Ours is a world of devices and machines, and defects in these things can be the cause of serious injury. It is the responsibility of the manufacturers to make their products safe, but this is often not the case. Injuries can be due to poor workmanship, faulty design or a failure to adequately warn about the dangers presented by the product and its forseeable misuse.
Out-of-Business Crib Manufacture Still Liable
Our client was a young mother who had been given an old portable crib by her grandmother. One day, after putting the baby down and making herself lunch, she returned to find the child dead. She had strangled to death after a button on the back of her bonnet got caught in the crib’s webbing. The multi-filament webbing had been an obvious hazard for catching fingers or buttons, but the crib had been made some time during the 1960's. There were no markings whatsoever identifying the manufacturer or brand of the portable crib. Its manufacturer had been taken over long ago by another company.
We eventually found a picture of the crib in a defunct magazine published by a children’s furniture trade association. The only information given was that the crib was made by a manufacturer who we learned had once been located in a region of South Carolina. The manufacturer had since sold out to another company which closed down the South Carolina factory long ago.
We contacted a South Carolina newspaper and took out an ad showing the crib and asking anyone who might have worked on it to call a toll-free number. This resulted in a couple of dozen responses, including one from a worker who said she was always complaining to her superiors that the buttons of her blouse continually got caught in the crib’s webbing.
This was a particularly tragic case in which the mother and grandmother felt a lot of guilt about the accident. Our successful litigation resulted in an out-of-court mediated settlement. The consequent compensation was proof that the fault lay not with them, but with the careless manufacturer of the crib who ignored the hazard it created for infants who would use its product.