Late in 2016, attorneys secured a $50 million settlement against the home furnishing giant. This was on behalf of the families of three toddlers killed by unsafe dressers sold by Ikea.
On December 22, following two days of mediation overseen by retired Federal Magistrate Judge Diane Welsh, the parties announced that they had reached an agreement that would see the Swedish furniture retailer pay a total of $50 million to settle claims brought against it by the families of three children who were killed when their Malm dressers fell on top of them.
Plaintiffs included the families of Curren Collas from West Chester, Pennsylvania, Camden Ellis of Snohomish, Wisconsin and Ted McGee of Apple Valley, Minnesota; all of whom were toddlers when they fell victim to tip-over incidents involving Malm dressers.
The plaintiffs are represented by prominent personal injury firm Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Dodig LLP. They will split the award evenly between them.
In addition to the $50 million settlement, Ikea also agreed to donate $50,000 to a children’s hospital in each plaintiff’s home state; as well as a one-time donation of $100,000 to Shane’s Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to preventing furniture tip-over accidents.
Ikea also agreed to increase funding for an awareness program highlighting the risks of furniture tip-over incidents. It agreed that it would only sell chests and dressers that meet the optional ASTM F2057-14 standard for safety in clothing storage units.
The settlement may be the largest ever of its type.
In July of 2015, after several deaths associated with Ikea furniture tip-over events had been reported; the company initiated a large-scale program alongside the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission offering free wall anchor kits to secure the dressers and prevent additional tip-over incidents.
According to Ikea, customers had been sent over 300,000 anchoring kits by April 2016. However, the program failed to prevent more deaths associated with the dressers, as many consumers (such as the parents of Ted McGee, who were a party to the December settlement) were still unaware of the danger.
Despite efforts to distribute anchoring kits, Ikea initiated a massive recall of more than 29 million dressers in June of 2016. One-fourth of these dressers were from the company’s popular Malm line. These were the dressers at issue in the December settlement.
However, some incidents continue to be reported since the recall was initiated. As recently as last November, another child was killed. An unsecured 3-drawer Malm tipped over on a 2-year-old boy from Woodbridge, Virginia.