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Old 7th January 2020, 09:04 AM   #1
JoeMorgue
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IKEA to pay 46 million to family of toddler killed by falling dresser.

Swedish furniture and home goods giant IKEA is paying 46 million dollars to the family of Jozef Dudek, who was killed in 2017 when a Ikea Malm Dresser toppled over on the two year old, killing him. The amount represents the largest payout for the wrongful death of a single child in US History.

Dudek was the 8th child death, in addition to 300 reported injuries, attributed to tip overs of the Malm Dresser. Ikea has previously paid out 50 million in the deaths of 3 other children.

Ikea has recalled some 17.3 million of the dressers, and offered free anchoring kits to attach the units to the walls to prevent tip-over.

According to the United States Product Safety Commission between 2000 and 2018, 459 children where killed by tip overs of furniture, appliances, or televisions.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/07/busin...ent/index.html
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Old 7th January 2020, 09:22 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Swedish furniture and home goods giant IKEA is paying 46 million dollars to the family of Jozef Dudek, who was killed in 2017 when a Ikea Malm Dresser toppled over on the two year old, killing him. The amount represents the largest payout for the wrongful death of a single child in US History.

Dudek was the 8th child death, in addition to 300 reported injuries, attributed to tip overs of the Malm Dresser. Ikea has previously paid out 50 million in the deaths of 3 other children.

Ikea has recalled some 17.3 million of the dressers, and offered free anchoring kits to attach the units to the walls to prevent tip-over.

According to the United States Product Safety Commission between 2000 and 2018, 459 children where killed by tip overs of furniture, appliances, or televisions.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/07/busin...ent/index.html
So, how much was paid out in the other 450 deaths?
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Old 7th January 2020, 09:29 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
So, how much was paid out in the other 450 deaths?
I was actually Googling around trying to find previous cases for some context when I posted the OP, but finding anything that isn't just a throwaway line in an article about Ikea is proving difficult.

I can find solid reference to a lawsuit in 2017 where Walmart was sued when a "Summer Breeze" line of dresser pinned a two year old against the wall, suffocating her but no reference to how to the case was settled.

Beyond that not much solid I can point to.
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Old 7th January 2020, 09:31 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
So, how much was paid out in the other 450 deaths?
By Ikea? Does Ikea even sell appliances?
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Old 7th January 2020, 09:34 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
By Ikea? Does Ikea even sell appliances?
They do now. Here in the tSates at least they in the last few years they have started a partnership with Whirlpool and Maytag, major and established appliance manufacturers, for a line of Ikea branded kitchen and laundry appliances.
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Old 7th January 2020, 09:35 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
So, how much was paid out in the other 450 deaths?
Life, and death, isn't fair. Plus even in those of the 450 that became civil suits I presume some evidence had to be presented, and accepted by the jury or judge, that the manufacturer knew of the possibility of tipping and did not provide warnings or wall attachments. Additional evidence that the particular product was more likely to tip than average would have strengthened the suit and increased the payout.

But as we all know two different juries may well product two different verdicts.
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Old 7th January 2020, 09:36 AM   #7
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Practically every piece of flat pack Iíve ever built came with wall anchors and an admonition in the instructions to use them for safetyís sake. Sometimes with a little tipping-over-on-toddler illustration to make the point (like the ones for not letting babies fall over into buckets). Are these cases not bothering to do that or is that/the hardware itself being deemed insufficient?
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Old 7th January 2020, 09:37 AM   #8
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I am pretty sure that every piece of furniture I’ve ever had that stands more than a few feet off the ground has come with anchoring straps and instructions for using them.

If IKEA wasn’t doing this I totally understand the judgement
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Old 7th January 2020, 09:43 AM   #9
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I believe (still trying to find a hard and fast site that says "The dresser was definitely anchored or not anchored in this particular case") Ikea started issuing free wall anchors, both with purchase and upon request in 2016 after the first death reported so they should have been available. However again this is some level of conjecture as I cannot find a definite answer as to whether or not this particular dresser was anchored in any of the articles I can find.
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Old 7th January 2020, 10:01 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Ikea has recalled some 17.3 million of the dressers, and offered free anchoring kits to attach the units to the walls to prevent tip-over.
That's the bit that I don't understand. I have several Malm chests of drawers, and every single one has come with an anchoring kit to prevent tip-over and a strongly worded warning that they must be used because the chest can tip forwards without them being used. I feel for the families, but chests of drawers are fundamentally at risk of falliong forwards, and at least IKEA warn about it.

