It’s a running joke among consumers that Ikea’s furniture can be somewhat hard to assemble on your own, but nobody ever alleged the stuff was downright deadly — before now.
The retail giant, known for its do-it-yourself furniture, may be facing a class action lawsuit in federal court over charges that it knowingly allowed unstable dressers that could easily tip and fall on children in homes. According to the suit, which was filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania but has national implications, at least nine children have been killed by the company’s defective furniture. Dozens of other children are also alleged to have been injured.
It should be noted: Ikea already issued a recall on the 17.3 million dressers in 2016 and has paid $96 million in damages to the families of victims already injured or killed. However, the lawsuit says that Ikea fell short on its true responsibilities during the recall.
What went wrong? The company failed to take all of the products back (which is necessary to make certain that they don’t continue to be a hazard to unsuspecting children once the furniture is resold on the secondary market or traded around). They also only offered customers store credit for their purchases — not a full refund — which may have made it inconvenient for a lot of people to access what they were due. In addition, two of the plaintiffs allege that they were summarily turned away when they tried to return two of the defective dressers at an Ikea store.
In essence, Ikea is accused of burying its head in the sand and ignoring the fact that many of the defective dressers may still be out there. Just this past January, the company was obligated to pay $46 million to the family of a boy who was killed in 2017 by one of these items.
Cases like this help illustrate the importance of holding negligent manufacturers and distributors responsible for the dangerous items they produce and leave on the market. A recall doesn’t absolve a company of responsibility. If you’ve been injured or a loved one was killed by a defective product, find out more about your legal rights.