Dereka Williams, 13, living in Denton Texas was partially blinded last year when a retractable dog leash broke and struck her in the eye. “I was in the driveway and my dog was kind of running and I was trying to pull her and the leash broke,” said Dereka.
SlyDog, the inexpensive retractable leash Dereka’s father bought to keep track of Diamond, the family’s 25-pound blue pit bull terrier puppy, had recoiled without warning. It struck Dereka in her left eye and tore the retina.
“She kept saying, ‘Mommy I can’t see, I can’t see,’ ” said her mother, Joy Williams. “I thought she was exaggerating. Her eye was bloodshot. You could see the metal piece sticking out of her eyeball.”
Dereka’s family filed a lawsuit in U.S. district court in Fort Worth accusing California-based Worldwise Inc. – SlyDog’s manufacturer – of causing the 13-year-old girl’s injuries. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
Because of her injuries, Dereka has undergone three eye surgeries, wears specially made glasses and sometimes struggles to maintain her balance while walking. She still has only partial vision in the damaged eye but soon will visit a retina specialist in hopes of fully restoring her sight.
Stephen Drinnon, an attorney for the family, said: “Worldwise Inc. produced a dangerous product that we know has injured many people, including innocent children.”
Drinnon said that Slydog, which the company recalled in September in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, should have been recalled months before Dereka was injured.
“There were incidents before,” Drinnon said. “We at least know there were injuries to teeth and the face. It took a nationwide recall to protect the public, but by then it was too late for my client.”
“I think it was a prudent response,” Worldwise Inc. spokeswoman Christina Gray said Wednesday. “We did this as a precautionary response to take the product off the market.”
Dollar General, the only store that sold SlyDog, also was named in the lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, the company failed to properly warn the public about hazards associated with the product.
If you or a family member has been injured because of the fault of someone else; by negligence, personal injury, slip and fall, car accident, medical malpractice, trucking accident, drunk driving, bad product, toxic injury etc then please contact the Fort Worth Texas Personal Injury Attorney Dr. Shezad Malik. For a no obligation, free case analysis, please call 817-255-4001 or Contact Me Online.