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SALT LAKE CITY — A former BYU football coach has sued window blinds manufacturers, installers, distributors and marketers following the 2016 death of his young daughter.
Reno and Sunny Mahe have sued the companies on behalf of the estate and heirs of their 3-year-old daughter, Elsie, who died on November 29, 2016, after she was found hanging from a blinds cord in the family’s Utah County home a week earlier.
The Mahe family filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking a jury trial in Salt Lake City’s 3rd District Court, according to court documents.
Reno Mahe is a former BYU running back and kick returner who was working as a running backs coach for BYU when Elsie died.
Among the defendants in the lawsuit are BlindVision, based in Utah; Century Blinds Inc., based in California; Hunter Douglas Inc., based in New Jersey; Hunter Douglas Fabrication Company, based in California; Turnils North America Inc., based in New York; and ten other potential defendants who are not yet known or named in the suit, according to court documents.
The suit accuses the companies of product liability, negligence and breach of warranty.
Those companies "manufactured, assembled, marketed, distributed, installed and sold the window coverings involved in Elsie’s death," according to the suit. It alleges that those window coverings were “unreasonably dangerous and defective” because they were sold without some proper warnings and safety mechanisms.
The suit also says that the window blinds companies should have known that people who use the blinds, including Elsie Mahe, would not have realized the "danger posed by the defective condition of the blinds and its component parts."
The companies "failed to use ordinary care in designing, manufacturing, testing, labeling, distributing, supplying and servicing the blinds and its component parts so as to not injure or kill its users," according to the lawsuit. It also claims the companies did not fix or recall a product they knew to be defective.
The lawsuit calls for a jury to determine monetary damages, including the costs of Elsie’s funeral and medical expenses, the pain and suffering she and her family experienced and any "punitive damages to the extent allowed by law," according to court documents.