
The child suffered second- and third-degree burns to over 30% of her body and her doctors say that she will have permanent scarring for the rest of her life, according to Glassman’s court papers.
“What happened to (the girl) cannot be undone,” Glassman stated in the papers. “Her injuries are permanent and certain.”
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