Girl at center of Target trunk suit dies

October 5, 2013

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A western Pennsylvania girl has died more than four years after a wicker storage trunk lid fell on her neck and left her severely disabled, prompting her parents to sue Target and pursue a product recall.

Camryn Surman, 5, died Wednesday, according to Martin Lazzaro, a family friend and attorney for Eric and Laura Surman, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. A private funeral was planned.

The girl had been in a persistent vegetative state since the wicker box lid fell on her July 20, 2009, cutting off her oxygen supply. She was 18 months old at the time, and her parents used the trunk as a toy box.

The lawsuit settled and was sealed by court order.

“We were sorry to hear the sad news that Camryn passed away. Our thoughts go out to her family and friends,” Target spokeswoman Jessica Deede said in an email.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a voluntary recall for 14 models of the trunk because they didn’t have safety hinges to keep their lids from suddenly slamming shut, or warn that the trunks posed a risk of suffocation. The recall notice said Camryn and another child had been injured by the trunks.

Camryn suffered brain damage that left her unable to move and used a respirator to help her breathe.

Her parents issued a statement saying they initiated the federal investigation that led to the recall of the “defective product that caused her to suffer the catastrophic brain injury that ultimately led to her death.”

“The investigation triggered the recall of more than 300,000 dangerous items like the one that injured Camryn and, as a result, protected other children from suffering as she did,” the statement said.

The Surmans live in Cranberry Township, a suburb about 20 miles north of Pittsburgh.



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