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New Jersey Man Injured By Fireworks Sues Store, Manufacturer

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey teenager who was severely injured by fireworks his friend bought in Pennsylvania is suing the store, the manufacturer and the friend who brought them across state lines illegally.

Thomas Eldershaw of Jackson was 19 when he said his friend persuaded him to light a fireworks display last year. The mortar misfired, sending a tennis ball-sized projectile into Eldershaw’s eye and face, causing serious, permanent damage.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in state Superior Court claims that Sky King Fireworks of Morrisville, Pa., broke the law by selling them to Eldershaw’s friend. And the friend, a New Jersey resident, was not allowed to bring them into the state.

“These stores are located in Pennsylvania but they are not allowed to sell fireworks to Pennsylvania residents,” attorney Steven Blader said. “Yet anyone with a Jersey driver’s license can walk in the door and buy thousands of dollars’ worth of extremely dangerous products. Because of this, Thomas Eldershaw’s young life was forever changed on the Fourth of July, and every year it’s the same sad story—on a national holiday that is supposed to be a celebration, New Jersey youth are senselessly maimed, even killed.”

An employee at Sky King’s Morrisville store referred inquiries to its corporate office in Florida, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

In 2006, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office sued Sky King for soliciting New Jersey residents despite that state’s laws making possession or use of fireworks illegal. Sky King signed a consent order containing several provisions intended to protect consumers, but Blader contends the company has violated the agreement.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • JAY


  • Smokey

    You play with fire, you get burned……..enough said, you dumb ass!

  • Joe P

    Store isn’t at fault at all, if said “friend” had a NJ license and was 18. Perfectly legal for the store to sell to someone with an out of state license, as we all know. Case closed.

  • Seakay

    New Jersey isn’t the Nanny State for nothing! When will people take responsibility for their own actions.

  • john

    obviously this kid is an idiot! if anything the kid should be fined for having the fireworks in nj and the law suit be tossed.

  • Mel Keetehts

    This is the US Legal System you are talking about. A theif breaking their leg on your shovel in your garage can sue you.

    With that said. I work near one of these PA stores…how do they pay rent there is never a car in the lot…except for the cashier….talk about an exciting job…

  • Anonymous

    I just don’t see how he can ‘successfully’ sue the store and the manufacturer for his accident. I don’t even see how he can ‘successfully’ sue his friend. It was HIS choice to light the fireworks display. He could have said “NO”. I don’t think he has a case. But, then again, I’m not a Judge.

  • Steve

    This suit will get tossed because the “victim” was willfully engaged in an illegal activity ie. lighting off fireworks. He was also engaged in stupidity for not getting his head out of the way!

  • kate

    the 19 year old had a gun to his head when the “friend” persuaded him to light the firework. and the almightly dollar speaks again

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