The Old Fairy Tale
“Jack and Jill went up the hill
to fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown
and Jill came tumbling after”
The Legally Correct Version
Jack “Doe” and Jill “Doe”
Imperial Bucket Corporation
The Plaintiffs, Jack “Doe” and Jill “Doe,” both minors, do hereby allege that (1) they suffered grievous and permanent injuries when a steel bucket manufactured by the Defendant, Imperial Bucket Corporation, proved to be of unsafe design and manufacture, and without proper safety guards, so as to allow it to be operated in an unsafe manner by these minors; and (2) the Defendant is guilty of such gross product liability as to be responsible for these injuries and therefore should compensate Jack and Jill for a sum greater than five million dollars ($500).
Plaintiffs were both completely untrained in the proper operation of the Defendant’s bucket, hereinafter referred to as “the pail,” when they attempted to convey such pail up a steep incline, hereinafter referred to as “the hill.”
The pail manufactured by the Defendant was made of steel and weighed 1.6 pounds when empty. it was designed to be carried by a rounded metal handle, or “bail.” Depending on the material used to fill the pail, the weight of such pail could vary between 1.9 pounds (cotton) and 61 pounds (pig iron). Unless one received proper instruction in the use of this pail, it could easily be overloaded, causing it to become unstable.
The pail included no directions for safe use, no warnings of any kind about the potential danger of the pail, and no safety devices to protect individuals from suffering injuries when using this pail. The pail could be operated by minors who could not possibly be aware of the inherent dangers in the defective design of this pail and would therefore be subject to injury.
Jack and Jill will testify that they were able to move forward in a skipping (def.: to proceed with leaps and bounds) manner up the hill, holding on to the pail, which swung precariously between them. Upon reaching the top of the hill, they proceeded to fill the pail with a clear liquid, hereinafter referred to as “water.” The weight of the water will be affixed through laboratory testing. What they could not possibly have known is that the defective design of the pail permitted it to be filled with water to an unsafe level.
As Plaintiffs began carrying the now hazardous steel pail down the side of said hill, the water began shifting in the pail, causing the weight to be unevenly distributed. While this motion, known scientifically as “sloshing,” did cause a partial reduction in the contents of the pail, this had the effect of causing addition unbalancing of the pail. Jack and Jill, neither being experienced in the trade of carrying a pail of water down a steep incline, suffered extreme difficulty in maintaining control over the pail. In their effort to retain control of the pail, both Jack and Jill, individually and simultaneously, did lose their balance owing entirely to the instability of the pail.
According to police reports , Jack apparently lost control of the pail and fell down the hill. Jill, a young female weighing approximately forty-eight pounds, could not possibly have been expected to retain control of the pail without assistance and immediately came tumbling after.
By reason of the foregoing and by reason of the Defendant’s negligence, Plaintiff’s were severely bruised, injured, and wounded; suffered, and still suffer, and will continue to suffer for some time to come, physical and mental pain and great bodily injuries. Specifically, Jack broke his crown in three different places in addition to fracturing his ribs and right arm. Jill sustained bruises and contusions to her legs, ankles and wrist. Some of these injuries may well be of a permanent nature so as to affect the lives of these minors forever and one day.
The Imperial Bucket Corporation, being aware for an indeterminate time that the bucket they callously manufactured and offered to market had serious design flaws and under certain conditions could cause severe injury, nevertheless did continue to manufacture and market such a bucket to the public. They failed to take the necessary steps to inform the public of the potential for injury inherent in the use of their product. That they did so, and continue to do so, indicates a disregard for the public welfare, for which punitive damages might be deemed appropriate.
Until such design problems as noted are corrected, the Imperial Bucket Corporation should be enjoined from offering their product for sale to the public. They should also be required to recall all such defective products in existence and make such appropriate restitution and repairs. All persons past and present in possession of this dangerous product should receive notice that under certain conditions, even with proper precautions, use of this product might result in permanent, disabling injury. Minors should be prevented from purchasing or possessing this product without proper parental supervision.
Due to the use of this defective product, Jack “Doe” and Jill “Doe,” minors, have suffered irreparable injury and must be compensated in line with the substantial pain and suffering they have endured.
@ David Fisher, Legally Correct Fairy Tales, Bedtime Classics Translated into the Legalese, Warner Books, 1996