An American mother of two is suing dispenser manufacturer Trade Fixtures for millions after an M&M dispenser fell on her during a visit to Toys R Us in New York's Times Square.
The New York Observer reports that Elizabeth Flickinger, from Pennsylvania, visited the store in October 2008. She claims that when she was dispensing blue M&Ms, the dispenser came loose and hit her on the forehead, twisting her neck.
According to a report in The New York Daily News, Ms Flickinger, 42, suffered blinding headaches, a herniated disc, loss of income and a diminished sex life as a result of being hit on the head by the 25lb dispenser.
Last week her case was heard at Brooklyn federal court. Ms Flickinger told the court: "My vision went black for a couple of seconds. All I'm thinking is, [I've] got to catch this thing so it doesn't land on the kids. I remember myself and my boys screaming for help."
M&M's have already settled with the Flickingers in a prior lawsuit for an undisclosed sum, after a jury concluded that Toys R Us employees were not guilty of negligence.
The New York Observer reports that a Toys R Us employee claims that Ms Flickinger's son, James Jr, was responsible for the accident, because he was yanking on the swing-down arm that dispenses the chocolate treats. However, the boys' father, James Sr, swore under oath that his sons didn't pull the lever.
Experts testified that the dispenser tipped over because it wasn't properly secured, due to a design defect. However Trade Fixtures laywer, James Burke, argued that the dispensers have delivered sweets for seven years without any problems. He also argues that Ms Flickinger did not report any physical problems for more than six months after the incident.
Ms Flickinger says that she discussed the incident with the cashier, but didn't file a report until later when her husband, who was waiting in the car, saw a 'goose egg' on her head.
The Flickingers claim that the accident ruined a perfect weekend, which had involved seeing The Lion King on Broadway, shopping at FAO Schwarz and Build-A-Bear on Fifth Ave and attending Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Her laywer Jay Dankner told the jury: "Little did Beth think in her worst nightmares that... her life would be changed irreparably and permanently."
Click on the image below for our city break guide to New York...
City break guide: New York City
Times Square tourist demands millions after M&M tower falls on her head
There's always plenty going on in the city that never sleeps from new exhibitions and cultural venues, to restaurant and bar openings. Prepare for a jam-packed trip....
January and February are two of the coldest months in New York City, with temperatures of -3C to 4C. And those skyscrapers make the wind feel colder and stronger. Wearing layers will deal with the variation between the warmth of shops and public transport and exploring outdoors. Things warm up a bit in March, though it's wetter but you can still enjoy the huge St Patrick's Day celebrations on 17 March (pictured).
The best way to see the city is on foot but if you've a lot of ground to cover or are tight for time, the public transport system is a great way to get around. MetroCards are valid for one to 30 days (£5-£56). And thoseiconic yellow cabs are also a quick and convenient way to travel.
The Financial District is on the up. The buzzy vibe in Stone Street - try Adrienne's Pizza Bar then finish with drinks at Vintry Wine and Whiskey. At Bar Seven Five, at the Andaz Wall Street, enjoy cocktails mixed at your table, then move upstairs to Wall & Water for market-to-table cuisine.Keep your eyes peeled for Mr de Niro in Locanda Verde, the Italian "taverna" at his hotel, The Greenwich, in the TriBeCa neighbourhood. And, over in Brooklyn, pick up quality fast food served by Goods out of a refurbished Spartan trailer and eat in the garden, or sip coffee to a soundtrack of tunes at coffee, record and antique shop Black Gold.If want a taste of New York's late-nightlife, then head for international club brand Pacha, but expect queues.
No trip to New York would be complete without ascending its tallest structure, the Art Deco Empire State Building, for 360 degree vistas of the city below. For superb views of the Manhattan skyline, harbour and a close-up of the Statue of Liberty, take the 25-minute trip on the Staten Island Ferry. And make time to admire the Beaux Arts beauty, and constellations on the main concourse ceiling, of Grand Central station.
Don't forget the city's green spaces. Take a stroll along the historic High Line - 1.5 miles of disused elevated freight rail that has been transformed into an overhead public promenade. Or lose yourself in the 843-acre Central Park, which offers trails for walking and jogging, fields and lakes, and the famous zoo.
"Never stop in the middle of the pavement to consult a map - New Yorkers walk at an average speed of 4.1mph, which means you'll be literally mowed down!"
"Instead of climbing to the top of the Empire State Building, make it your photo backdrop and head to the Top of the Rock."
"If Central Park is too crowded, head to the Upper East Side to Carl Schurz Park, with its sprawling green grass, colourful gardens and views of the East River and Long Island City."
The stretch of Fifth Avenue known as Museum Mile is home to nine of the city's must-see museums, including The Guggenheim and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. At the other end of the cultural spectrum, immerse yourself in the US's favourite pastime and take a tour or catch a game at the Yankee Stadium.
Avoid large, touristy bars and clubs, where cocktails are expensive. Instead, check out Little Branch (001 212 929 4360) and Pegu for drinks normal prices.
The tipping culture in New York can be a bit of a shock. Keep a wad of dollar bills handy for doormen ($1 for hailing a cab), porters ($1-$2 per bag), hotel housekeeping ($1-$2 per day), bartenders and waiting staff ($1 per drink or 15 per cent -20 per cent of the bill) and taxis (15 per cent -20 per cent of fare).
For a taste of luxury, book into The Chatwal, smart new kid on the block in the theatre district. A respectful refurbishment of the Stanford White building - once home to the US's first professional theatre club, the Lambs Club -has resulted in a hotel that evokes the glamour of Gotham.
The Plaza Athenee, on the Upper East Side, has also undergone a multimillion-dollar transformation, to include new decor in rooms, larger bathrooms, new suites and an Asian-inspired spa across a whole floor.
The best new tour is The Ride, a hilarious, interactive version of the city bus tour of the city streets become a stage and the public participants. Say anymore, and it'll spoil the fun. Alternatively, get under the city's skin on a tour of the neighbourhoods with Beyond Times Square. Meanwhile, Circle Line Downtown runs boat trips from the South Street Seaport. Designer bargain-hunters should try an Elegant Tightwad Shopping Excursion and to unlock the local flavours of the city, head out with the Enthusiastic Gourmet.
For packages, Expedia has a brilliant range of packages to New York, including five nights at the Milford Plaza at Times Square, from £465 per person from London Heathrow to Newark. Price based on two sharing a standard room without breakfast, including taxes and fees. Book online or call 0203 027 8682.
Every leisure traveller to the US is required to complete an Esta. Allow 72 hours, and £29.95, for processing. Beware when shopping Price tags rarely include city sales tax. Add approximately nine per cent, unless it's below $110, when just over four per cent will be added. Likewise, tax should be factored in to menu prices and hotel rates, unless included. For information on what's new in the city, see nycgo.com, Hg2 and Daily Candy.