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Torts keyed to Best
Hernandez v. Tokai Corp.
Citation:2 S.W.3d 251 (Tex. 1999)
Rita Emeterio purchases disposable butane lighters for her bar. Her daughter, Gloria Hernandez, sometimes takes lighters from the bar for her own use. Some of those lighters are designed for adult-use only and do not have child-resistant safety mechanisms. Gloria Hernandez has two children, a five-year-old daughter Daphne and two-year-old son Ruben. While at her grandparent’s home on April 4, 1995, Daphne Hernandez took a lighter from her mother’s purse. The purse was on the top shelf in a bedroom closet. Daphne used the lighter to start a fire in the bedroom and severely burned her brother, Ruben.
Tokai makes lighters that have child-resistant mechanisms, and lighters that do not have child-resistant safety mechanisms. Plaintiff now contends that because the child-safe design exists and is feasible to implement at nominal cost, defendant’s failure to implement a child-safety mechanism is a defective designbecause of the foreseeable risk that a child will get ahold of an adult-use only lighter. Plaintiff was aware the lighter was dangerous for children and admitted she would never intentionally allow her child access to an adult-only lighter.
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