In a legal victory that put IKEA — and the entire U.S.
furniture industry — on notice that they should do absolutely everything they
can to notify their customers when they recall dangerous furniture, Feldman
Shepherd achieved a $46 million settlement for the family of a 2-year-old boy
who was fatally injured by the tip-over of an IKEA MALM three-drawer dresser
that, unbeknownst to the boy’s parents, had been recalled.
The settlement, believed to be the largest child wrongful
death recovery in American history, raises the total amount that Feldman
Shepherd has recovered for victims of IKEA dresser tip-overs to almost $100
On May 24, 2017, Jozef Dudek was put in bed for a nap by his
father in their home in Buena Park, California. When Jozef’s father returned to
his son’s bedroom to check on him, he found Jozef under the dresser. Jozef died
later that day from crush injuries to his neck that caused him to suffocate.
Despite being “IKEA Family” members and having purchased the
dresser in 2008 with an IKEA credit card, Jozef’s parents never received notice
that IKEA recalled all dressers in its MALM line in 2016 after three children
died in tip-over incidents. At the time of the settlement, there were five
known deaths associated with MALM dressers that tipped over onto children.
The settlement followed a mediation before Rodney Max, a
nationally recognized mediator for complex civil cases. It includes provisions
requiring IKEA to broaden its outreach to consumers about the recall and to
meet with Parents Against Tip-Overs, an advocacy organization fighting for
mandatory stability standards for dressers.
In addition, Jozef’s parents committed to donating $1
million from the settlement to consumer organizations that have been advocating
for more rigorous stability testing for dressers. The three organizations are
Kids in Danger, Consumer Reports, and the Consumer Federation of America.
The litigation was led by Feldman Shepherd product liability
attorneys Alan M. Feldman, Daniel J. Mann and Edward S. Goldis, who also
represented the families of Curren Collas of West Chester, Pennsylvania, Camden
Ellis of Snohomish, Washington, and Ted McGee of Apple Valley, Minnesota, all
of whom perished from MALM dresser tip-overs. As part of a $50 million
settlement of these three cases in 2016, IKEA agreed to redesign its dressers
to comply with the national voluntary standard for tip-over safety and
stability. Nevertheless, millions of the unsafe older model dressers remain in
the homes of consumers around the country.
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