A settlement for an undisclosed amount has been reached in the lawsuit involving a Rosedale toddler who accidentally set himself on fire using a lighter, while at the home of his babysitter in 2005, the attorney for the child’s mother said Wednesday.
Karen Bentley sued Sonia Stewart and her daughter, Nadine, the adult who was hired to babysit her son, Daniel Slowly, and the Scripto Manufacturing Company, because she says it did not properly childproof its Aim ’n Flame lighter, according to Bentley’s lawyer Robert Goldberg.
Scripto denies the charge.
“She’s happy and relieved that the case didn’t have to go to trial,” Goldberg said. “But what happened to this child is a tragedy. He will have to undergo many more surgeries, and he has a long road ahead of him.”
Slowly was in Stewart’s kitchen when he started playing with the lighter, the kind used to ignite barbecues, and set himself ablaze, according to Goldberg.
The toddler ran through the house trying to extinguish the flames and in the process set the furniture on fire before Stewart’s teenage daughter threw him in the bathtub and doused him with water. The house where the incident occurred was burned so badly that it was uninhabitable for a year, Goldberg said.
Stewart’s homeowner’s insurance paid out the full amount of her policy to Bentley, Goldberg said, and Scripto also shelled out some cash, but he would not reveal the amount. The company never admitted to any wrongdoing or that its product may have been faulty, the attorney said.
The deal was hammered out by Queens Supreme Court Judge Frederick Sampson, and was agreed to in early March, Goldberg said. The attorney added that, in general, companies will choose to settle in order to avoid a trial that might have a negative outcome.
Daniel, now 11 years old, sustained third-degree burns over about 60 percent of his body and required extensive surgery and multiple skin grafts and is permanently scarred. He refuses to talk about the incident with anyone except his mother.
Daniel will have to continue the medical procedures until he reaches adulthood and his skin stops stretching and growing, Goldberg said.