Eighteen months after Ikea paid $50 million to settle three wrongful death lawsuits involving its dressers tipping onto toddlers, the popular furniture manufacturer is facing yet another lawsuit involving the same issue.
Joleen and Craig Dudek of Buena Park, California, are suing Ikea U.S. Retail LLC in Pennsylvania state court in Philadelphia County, alleging they were not adequately warned by the company that its Malm dressers could tip over. On May 24, 2017, Craig Dudek says he found his 2-year-old son pinned between the drawers of a Malm dresser that had fallen on top of him. Craig started CPR, which rescue responders continued after they arrived. The boy was taken to West Anaheim medical center and pronounced dead later that day. The cause of death was listed as asphyxia.
In June 2016, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled the entire line of Ikea’s Malm dressers, amounting to millions of dressers. But the Dudeks said that there was only “tepid” publicity surrounding the recall, and that they didn’t even get word of the issue despite being members of the company’s loyalty program, “Ikea Family.” In November, CPSC announced the recall for a second time.
The Dudeks claimed that Lars Peterson, president of Ikea USA, was aware that the chests and drawers were tempting jungle gyms for children, and if children climbed the dressers, the dressers were very likely to tip over. The Dudeks also said that the company allegedly never designed the dressers and chests of drawers to be free standing, yet they were marketed that way despite the risk of serious injury or death.
An Ikea spokesperson said, “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.” She added that the company has either provided service or given refunds for more than a million dressers.
The Dudeks’ attorney previously filed two lawsuits on behalf of families whose toddlers were killed prior to the 2016 recall. Those and a third case that occurred after the recall were jointly settled for $50 million in December 2016.