Winnie the Pooh Bassinet Recall Lawsuit Filed After Baby’s Death

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in California against Walt Disney Co. by the family of a child who died in August due to a defective Winnie the Pooh bassinet, which was among thousands of Simplicity Bassinets recalled earlier this year.

The lawsuit, which was filed last week in Los Angeles, alleges that Disney allowed sales of the Winnie the Pooh bassinets to continue, despite a flawed design which had been linked to another infant’s death nearly a year earlier.

On August 21, 2008, 6 month old Kennedy Brotherton died after she was strangled between two metal bars in a defectively designed Winnie the Pooh bassinet. The bassinet was manufactured by Simplicity, Inc. and contained characters and images licensed from Walt Disney Co.

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Approximately a week after Kennedy’s death, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a warning about the risk of infant strangulation associated with Simplicity bassinets, citing at least two babies who died after their head became trapped between the basinet’s metal bars.

The bassinet was designed with the metal bars more than 2 3/8 inches apart, which is the maximum distance stipulated under the Crib Federal Safety standard.

Simplicity, Inc., which has had about 900,000 of their bassinets recalled and over 1 million of their cribs recalled due to defective and dangerous designs over the last two years, was liquidated earlier this year and all of their assets were sold at a foreclosure sale.

The Winnie the Pooh bassinet lawsuit names Walt Disney Co. as the defendant, despite their claim that they only licensed the images used on some of the bassinets. Disney has maintained that they were not involved in the design and are not liable for the negligence of Simplicity, Inc.

The family’s wrongful death suit alleges that Disney knew or should have known that a 4-month-old baby from Missouri died about 11 months before Kennedy Brotherton in another Simplicity bassinet with the same design, but took no steps to halt sales before the Winnie the Pooh bassinet was sold to Kennedy’s family.

Following the collapse of Simplicity, Inc., the U.S. CPSC had difficulty initiating a recall, since SFCA, Inc., which is the company that purchased Simplicy’s assets at a public auction, refused to cooperate with the government and accept returns. However, a number of major retailers who sold the Simplicity Bassinets have agreed to accept returns, such as Wal-Mart, Target, J.C. Penny, Kmart, Toys “R” Us and Big Lots!.

The bassinet recall involved Simplicity 4-in-1 and 3-in-1 convertible “close sleeper/bedside sleeper” models. Some of the bassinets sold between 2002 and 2008 contained the “Winnie the Pooh” motif that was licensed from Disney, and some of the bassinets sold between 2001 and 2004 contained a “Graco” label as part of a licensing agreement with Graco Children’s products.

1 Comments

  • tiffanyFebruary 6, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    my granny bought me a winnie the pooh bassinet, for my baby shower, and some pieces are missing, if it has been recalled who do i send the bassinet to or how do i know if its ok

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