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Published: Thursday, 10/15/2009

Mattel OKs accord on toys with high lead


SAN DIEGO - Mattel Inc. and its Fisher-Price subsidiary have agreed to settle a consumer lawsuit for tens of millions of dollars over the 2007 recall of millions of toys made in China that were found to contain high levels of lead, the company said.

The proposed class-action settlement will resolve 22 suits filed against Mattel and Fisher-Price and major retailers on behalf of millions of families who purchased or received the defective toys as gifts before they were later recalled or withdrawn from market.

The settlement awaits approval of a judge.

In the settlement, filed in Los Angeles this week, Mattel and Fisher-Price agreed to provide refunds or other reimbursement to those who purchased the Chinese-made toys, said John J. Stoia, Jr., of the plaintiff law firm Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP.

Another plaintiff law firm, Whatley Drake & Kallas, said Mattel will provide toy buyers who are part of the class-action lawsuit either 50 percent of the total amount of vouchers Mattel has sent out since the recalls or $10, whichever is greater.

Consumers who did not participate in the recalls but have a recalled toy or proof of purchase of a recalled toy will receive a check or a voucher in the amount of the toy. Those who declare they bought or acquired a recalled toy but destroyed it after the recall will get a voucher for the amount of the toy for up to three toys, totaling up to $10 million for the class.

Finally, consumers who bought or acquired some recalled toys in which only one standalone piece of the toy was affected can receive up to $12.

Whatley Drake & Kallas said the total relief was worth tens of millions of dollars. The affected toys include certain Sesame Street toys, Dora the Explorer and Diego toys made by Fisher-Price, and certain Mattel toys, such as Batman, Polly Pocket, Barbie accessories, and Sarge cars.

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