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IKEA Settles Fatal Furniture Tip-Over Cases for $50 Million

Ikea agreed to settle three wrongful death claims for $50 million, in which three toddlers were killed by IKEA furniture tip-overs.  The Swedish company finally recalled 29 million unsafe chests and dressers June 28, 2016.

The firm of Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Dodig LLP in Philadelphia represents the families of three toddlers.

  • Curren Collas, age 2, was crushed to death by the tip-over of a six-drawer MALM dresser in the bedroom of his home in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
  • Camden Ellis was the victim of the tip-over of a three-drawer  MALM dresser in the bedroom of his home in Snohomish, Washington.  Despite intensive efforts to save him, life support was discontinued on June 15, 2014, a few days after Camden's second birthday.
  • Ted McGee was asphyxiated when a six-drawer MALM dresser toppled over on him in his bedroom in Apple Valley, Minnesota.  Like the other boys, Ted was just 2 years of age.

The families of Curren, Camden and Ted retained attorney Alan M. Feldman of the Feldman Shepherd firm. Together with his partners Daniel J. Mann and Edward S. Goldis, lawsuits were commenced against IKEA - the manufacturer of the MALM dressers - asserting that the unsafe design of the dressers rendered them inherently unstable and easily tipped over.  The lawsuits further contended that IKEA had consistently refused to meet voluntary national safety standards for

IKEA was aware of other deaths

The lawsuits further contended that IKEA had consistently refused to meet voluntary national safety standards for stability of chests and dressers, which other American furniture companies had embraced.  The evidence developed in the cases showed that IKEA was aware of other deaths and injuries arising from furniture tip-overs that failed to meet minimum safety standards, but nevertheless refused to re-design its furniture products to be more stable and tip-resistant.

It was not until after the death of Ted McGee that IKEA finally agreed to stop the sale of its defective furniture and recall the MALM and other models of chests and dressers which failed to meet minimum standards for safety and stability.

Following a two-day mediation before retired Federal Magistrate Judge Diane Welsh of JAMS, a nationally recognized mediator for complex civil cases, the parties announced an agreement today to settle all three wrongful death claims for $50 million, to be evenly divided among the three families.  In addition, as part of the settlement IKEA has further agreed as follows:

  • IKEA will donate $50,000 to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in memory of Curren Collas, $50,000 to a children's hospital in Washington State in memory of Camden Ellis, and $50,000 to a children's hospital in Minnesota in memory of Ted McGee.
  • IKEA will donate $100,000 to Shane's Foundation NFP, an organization devoted to children's safety with a focus on furniture tip-over prevention and education.
  • IKEA agrees to only sell chests and dressers in the United States that meet or exceed the performance requirements of ASTM F2057-14, the national voluntary safety standard for clothing storage units.
  • IKEA will increase funding for its "Secure It" program to raise awareness of the risk of tip-overs, to include national television advertisements, internet and digital communications and in-store warnings.

Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock & Dodig LLP has recovered some of the largest verdicts and settlements in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and several other states across the country. The firm represents plaintiffs in significant personal injury and complex civil litigation including civil rights, medical malpractice, birth injury, motor vehicle accidents, defective products, unsafe workplaces, and insurer misconduct claims.

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