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Kings, Garcia settle product liability lawsuit

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 5C
Last Modified: Wednesday, Jul. 31, 2013 - 7:17 am

The Kings and swingman Francisco Garcia have settled their product liability lawsuits against the manufacturer of an exercise ball that exploded and severely injured Garcia.

Prominent Sacramento personal injury lawyer Roger Dreyer, who represented the Kings and Garcia in their federal civil suits, said the amount of money paid by Ledraplastic S.p.a. to his clients is confidential but described the resolution as "extremely favorable" to them.

On Oct. 9, 2009, Garcia was balancing on the 75-centimeter ball and lifting weights at the same time when the ball burst and he "fell forcibly to the ground with the (90-pound) weights in each hand," according to Garcia's suit. It said he suffered serious injuries, including a fractured right forearm.

The Kings alleged a breach of the manufacturer's warranty and sought recovery of more than $4 million in salary, which the team was required to pay while Garcia was unable to play.

He missed four months during the first year of a five-year contract extension worth $29.6 million.

Early this year, Garcia suffered an aggravation of the forearm injury that caused him to miss two games in March.

Garcia sought an unspecified amount of monetary compensation for physical and mental pain and suffering along with a loss of future earning capacity.

"We are very pleased with the outcome and look forward to a stringent policy informing consumers of the potential danger of utilizing weights when working out with the Gymnic fit ball," Dreyer said Tuesday.

The balls were warranted to withstand 600 pounds and to be "burst resistant," the suits alleged. Yet, in a test commissioned by Dreyer, a ball like the one at issue burst with 400 pounds on it.

As part of the agreement to keep the financial terms of the settlement secret, Ledraplastic, an Italian firm, agreed to circulate a letter informing and reminding all distributors that Gymnic fit balls should be used with only body weight and never with weights, and advising distributors to forward the letter to customers.

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