Dave

ETA: And I think they go back a lot earlier than 2016. I've never bought any set of drawers or shelves from IKEA that didn't have a wall fixing kit, and I've bought a lot over many years.
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Old 7th January 2020, 10:07 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Lithrael View Post
Practically every piece of flat pack Iíve ever built came with wall anchors and an admonition in the instructions to use them for safetyís sake. Sometimes with a little tipping-over-on-toddler illustration to make the point (like the ones for not letting babies fall over into buckets). Are these cases not bothering to do that or is that/the hardware itself being deemed insufficient?
Originally Posted by autumn1971 View Post
I am pretty sure that every piece of furniture Iíve ever had that stands more than a few feet off the ground has come with anchoring straps and instructions for using them.

If IKEA wasnít doing this I totally understand the judgement
Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I believe (still trying to find a hard and fast site that says "The dresser was definitely anchored or not anchored in this particular case") Ikea started issuing free wall anchors, both with purchase and upon request in 2016 after the first death reported so they should have been available. However again this is some level of conjecture as I cannot find a definite answer as to whether or not this particular dresser was anchored in any of the articles I can find.
Every applicable Ikea piece I've ever bought, and pretty much every applicable non-Ikea piece, have come with a wall anchor and a page in the assembly instructions with steps for installing it.

The only reason I can think of for Ikea giving out free anchoring kits is to help customers who were too stupid to install the one that came in the box, and then threw it away, and then decided they needed one after all.
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Old 7th January 2020, 10:08 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
And I think they go back a lot earlier than 2016. I've never bought any set of drawers or shelves from IKEA that didn't have a wall fixing kit, and I've bought a lot over many years.
The impression I get is that the dressers have always came with the anchoring kit but a lot of consumers treated them as option. 2016 is when Ikea started to send notices / advertise to users that the anchors were necessary and offering free replacements (since I'd wager a lot of them got thrown out) and assistance in installing.
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Old 7th January 2020, 10:18 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
The impression I get is that the dressers have always came with the anchoring kit but a lot of consumers treated them as option. 2016 is when Ikea started to send notices / advertise to users that the anchors were necessary and offering free replacements (since I'd wager a lot of them got thrown out) and assistance in installing.
Again, I'm fairly certain that I've installed Malm units earlier than that, and the instructions were always perfectly clear that the unit isn't safe unless it has the anchoring kit properly attached to the wall. I'm not the world's best at reading instructions and I've always been aware of that, so it seems to have been pretty clear on that point.

Dave
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Old 7th January 2020, 02:59 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
That's the bit that I don't understand. I have several Malm chests of drawers, and every single one has come with an anchoring kit to prevent tip-over and a strongly worded warning that they must be used because the chest can tip forwards without them being used. I feel for the families, but chests of drawers are fundamentally at risk of falliong forwards, and at least IKEA warn about it.

Dave

ETA: And I think they go back a lot earlier than 2016. I've never bought any set of drawers or shelves from IKEA that didn't have a wall fixing kit, and I've bought a lot over many years.
I can confirm that IKEA stuff I purchased in 2007 all came with wall brackets, and the instructions showed a picture of the furniture falling on a small child.
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Old 7th January 2020, 05:03 PM   #15
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AIUI accidents happen because kids like to climb up furniture.
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Old 7th January 2020, 06:28 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
AIUI accidents happen because kids like to climb up furniture.
This is often the case, but not always. Some things tip over without much effort. Kitchen ranges are nowadays provided with anchors because it doesn't take a whole lot to tip one over, if the oven door is open and a large object is pulled out. Drop a turkey on the open door, and you may get a nasty surprise. If there's a pot of boiling liquid on the cooktop, you'll get more than just a surprise. It doesn't have to fall all the way down to do harm.

I have a horizontal file cabinet that almost tips just when the top drawer is pulled out. No kids needed. Forget to put one drawer in all the way before pulling out the other, and you'd better be ready to push it back upright. Anything with drawers (such as, oddly enough, a dresser) can be very unstable if drawers are pulled out.

Undoubtedly many such accidents do occur when a kid climbs, but some may also occur when someone short is just trying to get into an upper drawer, or when weight is not well distributed.
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Old 7th January 2020, 06:53 PM   #17
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What I've always wondered about is what you're supposed to do if you have a landlord/manager/super that demands written permission to attach anything to the wall, even a nail to hang a photo. If they don't give permission, what are you supposed to do?

