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Westmoreland couple’s Dum Dums lawsuit not motivated by money, attorney says

September 10, 2018 GMT

A lawsuit against the maker of Dum Dums lollipops was never motivated by financial gain, according to an attorney representing the Westmoreland County couple who claims their son choked on a defective sucker.

Ohio-based Spangler Candy Co. initially offered compensation, but attorney Bernard Matthews said he determined paperwork issued by the company was “unacceptable” because it did not address safety concerns, he said Wednesday.

Mark and Kristina Matthews of Manor filed the suit Monday against the candy company after their their son -- identified only as “MBM” in the filing -- was eating a Dum Dums on July 5, 2017, when the candy ball detached from the lollipop stick and became lodged in his throat. His father managed to dislodge the candy from the boy’s throat. He was treated at a hospital.

Bernard and Mark Matthews are brothers, the attorney said.

The candy ball slid off of the stick within seconds of the boy placing it in his mouth and the couple noticed that several other candy balls had detached from the sticks in a bag of lollipops they recently bought, Bernard Matthews said.

“They were genuinely concerned that the defect in this particular batch of suckers was widespread,” Matthews said.

The couple notified Spangler Candy. Matthews said the lawsuit came after company representatives contacted the couple about compensation and it was unclear if the company would take action related to the safety of that batch of lollipops.

“They never addressed the question that was -- is there a problem here?” he said, adding that was the couple’s main concern.

The company has not responded to requests for comment from the Tribune-Review.

The family claims the lollipop was defective and that Spangler Candy was negligent in its manufacturing and failed to warn buyers of potential dangers with its product. The incident has caused them emotional and mental distress, according to the lawsuit -- which contains a cover sheet stating that an unspecified amount of money is being sought in damages.

The Akron Candy Co. in Bellevue, Ohio, first made Dum Dums in 1924. Spangler Candy in 1953 bought the trade name and equipment to make Dum Dums, according to the company website.

Spangler Candy in May bid $18.83 million for the New England Confectionery Co., or Necco, at a federal bankruptcy auction in Boston.