The parents of a 14-year-old Jacksonville boy are suing a Spring Hill toy assembler, saying the child lost an eye when a slingshot broke and snapped his face.
Chad Knickerbocker was playing with a friend's Blaster Water Balloon Slingshot two months ago in Jacksonville when the rubber strap broke, the lawsuit said.
His eye was removed in emergency surgery, said the boy's attorney, Donald Maciejewski.
The boy was on his way to earning a pilot's license and had dreamed of being a military fighter pilot, Maciejewski said.
Named in the suit were C.X. Blaster Inc. and its owners, Eric and Sally Magnuson of 13218 Jessica Drive in Spring Hill.
According to Maciejewski, the slingshot was assembled by the Magnusons, then sold through the mail by Fun Services, a St. Petersburg business.
The Spring Hill couple would not comment on the suit. A Fun Services employee said she was unaware of the product and didn't know whether her company carried it.
It was unclear Tuesday whether C.X. Blaster is still operating.
It is not registered as a Florida corporation or as a business operating under a fictitious name, said employees in the secretary of state's office.
According to Hernando County records, its owners had an occupational license from January through September, but the license has expired. Employees in the county tax collector's office said their understanding was that the Magnusons weren't making the toy, just distributing it.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday. It is for an unspecified amount of money for medical bills and loss of future earning power, plus physical and emotional distress.
Maciejewski said the family is distraught over the accident, which he blamed on a design flaw.
The lawyer said the toy was nearly new when it broke.
It "was defective and unreasonably dangerous," the lawsuit said.