More than six years after the incident that caused the injury, a young New Jersey girl’s claim for punitive damages against Dick’s Sporting Goods has been allowed to move forward.
In July, 2010, Ariana McGuire and her twin sister, then seven years old, were at a gathering at the home of family friends. According to witnesses, the then eight-year-old son of the family friends was shooting metal-tipped arrows at a target in the yard when one of the arrows pierced Ariana’s head, causing massive bleeding, a stroke and an aneurysm. She was not expected to live, but survived. Medical experts say, however, that she will need regular care for the rest of her life.
In the aftermath of the accident, Ariana’s parents filed a lawsuit, naming the parents of the boy, as well as Dick’s Sporting Goods, as defendants. They contended that Dick’s was negligent for failing to follow New Jersey law, which only allows pointed or metal-tipped arrows to be sold to persons with valid hunting licenses. At the time of the accident, the state of New Jersey would not issue a valid hunting license to anyone under the age of 10.
McGuire’s parents sought punitive damages from both defendants, but the court dismissed the claim against the boy’s parents. However, they ruled that attorneys could proceed to seek to gather evidence supporting a punitive damages claim against Dick’s. McGuire’s attorneys told the court that they had sent a private investigator into Dick’s, along with his 12-year-old son, and that Dick’s sold the boy the same type of arrows without asking to see a hunting license.
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