IKEA is facing yet another lawsuit over the death of a toddler underneath a tipped over Malm dresser after settling 3 earlier suits for $50 million. The two year old boy died underneath the dresser in May 2017. The parents filed suit in Pennsylvania state court in Philadelphia County.
The propensity of the entire Malm dressers’ ability to tip-over became clear in June 2016, when the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled millions of Malms and when officials vividly demonstrated the tip-over on a dummy during a press conference.
According to president of IKEA USA, Lars Petersson, IKEA was aware that the risk of tip-over was very high for children, as the chests and drawers are a “very tempting playground for children because they are using the drawers as a ladder.” Petersson also pointed out that the Malm dresser was “never designed to be free-standing and could not be used safely unless the dresser was secured to a wall.” Yet, IKEA still marketed the Malm dressers as free-standing pieces “despite actual knowledge that the dressers presented a risk of serious injury or death when used in this manner.”
Recently, an IKEA spokeswoman said that “since 2016, we have done extensive outreach to consumers to communicate the recall, including television ads, social, digital, and print advertising, and emails to more than 13 million consumers.” IKEA has either “provided service” or given refunds for over a million of the dressers, the spokeswoman said. She further said, “tip-over is a big issue, not just for IKEA, but for the whole industry. On average, a child dies every 10 days and a child is injured about every 30 minutes in the U.S. from a TV or furniture tip-over incident…”
The parents claim that IKEA knew that the Malm dresser would not meet industry tip-over standards. IKEA allegedly knew of safer designs that would not be substantially more expensive, but ignored them. IKEA failed to warn consumers about the risks it did know of, according to the parents here. They also contend that there were at least 186 tip-overs of the Malm dressers that IKEA knew of, and 91 of those caused serious injuries.
Two other suits were filed on behalf of the families whose toddlers were killed prior to the 2016 recall. Those, in addition to a third case following the recall, jointly settled for $50 million, the attorney for all three cases said. The case includes counts for strict liability, negligence, recklessness, and requests for punitive damages.
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