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Company Must Pay Millions To Parents

Fri., Feb. 13, 1998

The world’s largest maker of smoke detectors has been ordered to pay nearly $17 million to a couple who blamed a faulty detector for their son’s death in a house fire.

Jennifer and Nathan Mercer claimed that a $10 First Alert smoke detector malfunctioned in their home Jan. 18, 1993, leading to the death of their 3-year-old son, Bradley, and the disfigurement of their son Travis, then 18 months.

A faulty baby monitor that overheated started the fire.

Jurors on Wednesday ordered First Alert to pay $12.5 million in punitive damages and $4.4 million in compensatory damages.

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