Ikea will pay $50 million to the families of three children who were killed by dressers that tipped over.
The Philadelphia-based firm Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Dodig LLP announced Wednesday it had settled wrongful death lawsuits filed against Ikea for $50 million.
The firm represents the families of Curren Collas of West Chester, Pennsylvania, Camden Ellis of Snohomish, Washington, and Ted McGee of Apple Valley, Minnesota.
Collas, 2, died in his West Chester home in February 2014, when Ikea’s MALM six-drawer dresser tipped over and fell on top of him, fatally pinning him against his bed.
About four months after Collas’ death, a three-drawer MALM dresser tipped over and fell on top of Ellis inside his Washington State home. Ellis was placed on life support, which was discontinued on June 15, 2014, only a few days after his second birthday.
McGee, 2, died after a six-drawer MALM dresser fell on top of him inside his bedroom in Minnesota.
A lawsuit from the families filed against Ikea stated the unsafe design of the MALM dressers made them inherently unstable and easy to tip over. The lawsuit accused Ikea of refusing to meet voluntary national safety standards for stability of chests and dressers. The lawsuit also accused the company of being aware of other deaths and injuries caused by their furniture that tipped over yet still refusing to redesign its products.
“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,” a spokesperson for Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Dodig LLP wrote.
Ikea issued a recall on the MALM dresser on June 28, impacting 29 million furniture units.
The $50 million will be divided up evenly among the three families. As part of the settlement, Ikea agreed to donate $50,000 to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Collas’ memory, $50,000 to a children’s hospital in Washington State in Ellis’ memory and $50,000 to a children’s hospital in Minnesota in McGee’s memory.
Ikea will also donate $100,000 to Shane’s Foundation NFP, a children’s safety organization, and will only sell chests and dressers in the United States that meet or exceed the requirements of the national safety standard for clothing storage units. Finally, as part of the settlement, Ikea will increase funding for its “Secure It” program which raises awareness on the risk of furniture tip-overs.
Curren Collas’ mother Jackie Collas sent a statement to NBC10 about the settlement.
“I am so proud that we were able to negotiate such great terms,” she wrote. “To know that my little boy was able to help save so many children makes my heart happy.”
NBC10 reached out to Ikea for comment. We have not yet heard back.