It may not be common in other areas, but around here it certainly is, and I've been charged for nails that the previous manager had left in place from the tenant before me, because he didn't document them on my move-in form.
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Old 7th January 2020, 07:16 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
I can confirm that IKEA stuff I purchased in 2007 all came with wall brackets, and the instructions showed a picture of the furniture falling on a small child.


Even low-rise stuff? I am pretty confident that whenever I've bought flat-pack items such as three-drawer chests or bedside tables, there's never been an anchoring strap/bracket provided, nor has there been any instruction to use one. By contrast, every medium or tall bookcase I've ever bought in flat pack has most definitely included a strap or bracket together with a warning that they must be used to anchor the item to the wall.

And in this Ikea case, without having read the details of the judgement, I would find it extremely difficult to believe that this was a situation where 1) Ikea had included a wall-attachment strap or bracket, together with a warning that it must be used, and 2) the family in question had for some reason neglected to use this supplied strap/bracket. If that had been the case, I'd think that Ikea would have adequately indemnified itself (unless the strap or bracket and its attachment method was not fit for purpose).

So (again, without having read the details), I'd tend to believe that this particular piece of furniture did not come with any such attachment strap/bracket (and, of course, therefore also without any instruction to use such a strap/bracket). And furthermore, I'd tend to believe that there was evidence that Ikea knew about the possibility of this particular product tipping over easily, yet failed to act on that knowledge either pre-sale or post-sale.
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Old 7th January 2020, 11:44 PM   #19
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According to what I've read, the dresser in question was bought before Ikea started supplying them with brackets. The child was killed in 2017, a year or so after the dresser was recalled, but Ikea had apparently not made the family aware of the recall or the brackets, which they provided free, but which it seems one had to procure. It's not that tall a dresser, only three drawers high, which rather surprised me. And it's not the only such tipover or death.

It's interesting, because I've been dealing with dressers of all sorts for years, and never ran across one that seemed unstable, so I wonder if I was just lucky the kids didn't climb them, or if they were more sensibly designed. It used to be common enough that dresser drawers were smaller on the top, either thinner or shorter or both. The Ikea in question has three large drawers, all equal in size, which seems like a bad design to start with.
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Old 8th January 2020, 02:05 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
Even low-rise stuff? I am pretty confident that whenever I've bought flat-pack items such as three-drawer chests or bedside tables, there's never been an anchoring strap/bracket provided, nor has there been any instruction to use one.
Not absolutely sure about three-drawer Malms, but certainly there's always been an anchor provided with half-height Billy bookcase units. They're about a metre high.

Dave
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Old 8th January 2020, 09:24 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
I can confirm that IKEA stuff I purchased in 2007 all came with wall brackets, and the instructions showed a picture of the furniture falling on a small child.
The barstools they designed them to kill kids and even gave you instructions!
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Old 9th January 2020, 01:45 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
The barstools they designed them to kill kids and even gave you instructions!
No instructions required...

A kid pushed past his parents at my front door, into my lounge room in Woomera, ran up to one of the speakers on a stand, grabbed the speaker, leaned backwards and pulled the speaker and stand down onto himself.

Elapsed time, approximately two seconds, from entry to unconsciousness.

Scared the crap out of me that day, and has bothered me ever since.
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Old 12th January 2020, 04:25 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by deadrose View Post
What I've always wondered about is what you're supposed to do if you have a landlord/manager/super that demands written permission to attach anything to the wall, even a nail to hang a photo. If they don't give permission, what are you supposed to do?

It may not be common in other areas, but around here it certainly is, and I've been charged for nails that the previous manager had left in place from the tenant before me, because he didn't document them on my move-in form.
You send them a recorded communication informing them of their liability in the event of death of injury eventuating from their obstruction of common best practices.
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Old 17th January 2020, 09:45 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
You send them a recorded communication informing them of their liability in the event of death of injury eventuating from their obstruction of common best practices.
Wouldn't hold water, if it is up to the tenant to furnish the rented property they need to do so as per the lease conditions , if they chose to use unsafe products the liability for that decision is on them.

If the property was furnished and the landlord hadn't used the correct safety fixtures and fittings then they would have at least some liability.
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