Joleen and Craig Dudek, the parents of a 2-year-old boy who was killed when an Ikea dresser crushed him, have settled a lawsuit with the furniture store for $46 million.
Ikea recalled 17.3 million dressers in 2016, including the 3-drawer Malm that tipped over 2-year-old Jozef in 2017. He was the first child who died after the recall was announced. The Dudek’s said they didn’t know about the recall and blamed Ikea for not notifying them directly.
“While the Dudek’s and other consumers didn’t know that the Malm dresser line was unstable and unsafe for use in the home with small children, Ikea knew,” said Alan Feldman, of Philadelphia’s Feldman Shepherd law firm, which represents the family. “Ikea knew that not only the Malm dresser line, but more than one hundred of its other dresser lines, were prone to easily tip over.”
The lawsuit argues that Ikea knew that the dressers “presented an unreasonable tip-over hazard and were dangerously unsafe” but continued to sell them anyway. The recalled dressers, which were taken off the market and remodeled, didn’t meet the industry’s safety standard for stability. The standard is set to make sure that a dresser will remain upright when pulled on by a child, even if the dresser is not tethered to a wall.
“We miss him so much,” Joleen Dudek, Jozef’s mother, said Monday. “He would be turning 5 this year in April. We never thought that a two 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 met safety standards and that this had happened to other little boys.”
As part of the settlement agreement, Ikea Prfor their U.S. division, President Javier Quiñones, has agreed to meet with the members of Parents Against Tip-Overs, an advocacy group made up of parents who have lost their children to the danger.
“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,” Ikea said in a statement. “We remain committed to working proactively and collaboratively to address this very important home safety issue. Again, we offer our deepest condolences.”