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Makers of Buckyballs shuts books on business, being liquidated

Jan 1, 2013

As the complaints mount and the injury toll rises, the maker of Buckyballs - desktop toys that feature small but powerful rare earth magnets - has been forced out-of-business.

According to a statement from the national law firm of Parker Waichman LLP, Maxfield & Oberton Holdings, LLC, the company that manufactured Buckyballs, is in liquidation and has ceased to exist under Delaware law. The company made this announcement on Dec. 27 of last year amid controversy that it manufactured a dangerous product that put children's lives at risk.

Maxfield & Oberton has continually denied that its products are dangerous despite a growing number of injury reports linked to its Buckyballs products. These desktop novelties feature numerous rare earth magnets. These magnets are incredibly powerful, especially considering their size. Buckyballs is one of several products to use them for this purpose and they are generally marketed to an older audience but that hasn't prevented children from accessing them.

If these magnets are dislodged from their form, they pose serious injury hazards if they're swallowed. Children could put these magnets in their mouths for a variety of reasons, some trying to emulate having a tongue piercing, even. If just two, or more magnets are swallowed, they can cause serious internal injuries and perhaps death. These magnets can fuse on either side of a delicate organ like the colon and cause a perforation that requires emergency surgery to remove them.

Swallowing these magnets could also result in blood poisoning if the magnets are not removed in a timely fashion or even an intestinal blockage. 

In ceasing business, Maxfield & Oberton have also established a Liquidating trust has been set up to potentially pay for certain claims against the company. Those who believe they have a claim against the Buckyballs makers are advised to fill out a Proof of Claim form, according to the Parker Waichman press release.

In July 2012, the Consumer Product Safety Commission ordered the makers of Buckyballs and another product using numerous rare earth magnets, Zen Magnets, to stop production and marketing of their products to stem the wave of injury reports linked to them. The regulator said they wanted the companies to stop their businesses altogether. 

The companies initially complied but returned to action during the most recent holiday season before Maxfield & Oberton, the most successful of businesses dealing in these products, shut its operations entirely last month. The company said it stopped selling Buckyballs and Buckycubes on Dec. 19.

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