Court upholds $260,000 in penalties, fees against companies that sold banned toys in N.J.

TRENTON – More than $260,000 in state-imposed fines and fees have been upheld today by an appellate court over the sale of banned toys.

The state’s assessment of penalties against two companies over the sale of a banned product – Yo Yo Waterballs – was affirmed by the court.

New Jersey had banned the sale of the toy – essentially a rubber ball filled with liquid and attached to a cord – in 2008, ruling they represented a strangulation hazard for children.

The two companies involved in the cases –  Rhode Island Novelty and Indiana Novelty International – admitted they sold the toys but said it was done unintentionally and that they ceased as soon as they became aware of the law.

They argued that the state’s imposition of such heavy penalties and fines was unwarranted under the circumstances.

In the case of Rhode Island Novelty, the state fined the company $190,000 in penalties and assessed $12,471 in attorneys’ fees for the sale of 13,464 of the toys.

Regarding Indiana Novelty, the state fined that company $54,000 in penalties and assessed $13,021 in attorneys’ fees for the sale of 444 of the waterballs.

The court turned aside the toy companies’ arguments that the state should have allowed a grace period and should have been required to notify every seller of such toys.

The court pointed out that the law was signed in January 2008 but did not take effect until April 2008.

According to the court ruling, state investigators were able to purchase the toys online in June 2008.

Court upholds $260,000 in penalties, fees against companies that sold banned toys in N.J.