CALIFORNIA– Swedish furniture maker Ikea will pay $46 million to the family of a California toddler who died after being crushed by one of its dressers.
Jozef Dudek was two years old when he died in May 2017 after an Ikea Malm dresser toppled onto his neck, resulting in injuries that caused him to suffocate, according to the family’s lawyers.
Feldman Shepherd, the legal firm that represents the Dudek family, said in a statement that the payout is the largest wrongful death settlement related to a child in US history.
A spokesperson for Ikea confirmed the $46 million settlement. The company apologized in a statement.
“While no settlement can alter the tragic events that brought us here, for the sake of the family and all involved, we’re grateful that this litigation has reached a resolution,” an Ikea spokesperson said.
“Product safety is a top priority for Ikea and at the core of the design process every day. Again, we offer our deepest condolences to the family,” the spokesperson added.
In 2016, Ikea paid $50 million to the families of three other children who had been killed by Malm dressers and agreed to redesign the product to higher safety standards.
“Nevertheless, millions of the unsafe older model dressers remain in the homes of consumers around the country,” said Feldman Shepherd, which represented the families in these earlier cases.
There have been eight reports of child deaths involving Ikea chests and dressers, according to the company’s US website.
Since 2016, it has recalled 17.3 million units in the United States and received nearly 300 reports of incidents causing 144 injuries to children.
A lawsuit filed by the Dudek family in June 2018 alleges that Ikea knew of the deaths associated with the dressers but “failed to take adequate measures” to improve their safety and stability.
As part of the settlement, Ikea has agreed to broaden its outreach to consumers about the Malm product recall, according to the family’s lawyers.
The lawyers said the furniture maker will also meet with representatives of Parents Against Tip-Overs, an advocacy group lobbying for safer furniture designs and more stringent testing standards.