December 20, 2022
The parents of a girl whose hair got caught in a ticket machine at a Pennsylvania Chuck E. Cheese have sued the Bucks County company that manufactures the equipment for the family entertainment and pizza chain.
Attorneys filed the lawsuit in Scranton last week on behalf of the couple from Hanover Township, Luzerne County, arguing that Deltronic Labs failed to design the machine with an emergency shut off or the ability to recognize foreign objects, such as hair.
The incident happened in October 2019 at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in Wilkes-Barre while the girl was redeeming prize tickets by feeding them into the Mr. Munch machine, The Times Leader reported.
The lawsuit describes that after her hair became entangled in the moving parts of the ticket machine, the girl hit her head several times and suffered a concussion. People nearby noticed the girl was stuck and tilted the machine to access its power cord and unplug it. To free the girl, her hair had to be cut loose.
The girl has since suffered from muscle spasms and pain in other parts of her body, including her neck and back, and the family's lawsuit blames the incident for her having difficulty concentrating at school.
The lawsuit claims Deltronic Labs, based in Chalfont, Bucks County, is aware of the machine's safety risks and there have been similar incidents resulting in litigation.
In March 2020, an Oregon woman sued Chuck E. Cheese after her hair got caught in one of the company's ticket feeder machines in Portland. The woman is asking for $1,000 in damages and a warning sign to be placed next to the machine.
In 2017, a 3-year-old girl in Michigan got her hair stuck in a Chuck E. Cheese ticket machine. The girl's mother rushed to help her. Seeing no button to stop the machine, the woman pulled the girl's hair free, causing two bald spots on the child's head. Chuck E. Cheese reportedly offered the girl a popsicle and a voucher for 1,000 tickets, in addition to promising to pay medical bills from the girl's "minor scalp injury."
"We want to assure parents and caregivers that maintaining a safe experience for our guests is a primary concern for us," the company said in a statement at the time.
It's unclear whether Deltronic Labs feeder machines are used at all Chuck E. Cheese's locations. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit filed in Scranton.
Chuck E. Cheese has faced other litigation related to incidents involving equipment commonly found at the company's restaurants. In 2019 at the Chuck E. Cheese in South Philly, a boy was injured when an arcade game fell on him. The child's mother filed a federal lawsuit against the maker of the arcade game seeking damages of more than $50,000.
Attorneys Melissa A. Scartelli and Kristin Mazzarella represent the Hanover Township couple in the most recent case. The parents are seeking punitive damages.