Chicago Woman Files Lawsuit Involving Recalled Cribs

A Chicago-area woman who bought a crib that was later part of a major recall has sued its maker, Simplicity Inc., and retailer Target Corp. The lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court in Minneapolis, seeks class-action status.

According to the lawsuit, Amber Spitzer, of Hanover Park, Ill., bought a Simplicity Aspen 4 in 1 crib for her daughter, Brianna at a Target store in April 2006. The lawsuit does not allege the 1-year-old was hurt, but says she could have been.

On Friday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled 1 million Simplicity cribs, including the Aspen 4 in 1. Three babies have died, seven have been trapped and 55 other incidents have been linked to a design flaw that can open up a gap between the cribs’ drop rail and the frame, through which child can fall, if consumers accidentally install the drop-rail side of the crib upside down, the agency said.

The recall advises consumers to contact Simplicity for repair kits.

The lawsuit was filed on Spitzer’s behalf by Charles Kelly, a San Francisco attorney who represented the family of 9-month-old Liam Johns, of Roseville, Calif., who died in a Simplicity crib in 2005. That case was settled out of court.

“The crib manufacturers have known for several years that these cribs contained fatal flaws,” Kelly said in a statement. “These companies have blatantly put profit above the health and safety of sleeping infants; enough is enough.”

Among other things, the lawsuit seeks full refunds for families who purchased the recalled cribs, as well as unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Simplicity Inc., of Reading, Pa., manufactured all the recalled cribs. They were sold under the Simplicity or Graco brands by several retailers from January 1998 through May 2007.

Simplicity spokesman Joe Householder said Tuesday that the company will respond to the lawsuit later.

“Every ounce of energy at the company is focused on working through the recall and getting the retrofit equipment out to the people who requested it as soon as possible,” he said.

Lena Michaud, a spokeswoman for Minneapolis-based Target, said the company had no immediate comment.