In early January 2020, Swedish furniture manufacturer Ikea agreed to pay $46 million to the Dudek family, whose 2-year-old son passed away when a dresser tipped over onto him. The payout is the largest wrongful death settlement related to a single child in United States’ history. The California toddler, Jozef Dudek, was put down for a nap in May 2017 by his father. When he returned to check on his child, the father found his son’s head between the middle and top drawer of the MALM dresser. The cause of death was officially declared as asphyxiation, commonly referred to as, suffocation.
The problem began in 2014 when two children reportedly died from the dresser tipping onto them after attempting to climb the drawers. Dozens of other accidents that resulted strictly in injuries were also reported. Ikea warned owners of the dresser about the issue and recommended they use their free wall-anchor kits in order to secure the dresser to the wall. Additional reports of child deaths led Ikea to recall 17 million dressers in June 2016. However, the Dudek family bought their MALM dresser in 2008, and were completely unaware of the recall. The Dudek’s filed their 2018 wrongful death lawsuit in a Philadelphia court, since Pennsylvania is the location of Ikea’s North American Headquarters. The parents accused the company of failing to warn consumers about the dangers of the dresser, despite knowing the risks.
Many consumer safety groups criticized Ikea for promoting the wall mounts instead of encouraging owners to return the product. Back when Ikea released the dresser line, the company failed to participate in a voluntary tip-over test, which most United States furniture manufacturers typically partake in. Now, there are eight reports of children dying from the product. Despite the recall, millions of these dressers are still being used by families. Therefore, the Dudek Family is donating $1 million of their settlement to organizations that advocate to protect kids from unsafe products and prevent this tragedy from happening to other families.
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a similar manner, please contact Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C. today by calling 1-800-LAW-2000 or filling out a private online form. We will review your case confidentially and for free. Our product liability attorneys have experience in suing manufacturers of dangerous and defective products for over 40 years.