The settlement comes just two-years after a previous $72 million settlement paid to the families of three children killed by the same drawers.
Swedish furniture giant Ikea is being forced to pay the family of a child killed by one of its drawers USD $46 million (AUD $66 million) after a settlement in a California court.
Two-year-old Jozef Dudek was killed in May of 2017 by a set of Ikea’s Malm drawers that fell over in the family’s home. The drawers, which weigh 32-kilograms in total were recalled by Ikea in 2016 due to safety concerns after three other children were reportedly killed by a similar accident involving the Malm drawers.
Lawyers working on behalf of the family have said that this is the largest wrongful death of a child settlement ever reached.
“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,” a spokesperson from Ikea said. “We remain committed to working to address this very important home safety issue,” she continued to explain.
The BBC is reporting that “in 2016, Ikea recalled millions of Malm chests of drawers in North America over safety concerns. It was the largest recall in the company’s history. Initially, the company warned customers to use wall mounts with them, but the death of a third child prompted the action,” the report concludes.
Two two-year-olds, Camden Ellis and Curren Collas, as well as a 23-month-old Ted McGee were also crushed by the drawers, and in late 2016, Ikea had agreed to pay USD $50 million (AUD $72 million) in a settlement reached with the three families.
In the terms of the settlement, Ikea said it would only sell drawers in the United States that met or exceeded the national voluntary safety standard for clothing storage units. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission soon launched an education campaign of the risk to children that chests of drawers and wardrobes potentially posed in the aftermath of the deaths.
Ikea relaunched a recall of the drawers in 2017 in the United States and Canada, stating that the Malm range and other chests and dressers manufactured by the company posed a “serious tip-over and entrapment hazard,” if they weren’t properly fixed to a wall.
A statement issued by the parents of the child killed, Joleen and Craig Dudek said that they were “devastated” over the loss of their child, adding that “we never thought a two-year-old could cause a dresser just 30 inches (76cm) high to topple over and suffocate him… it was only later that we learned that [it] was unstable by design.”
“We are telling our story because we do not want this to happen to another family,” the parents said, urging anyone who has purchased the set of drawers to return them immediately. Joleen and Craig Dudek also stated that they would be donating $1-million of the funds reached in the settlement to organisations dedicated to protecting children from potentially hazardous products.