Trial begins in Aqua Dots lawsuit


Phoenix's federal court was the setting for a high-profile product liability case Tuesday, which pits a Gilbert family against the companies behind a once-popular children's toy.

"It's been tremendously difficult," father Mark Monje said. "We have to live with this every day."

Gilbert parents Mark and Beth Monje say it has been an eight-year journey for justice for their son, Ryan, who in 2007 ingested beads from an Aqua Dots toy.

"He was hospitalized and in a coma for two days," Beth Monje said.

The beads, which were manufactured in China, were coated with a chemical that when ingested becomes the so-called "date rape drug."

Ryan, just 16 months old at the time, began vomiting and suffering seizures. He was rushed to a hospital.

"We're just here to seek justice for our son, (who) was injured by ingesting this toy," Mark Monje said.

Because of restrictions imposed by the judge, the family is unable to discuss the long-term impacts the incident will have on Ryan, who is now 9 years old.

Following the 2007 incident and others like it, the toy was recalled.

The Monjes are suing the manufacturer, the distributor and the retailer. Lawyers for the companies did not want to comment Tuesday.

"We don't know what their strategy is at this point," Mark Monje said, "but I am sure they will try and deflect responsibility as they have since 2007."

In court, lawyers argued it was the parents' responsibility to keep their 16-month-old child away from the toy, which they had purchased for one of their older children.

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