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“Warning: Do not play on the giant red Target balls.”

You just might start seeing signs like that outside your local Target store. A New Jersey mother whose son was injured while playing outside their local Target is calling the red balls a “hazardous… attractive nuisance”.

So she’s suing for $1.6 million.

The lawsuit, originally filed in a New York state court a month ago, was transferred to federal court yesterday. In it, Venus Costello claims Target should be held responsible for the injuries her 5-year-old son suffered, when he fell off a red ball outside a Target in Jersey City.

The incident occurred back in September. The lawsuit states that Costello’s son was “playing on and around the large red balls/objects located at the entrance and was caused to fall to the ground.” She said he suffered serious injuries to his right arm and elbow that required surgery, “due to the negligence and carelessness” of Target.

Target says the red concrete balls are meant to keep cars from driving up onto the curb. But Costello claims the oversize balls “attract children to play” on them. Target, she says, was “negligent in failing to design such large red balls/objects that would protect children who are unable to appreciate the risk posed by such large red balls/objects in front of a large consumer retail store that attracts and solicits not only adults but children.”

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The lawsuit fails to state what, precisely, Costello was doing while her son was climbing on, and falling from, that hazardous red ball.

But no matter. Costello’s lawsuit invokes a legal doctrine that basically states that the very occurrence of an accident automatically implies negligence. Not on her part, but on Target’s.

The lawsuit blames Target for “failing to properly inspect and keep children from playing on said large red balls/objects” and failing to give “any notice or warning of dangers and hazards.”

As tempting a plaything as those red balls might be, it could be worse. Back in the summer of 2011, Target dressed up its signature red balls as beach balls, covering them with colorful striped fabric to help promote its summer sales. That idea lasted all of two weeks. Target swiftly removed all of the beach ball coverings, after reports that people were injuring themselves by trying to hit or kick the balls – apparently thinking they were actual beach balls instead of spherical slabs of immovable concrete.

There were no reports of any beach ball-related lawsuits at the time. But then Costello’s son was too young to be clambering around on them back then.

Costello is seeking $1.5 million to cover her son’s medical expenses and pain and suffering, plus an additional $100,000 for herself.

So if you were unaware of the dangers posed by those otherwise friendly-looking red balls, now you can’t say you haven’t been warned. Costello says she never was. Now a federal court will have to decide whether she – or Target – pays the price.

Photo by ** RCB **

31 Comments

  1. The lawsuit should be thrown out of court. I bet she put him on the ball to take pictures of him. Check her phone and her social media for pictures.

  2. Target should turn around and sue her for defamation of character. This is a case of a parent not watching her five year old son and giving him enough discipline to know that you do not climb on things when you go to the store and this includes the big red ball as well as the shelves and other items inside the store.

  3. Amy Graham says:

    It is the full responsibility of the parents to watch over and take care of their children. The fault falls on the parents.

  4. Its a complex concept called parenting….said parent should learn it as this is 100% on them and NOT target. Accidents happen all the time just because you weren’t watching doesn’t mean you get to sue someone else for this mistake. This child didn’t get up there without some effort so whatever the parent was doing during all of this seems a bit baffling…

  5. Many things are attractive to little kids – toughing the flame on a stove, petting strange dogs and running after a ball in the street. Its up to the parent to watch their kids and stop dangerous behavior.

  6. No, those giant red balls are not something a child should be playing on. However, the fault is with the parent for failing to parent.

  7. sheri McCrary says:

    She was supposed to be a responsible adult attending to and keeping a watchful eye on her son which she wasn’t doing if her child was injured.It’s totally her fault.She just needs to take responsibility for her own mistake and learn from it.

  8. first of all where was the parents when this happened. No children no matter what age should be climbing on these red balls. They have playground where children can climb on stuff. People have nothing better to sue and half the time its due to there own stupidity. Children should be watched more. People at these stores are not babysitters and have a million other things to do. You can’t hold anybody responsible for your stupidity
    .

  9. Target did not let your child on the Big Red ball, you did her parent
    How stupid can these parents be

  10. Bernadette Allman says:

    These people need to stop this crap. Go get a job and work for your money. So if a kid climbs on a car and falls off, is she gonna sue the car owner? It is not a playground, it’s a parking lot and store front. I hope she loses the battle. Take your kids to the park and watch them!!

