Parents of Child Killed Under Ikea Dresser Settle for $46M

PHILADELPHIA (CN) — Ikea has reached a $46 million settlement with the parents of a 2-year-old boy who was suffocated under the weight of a recalled, 70-pound dresser.

Joleen and Craig Dudek of Buena Park, California, filed the suit in 2018, a year after a three-drawer Malm chest they had bought from Ikea fell on top of their son, Jozef, while he was sleeping. CPR and other life-saving measures were unsuccessful, and the Dudeks sued the Swedish furniture giant in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas; Ikea has its U.S. headquarters nearby in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.

Joleen and Craig Dudek, top right, comfort each other as they join a news conference in Philadelphia via video Monday. IKEA has agreed to pay $46 million to the couple whose 2-year-old boy died after a 70-pound recalled dresser tipped over onto him. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Represented by attorneys at Feldman Shepherd, the Dudeks alleged that Ikea failed inform customers that its Malm dresser needed to be anchored to a wall before use, despite having received reports of 186 tip-over incidents involving the Malm line where up to 91 children suffered injuries. Ikea even instituted a recall of the the dresser because of its top-heavy or front heavy nature in 2016.

The settlement dictates that Ikea must meet with Parents Against Tip-overs, an advocacy organization, and increase its outreach efforts to customers who buy recalled Ikea dressers.

“We hope the preventable tragedy suffered by Jozef Dudek and his family motivates Ikea to make a much greater effort to have these dangerous products removed from childrens’ bedrooms,” attorney Alan Feldman said in a statement Monday.

The Dudeks plan to donate $1 million of the settlement money to similar organizations, the consumer advocacy groups Kids in Danger, Consumer Reports and Consumer Federation of America.

“We miss him so much,” Jozef’s mother, Joleen said Monday in an interview reported by USA Today. “He would be turning 5 this year in April. We never thought that a 2-year-old could cause a short 30-inch dresser to tip over and suffocate him. It was only later that we learned that this dresser was designed unstable and did not meet safety standards and that this had happened to other little boys.”

A representative for Ikea offered the company’s deepest condolences.

“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,” the spokesman said in an email Tuesday. “We remain committed to working proactively and collaboratively to address this very important home safety issue.”

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