Mission Viejo, CA – Orange County authorities are investigating the death of 4-year-old Kayley Ishii who died in her home after climbing into a front-loading washing machine that was turned on by her 1-year-old brother. According to news reports, the little girl was inside the water-filled machine for approximately two minutes before she was found by her mother. She was transported to Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center where she later died.
This terrible tragedy is quickly gaining worldwide attention. Not simply because it is a monumental tragedy, but because of the circumstances. How could her 15-month-old brother have turned on the machine? There are conflicting reports, but the on/off button was apparently only 15-20 inches above ground. If it is true that the switch for turning the machine on is at a place where a toddler could reach it does that make the washing machine a defective product?
California law will hold a manufacture strictly liable for injuries caused by a product, if the product injures someone while being used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner, it was defective when sold, and the defect caused the injury. If that is proven, the manufacturer has few defenses. Here, the manufacturer would argue that while it may be foreseeable a child would climb inside the machine, it was not foreseeable that another child would be present to turn the machine on. The manufacturer would also content that the parents bear some responsibility for the failure to monitor the children.
The parents, of course, would ask the question that many people are asking today: How could it be so easy for a 15-month-old child to turn on a machine that is known to be dangerous to children? There is no doubt this questions will be answered in the courts.
The law firm of Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families throughout Southern California who have been impacted by negligence related accidents, defective products, food poisoning, spinal and brain injuries, construction accidents, dog bites, and other personal injury cases.