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$46M Settlement in Wrongful Death Furniture Tip-Over Case

The retail giant Ikea has reached a $46 million settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit involving a 2-year-old California boy.  The toddler was killed when a dresser purchased from the store tipped over and suffocated him.  This is reportedly the largest wrongful death settlement obtained on behalf of a child in U.S. history.

The product liability lawsuit asserted that the child suffered fatal injuries when the dresser tipped over, and that the dresser’s design was contrary to safety standards and had an unstable design.  Further, other children had been injured by these dressers, including at least nine deaths and numerous injuries.  The incidents occur when a drawer is pulled out, making the dresser Often the incidents happen when a child pulls on the drawers of a unit, making it unstable, and then it subsequently topples over. 

Furniture tip-overs are one of the more serious household dangers, with thousands of children being injured each year in “tip-over” accidents, whether a dresser, television or other appliance becomes unstable and falls.  According to reports, IKEA had specific knowledge of the dangers from this dresser for more than a decade.

Product liability lawsuits are generally based on one of three theories:

  • Manufacturing Defects -  When the way a product is manufactured is unsafe for its intended use - i.e. the negligence is a result of the way a product is made.
  • Design Defects - Where the design of product is unreasonably dangerous, even if made correctly. 
  • Marketing Defects or Misrepresentation -  Where a product or drug lacks proper warnings, or is deceptively marketed.  

In this instance, the lawsuit was primarily based on the design defects of the dresser.

For more information or if you or a loved one were injured by a defective product, please contact the dedicated San Francisco personal injury attorneys at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.