Should I sue manufacturer because 11-year-old got spring from mechanical pencil stuck through his finger?

Those commentators and politicians who complain about frivolous lawsuits have no idea how many frivolous cases experienced lawyers screen out of the system.  Here’s the latest I’ve seen.

Q.  My 11 years old son was injured by a defective mechanical pencil. A spring from the pencil went through his finger. We had to take my son to the doctor to have it removed. I am jus wondering do I have a product liabilty case against them?

A.  Having gone to an ER for removal of a large spring from my own finger once, and having taken my own kids to the ER for a variety of minor injuries and ailments, I understand you are upset. However, as was mentioned in another response, a products liability case is inordinately expensive and complex. Unless there is a catastrophic permanent injury, a products liability case is generally not worthwhile. If you think about this a while, you may conclude that only the defense lawyers would make any money on this case and the story of your lawsuit would become an urban legend circulated by tort reform advocates for years as an example of frivolous litigation. Unless your son lost his finger, I hope you do not clog up the court system with this claim.




Ken Shigley is a trial attorney in Atlanta, Georgia who has been listed as a "Super Lawyer" (Atlanta Magazine), among the "Legal Elite" (Georgia Trend Magazine), and in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers (Martindale), and is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy,. Mr. Shigley has extensive experience representing parties in trucking and bus accidents, products liability, catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, brain injury, spinal cord injury and burn injury cases.  Currently he is Secretary of the 40,000 member State Bar of Georgia.

  • What a good post. It is unfortunate that the child was injured but it seems to far from a product liability case. I wonder how the spring happened to get out of the pencil. There is likely to be more to this story.
    Having been a child once myself, I can well imagine why the spring was out! KLS

  • Cricket

    A defective spring? I have to ask the question; was research done to indicate that this is a problem with this model pencil? Or was the kid just playing around and got stuck?
    I dislike mechanical pencils only because the lead breaks and there are only so many ways one can build that mousetrap. I have long harbored a fondness for the yellow-painted Dixon-Ticonderoga #2 lead pencils…you know, the ones you got two of at the beginning of each school year. All they need is a sharpener. Yes, their lead still breaks but you don’t need to go hunting around in your school possibles bag to find a replacement; then go through the contortions of putting the lead in same.
    No indeedy. You just whip out that sharpener, give the pencil a few twists and hey, presto! You are ready to take notes again.