The IKEA group, a furniture manufacturer and retailer, has agreed to pay $50 million to the families of three children who were killed when their Ikea dressers tipped over and crushed them. The settlement will be divided evenly among the families of Curren Collas of West Chester, Penn.; Camden Ellis of Snohomish, Wash.; and Ted McGee of Apple Valley, Minn.
After the death of Ted McGee, the third child killed by a Malm dresser, IKEA announced in June that it would recall at least 29 million dressers. At the time, the furniture retailer also announced it would stop selling its popular “Malm” series of products. Prior to the recall, IKEA had launched a sweeping public relations campaign, urging customers who have unsecured IKEA dressers to request a free kit from the company to secure them.
However, despite the millions of dressers in the United States, IKEA reported it had distributed just 300,000 kits to customers. “It is clear that there are still unsecured products in customers’ homes,” the company had said in a statement to NBC News in June. The statement added: “We believe that taking further action is the right thing to do.”
In addition to the $50 million settlement, IKEA has also agreed to donate $50,000 to a children’s hospital in each of the boys’ home states and $100,000 to Shane’s Foundation NFP, an organization devoted to children’s safety with a focus on furniture tip-over prevention, the company said. Further, the company has agreed to only sell chests and dressers in the U.S. that meet or exceed heightened performance requirements and increase funding for its “Secure It” program to raise awareness of the risk of tip-overs.
Unsecured furniture can be a silent and dangerous hazard in homes, particularly with young children who like to climb. One child dies every two weeks from furniture tipping over in the home, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. There are there injuries reported every hour – adding up to 25,400 per year. The manufacturer of furniture – and in this case dressers – has to stay up to date on what is happening in the real world and take the steps necessary to protect consumers and, especially as in this case, children.
The Plaintiffs are represented by Alan M. Feldman, Daniel J. Mann and Edward S. Goldis of Feldman Shepherd LLP. Ikea is represented by White & Williams LLP. The cases are McGee at al. v. The Ikea Group et al.; and Collas v. The Ikea Group et al., in the Court of Common Pleas of the State of Pennsylvania, County of Philadelphia.
Sources: NBC News and Law360.com
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