Suit filed in death of Barrington Hills toddler
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A Barrington Hills mother whose 2-year-old son died in 2011 after a child's dresser fell on top of him is suing the furniture's manufacturer and local distributor.
Lisa Siefert, who already fought successfully to have the dresser model recalled, is seeking compensatory damages through the suit filed Thursday on behalf of her son, Shane, in Cook County circuit court.
Named as defendants were manufacturer Gemme Juvenile Inc. of Princeville, Quebec in Canada; the now dissolved Illinois business FurnitureKidz Inc.; and the former owners of FurnitureKidz, Robert and Marcia Gilbreth of Inverness.
In late January, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled the Natart Chelsea 3 drawer dresser that tipped over and killed Shane Siefert when he apparently tried to climb on it.
The government agency concluded that the dresser as originally constructed lacked anchoring straps to secure it to a wall, but that such straps could be retrofitted to the dressers.
The lawsuit was filed by Siefert's attorneys at Fichera & Miller, P.C. in Chicago.
Alexander Hattimer Loftus, an attorney at the firm, said the suit was filed in a state court so that all parties could be served, but he anticipates it could be transferred to federal court because of the multiple jurisdictions involved.
"We're dealing with a Canadian company, so it's going to take longer," Loftus said.
Representatives of Gemme Juvenile could not be reached Thursday. However, the company's voicemail greeting includes instructions on how to obtain a free safety strap retrofit kit for earlier models of the Natart Chelsea 3 drawer dresser at chelseawallanchors.com.
Today's models of the same piece of furniture come with the anchor straps, according to the company's voicemail greeting.
Defendants Robert and Marcia Gilbreth also could not be reached for comment as their listed phone numbers had been disconnected.
Damages sought by the lawsuit are to cover Shane's funeral expenses as well as all other aspects of the family's loss, Loftus said.
"The lawsuit is to make you whole," he said.
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