  11. Jeannie Yeager says:

    Personally I think the mother should be charged with negligence and fraud. If she was watching her child he wouldn’t have fallen. And if she actual money was watching him then she’s commuting fraud hmmm. Target thank you for the Bright Red Balls!! Ignorance is too common in this world

  12. Oh give me a break! This should never be allowed anywhere near a court!!! Tell the five year old to quit playing on the big red cement ball. Supervise your children. It is not Target’s fault you can’t watch your kid. Personal responsibility – ever hear of it?

  13. Dan Giordano says:

    This will stop when jury’s start giving “awards” like $10.00. After a few attorneys earn $3.00 of their 30% “cut” of a judgement, frivolous lawsuits won’t seem as attractive.

  14. Get a court order for her phone and all the information contained within the phone. Including SD cards and passwords. Will explain missing mother and why she was so irresponsible.

  15. No Lawsuit. This world is becoming crazy. If I was on jury I would vote NO!

  16. No lawsuit, i should be on the jury, mom would get a NO vote

  17. Becky Walters says:

    I think the real issue is that no one told her what you should do to be a parent… It actually includes supervising your children….

  18. toni chadwick says:

    god i wish i could find this woman and slap her! if you cant watch your child then dont bring him to the story they are not toys. If you not smart enough to yell at ur child to stay off it thats ur own fault. Not saying my son has not tried to play on things he should not i think all kids and adults do. depending on age and what it is but i have told my son to stop . also at that age my son would not have not been in a cart hello thats what the carts are for stick him in till you get to and from the store.

  19. Deborah Sousa says:

    Parent should have been watching kid cause they know exactly what those balls are for their for The big issue is MOM NEEDS MONEY

  20. Diane Durvasula says:

    I totally agree.

  21. I agree the lawsuit is completely asinine and should be summarily dismissed. However I do not agree about the McDonald’s coffee lawsuit, McDonald’s admitted their coffee was at least 5 degrees hotter then the typical cup of fast food coffee. And the woman received 3rd degree burns internally.

  22. I’m not perfect I’m not the brightest person but I do have common sense and see danger for my kid ..n yes I spelled dumb wrong

  23. How can this even be a case to work on..it’s the parents responsibility watching over a kid Not a Gorillas fault or a ball lol.
    It does not necessarily have to have a sign on everything to know its not allowed or not safe..part of being a parent is having common sense and knowing when something is dangerous for our kids..So I should sue a store where I bought a knife and cut my self because ” the cashier did not warn me It was dangerous. .It’s called Common Sense Child services should be after her. Obviously she’s to Dum to watch a child..that child is in danger ..because not every object or place have warning signs

  24. When will people start accepting responsibility for their own actions instead of blaming every one else for what they themselves should be doing. NO she should not be able to sue Target when it was her job to watch her child. What if he had ran out in front of a car?

  25. Yes, this is stupid but no more so than the woman who sued McDonalds because she spilled coffee on herself and it was hot. Some people are just greedy and look for a way to get some money. Notice that the lawsuit also askss for $100,000 for her. And I have a hard time believing her son’s medical bills were 1.5 mil!!!

  26. Elizabeth says:

    I’ve tried to kick that big red ball.
    It hurt…
    Then it cried..
    I said sorry to the ball…
    Then walked away..

  27. Sharron Frommann says:

    UNREAL!!! He should not have been on the red ball in the first place Perhaps. Mom was preoccupied with her phone or chatting with a friend.

  28. Dillon York says:

    Child protective services should be called on mom for not watching her kid as the kid will be the next one to get into the gorilla cage!

    STUPID PARENTS! They need to be sterilized.!

  29. Was she watching her kid? The front of the store isn’t a playground and it’s not Target’s fault for her stupidity.

  30. anonymous2 says:

    Someone should tell her it’s neglectful of her to stop her son from climbing on the big red ball.It’s not Target’s fault.She shouldn’t be suing them.

  31. Stephanie says:

    Target should sue her for being stupid whilst in charge of a minor on their property.

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