Family of deceased baby awarded NT$4.4 million in compensation

2019/11/04 19:29:23 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
The product images shown are for illustrative purposes only

The product images shown are for illustrative purposes only

Taipei, Nov. 4 (CNA) A Keelung couple has been awarded NT$4.4 million (US$144,570) in compensation after winning their civil suit against the parties responsible for making and selling a product they argued resulted in the death of their son.

The case dates back to 2015, when the couple's 5-month-old baby boy died from suffocation after his head was trapped between his mattress and a 1.1-meter long by 70 centimeter high convertible mesh bed rail that was installed along one side of the mattress.

The couple first pressed criminal charges, but when the case reached the Taiwan High Court, they decided to seek financial compensation by filing a civil suit against Pan Yung-chu (潘永珠), the owner of the company marketing the bed rail ST Baby Co.

Also named in the suit were Pan's contractor who actually made the product, and the retail store that sold them the item.

On Monday, the Taipei High Court ruled that the three parties should jointly pay NT$4.4 million in compensation for selling a bed rail that was not safe and for failing to put adequate warning labels on their product.

It was not immediately clear how responsibility for the compensation was divided up among the three parties.

Pan has also been prosecuted for professional negligence causing the death of a person under the Criminal Code, and was sentenced to one year in prison by the Taipei High Court in December 2018, which upheld a ruling by a lower court.

Pan appealed the verdict, sending the criminal case to Taiwan's Supreme Court, where a final ruling has yet to be issued.

The incident occurred on May 17, 2015, when the couple found their baby without any vital signs just a few hours after putting him to bed.

They found their baby with his head stuck between the bed and the rail's flexible screen, according to investigators at the time.

An autopsy later certified the cause of death as suffocation.

When Pan contested on appeal the district court's guilty verdict in the criminal case, she argued that the baby's parents were to blame for their child's problem because they failed to check on him from time to time.

She also said the baby boy had traces of milk in his trachea at the time of his death, indicating he may have choked on it.

The High Court disagreed, citing the coroner's findings from the autopsy that choking was not a factor in the boy's death.

(By Liu Shih-yi and Ko Lin)
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