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Cranberry couple sues Target over toy box

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Monday, March 8, 2010

A Cranberry couple whose 18-month-old daughter suffered devastating injuries when a toy box lid fell and trapped her neck filed a lawsuit in Allegheny County today against retail chain Target.

Camryn Surman, daughter of Eric and Laura Surman, suffered a "devastating anoxic brain injury" when the lid of the rectangular, brown wicker trunk sold by Target cut off her air supply the morning of July 20. The toddler, now 2, is in a persistent vegetative state.

"It's as bad as it gets," said John Gismondi, the Surmans' attorney. "She's now home on a feeding tube, with the family taking care of her. She has no movement of her arms and legs. She can't really speak, and can't breathe on her own."

A representative with Minneapolis-based Target was not immediately available to comment.

The 28-page lawsuit says the trunk either should have been equipped with a lid support mechanism to prevent it from suddenly snapping shut or a warning that states the trunk is not suitable for children or poses a risk of child suffocation.

The "brown rectangular truck" sold on Target's Web site did not have such a warning or safety device, the lawsuit states. Laura Surman purchased the trunk online. The lawsuit does not identify the trunk's brand name or manufacturer.

Target removed the product and two similar trunks from its Web site since the incident, along with customer reviews that say the trunk is appropriate for children, said Gismondi, of the Downtown law firm Gismondi & Associates P.C.

Gismondi said Target has not issued a recall of the wicker trunks or offered to retrofit them with a lid support. The lawsuit seeks a litany of damages including money to cover Camryn Surman's medical expenses and pain and suffering.

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