Mahe shares her feelings on the jury prize and the safety of blind cords

Sunny mahé

When Elsie had her accident, I had no idea children were dying on corded blinds. I didn’t know it was an accident that happened once or twice a month. The blinds that were sold to me had a warning label from 1985 (obsolete at the time of sale by three generations of industry standard updates) and I didn’t even know it was there, hidden under the lower rail resting against the threshold. I was never offered a child-safe wand instead of cords, and I was never given cleats to wind cords out of reach. I didn’t know what a rope cleat was. I didn’t know how to ask them – you don’t know what you don’t know.

I never wanted to know so much about blinds. I thought they were just going to settle down and I wouldn’t think about them anymore. Maybe you already knew that cord blinds were listed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission as one of the “top five hidden dangers” in the home? Maybe you are one of the lucky ones who already knew how to cut cords short, install cord cleats or never place furniture in front of your blinds? Or maybe you are one of the millions of mothers like me who just didn’t know you would need to child proof them.

I know all this now. But I had to pay for this information out of my child’s life.

Our trial was the first of its kind. The precedent he sets has already had an impact on movements within the industry. We were offered over a million dollars before the trial just to leave. A million dollars wouldn’t have moved the needle to impact change for anyone other than me. If at some point I had believed it was just me and my family, I wouldn’t have cared. I wouldn’t have chosen to relive every aspect of Elsie’s horrific accident in great detail, knowing that the entire defense was to blame.

Do you have any idea how terrifying it was for me to take the witness stand and see police photos of my house on the day of the accident with the intention of proving I was a negligent mother? ? A dusty piano, a couch full of unwanted items on the way to DI’s door, the cluttered stomach of my heavy sectional couch that had been tossed in half so first responders had more room to work on Elsie, wrappers from the medical supplies and purple medical gloves left on my living room floor next to Elsie’s favorite dress that had been cut from her tiny body and left in place – cold, sterile snapshots of the worst day of my life .

And the reality is that now I already know everything I need about the blinds. I have already removed all the cord blinds from the interior of my house. My child is already dead. I had already lost before the start of the trial, so there would be no “winner” for me; no astronomical amount of money could ever make up for Elsie’s loss, and it is disgusting for anyone to believe he could.

The jury returned from deliberation with a number that far exceeded any amount suggested during the trial. The decision to award punitive damages is something a jury decides to pursue when it finds the conduct of a person or a company to be reprehensible. It aims to punish past behavior and discourage future infringements. This is the message that the industry has received loud and clear with the verdict delivered by the jury. This victory was for a mother-to-be who, I hope, will never even know this was something that could happen. We have done our part to protect other families from having to suffer the loss we have.

While I am legally unable to comment on the details of the resolution, I can share that I absolutely recognize the enormous responsibility these eight jurors have placed on us. I understand stewardship. I can tell you that I looked them in the eye and promised to bless our community.

There are several avenues that we are already pursuing to keep this promise, some of which were already in place:

• Miracles From Elsie, the foundation we created in honor of Elsie, helps families navigate a medical crisis, provides grief counseling to families who have lost a child and promotes awareness of giving. organs

• Mental Health For Heroes is another foundation funded by Miracles From Elsie. It pays for all the personal expenses of our police, firefighters, paramedics, and their spouses and children for mental health care. We sponsor therapists to get the best PTSD training and work to break down the stigma and stereotypes associated with our first responders getting the help they need to deal with the trauma they experience each time. day at work.

• We are also working to put together educational information to disseminate to new mothers in the hospital regarding the security risks hidden in their homes.

We love it here. We love Utah and we love the Utahns. We are committed to making a positive difference in our community. Thank you for the grace and support you have given our family over the years. We hope to pay it forward.

I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to our outstanding local lawyers, Alan Mortensen, Lance Milne and Chris Cheney, as well as our experts from St. Louis, Jim Corrigan, Jim O’Leary and John Gore.

Sunny mahé
Lehi, Utah

About Jessica J. Bass

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