Ikea will pay $46 million to the parents of a 2-year-old child crushed to death by a Malm dresser, a piece of furniture associated with several child deaths from accidental tip-overs, according to a mediated court settlement announced Monday.
About 17.3 million chests and drawers were recalled. Consumers were given the option of a refund or a kit to anchor the furniture to a wall.
But the Dudeks never knew about the recall, and Ikea never contacted them about it, the family’s attorneys said Monday. Product recalls are known to be ineffective. And Ikea took the unusual step of re-announcing the same recall after Jozef’s death as the number of fatalities continued to climb.
Craig and Joleen Dudek sued Ikea, claiming the company knew about the problem for years but failed to fix it.
The $46 million settlement is believed to be the largest for the wrongful death of a child, the Dudeks’ attorneys said.
It comes after Ikea agreed in 2016 to pay $50 million to settle three similar lawsuits stemming from the deaths of children killed by the retailer’s Malm furniture.
The Dudeks said at a news conference Monday that they planned to donate $1 million to advocacy groups such as Kids in Danger and the Consumer Federation of America that have been warning about the dangers of furniture tip-overs. The family’s attorneys also said a top Ikea executive has agreed to meet with an advocacy group formed by parents whose children were killed by fallen furniture.
“While no settlement can alter the tragic events that brought us here, for the sake of the family and all involved, we’re grateful that this litigation has reached a resolution,” Ikea said in a statement. “We remain committed to working proactively and collaboratively to address this very important home safety issue.”
Ikea is not the only company faced with the problem of tip-overs. A CPSC report in November said 556 deaths were associated with tip-over incidents from 2000 to 2018, mostly children struck by furniture.