Buckyballs — the small magnetic balls that can mold into different shapes and are used to relieve stress or for game activities — have been in the spotlight for the last two years for more reasons than just their amusing nature and genius design. The toys have been the subject of multiple lawsuits, amounting to about $57 million in potential penalties for the person behind the invention: Craig Zucker. But Zucker has managed to emerge from two years of litigation relatively unscathed considering the initial potential consequences.
His penalty, ultimately, according to Inc., is $375,000 and a recall of the magnetic toys. He does not have to admit that they were defective or posed threats as product hazards despite many lawsuits involving cases where children ingested the individual magnet balls that then required them to undergo surgery after the pellets connected through their organs.
Zucker has been under fire from the Consumer Product Safety Commission for the past two years for these claims, but has just settled the case and been relieved of any personal liability. Zucker has to fund a recall of all Buckyballs, and will have to waive his right to pursue legal action against the CPSC.
Much of Zucker’s argument against the CPSC is that the organization cannot hold one individual accountable for the product safety requirements of a device dubbed a hazard. He also claims that he collaborated with regulators to minimize the risks Buckyballs have towards children. The Washington Post quotes him:
“The law does not support an individual being named in a case like this and I hope that this settlement will discourage the CPSC from wrongfully pursuing individual officers and entrepreneurs again in the future.”
Zucker’s two-year holdout seems to have worked. He managed to pay very little of the initial claims set against him, and will simply perform a recall.