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ARTICLE ID 187237

$________ PLUS ATTORNEY FEES UNDER CONSUMER PROTECTION STATUTE Product Liability – Manufacturing Defect – Plaintiff buys bunk beds that are contaminated with bed bugs – Bites to six-year-old twins and emotional distress of mother – Damages only.

Anne Arundel County, MD

Liability was stipulated in this case in which the plaintiff mother purchased bunk beds for use by her six-year-old twins and which the plaintiff maintained were infested with bed bugs. The plaintiff brought the action under theories of Products Liability, breach of warranty, and negligence and also brought a count under Maryland’s Consumer Protection Act.

The plaintiff contended that during the approximate four-month period the boys slept in the beds before the cause was determined to be related to the beds, one of the twins suffered particularly extensive bites on portions of his body, including the arms, legs and face. The plaintiff maintained that during this three-month period, the child’s classmates began calling him "Gila monster." The other twin sustained less significant bites.

The family resides in a suburban home and the initial physician visits did not result in a correct diagnosis. Benadryl and prednisone were initially used to treat suspected allergies and were unsuccessful. The plaintiff contended that ultimately the mother determined that the beds were teeming with bed bugs. Once the beds were discarded, the children were no longer bitten, the skin healed and there was no claim for permanent injury.

Plaintiff’s counsel relates that under the consumer protection statute, a plaintiff can prevail even in the absence of proof of intent to mislead, if the consumer is, in fact, misled.The jury awarded $________ to the child suffering the more extensive bites, $________ to his brother and $________ to the mother for emotional distress. Attorney fees of $________, or one-quarter of the fees in this case brought under four counts, were added by the court under the consumer protection statute.

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