Crib safety and product liability in Michigan
Over the weekend, numerous newspapers reported the enormous crib recall initiated--belatedly--by the manufacturer and the CPSC. By some estimates, this recall was delayed for many months through the efforts of the manufacturer and ineptitude--or worse-- at the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Newspaper accounts made it clear that the American company--Simplicity--and its Chinese manufacturer had produced cribs that were not reasonably safe for children. In some cases, the cribs were dangerous because they were assembled up-side down by parents who could not adequately understand the enclosed instructions, and a strangulation hazard was created. In other documented cases, the same strangulation hazard developed without any error in assembly.
The "3 in 1" cribs are known to be responsible for at least two deaths and numerous injuries. Another design of crib sold by the same company caused a child in Northern Michigan to suffer a leg fracture, when a toddler with one foot through the railings slid out of the designed "entry" to the crib. Of course, since Michigan does not allow suit against the retailer of a defective product, Michigan residents cannot sue the sellers of these defective products, and thus the retailers have no incentive to assure that they are selling safe products. If Simplicity was not negligent in its own design of the Chinese-made product, Michigan residents would have no alternative for justice, inasmuch as the Chinese government does not allow lawsuits to be served on Chinese manufacturers.