An $8 million settlement has reportedly been reached in a case in which a Philadelphia
woman sued over the infant shoulder-sling related death of her young child.
News reports and court records show that Anthoinette Medley and the manufacturer of the baby sling, Infantino LLC, have agreed to settle the woman’s wrongful death case out of court.
Medley filed suit at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court in June 2010 over the February 2009 death of her 7-and-a-half-week-old child, Nelsir, who suffocated while being carried in a SlingRider made by the defendant.
Nelsir was carried in one shoulder sling while his twin brother, Tamir, was carried in another on his mother’s other arm.
The woman was reportedly out running errands at the time and had her children with her.
Medley claimed in her civil suit that she eventually noticed drops of blood on Nelsir’s bib. When she checked on the baby, he appeared unresponsive, records show.
Nelsir was pronounced dead after being transported to a local hospital.
A city medical examiner soon surmised that the death could have been attributed to suffocation from the SlingRider, a device designed to carry a child on one’s shoulder, although the official cause of death was apparently never directly attributed to the product.
A year after young Nelsir’s death, Infantino, which is based in California, voluntarily recalled the product from the market, citing a warning issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission that told of the potential dangers relating to these types of baby slings, according to past news reports.
Complaints that led to the product’s recall told of breathing hazards associated with the design of the bag-like sling.
It was said that the material used to make the sling could block air from getting into an infant’s airway, and that the design of the sling itself could lead to a child’s airflow being restricted, the news reports stated.
In court papers, Medley, the mother, complained about the fact that Infantino didn’t issue its recall until a fourth child’s death was reported relating to the product.
The court record shows that other defendants were initially named in the lawsuit alongside Infantino, including K-Mart and Wal-Mart, retail outlets that sold the SlingRider, but that those defendants were ultimately dismissed from the litigation.
In a recent story appearing in the Legal Intelligencer law journal, attorney Walter Swayze, III, of the firm Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney, which represented Infantino, said that his client denied liability from the beginning of the Medley case, “and while it was prepared to take the case to trial, nonetheless agreed to settle the case given its unique facts, the court in which it was pending, and the fact that payment on its behalf was covered by Infantino’s insurance.”
Records show that Medley, the plaintiff, was represented by attorney Alan Feldman, of the Philadelphia firm Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock & Dodig.