Furniture Tip-Overs Lawsuit
Every year, 25,000 children and 15,000 adults are injured in furniture tip-over accidents. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2011 tip-overs killed 49 children in America. That’s almost one per week, and 21 more than in 2010.
On average, a child is injured by a tip-over incident every twenty minutes in America. The vast majority of these incidents involve some combination of televisions and furniture (4% involve appliances and other items). Oftentimes these items are not anchored to the wall and a child decides to climb or play on them, with tragic results.
Perhaps the most infamous tip-over cases involve Swedish furniture giant IKEA, which recently recalled 29 million dressers after the deaths of seven toddlers. But CPSC chairman Elliot F. Kaye has stressed that IKEA is not the only furniture company that has failed to take the necessary precautions to protect consumers.
Many tip-over victims and their families have filed lawsuits against manufacturers and retailers, alleging wrongful death, negligence, or both. Some—like the families of Curren Collas, Camden Ellis, and Ted McGee—have received millions of dollars in settlements.
Noteworthy Tip-Over Lawsuits
Michael Lundblade (1987)
In 1987, two-year-old Michael Lundblade of Garden Grove, CA was nearly killed when his head was crushed by a reclining chair. Michael’s parents sued the manufacturer and retailer, and eventually agreed to a $5 million settlement.
Jonathan Cozzolino (2001)
In February 2001, five-year-old Jonathan Cozzolino was crushed to death by a lunch table at Disston Elementary School in Northeast Philadelphia. Jonathan’s mother, Angeline Uberti, sued the manufacturer, Midwest Folding Products of Chicago, alleging negligence and wrongful death. In 2004, Midwest settled with Ms. Uberti for $10 million.
(Ms. Uberti also received a $500,000 settlement from the school: the maximum possible under state law.)
Katie Lambert (2005)
In January 2005, a 200-pound wardrobe fell onto two-year-old Katie Lambert of Huntingdon Valley, PA, killing her instantly. The Lamberts filed a wrongful death lawsuit against IKEA in 2007. In 2008, they agreed to a $2.3 million settlement.
Curren Collas (2014)
In February 2014, two-year-old Curren Collas of West Chester, PA died after a 136-pound MALM dresser tipped over onto him while he was climbing on it. Curren’s mother later filed a wrongful death lawsuit against IKEA, alleging that the dresser did not come with the materials or instructions required to secure it to the wall.
Camden Ellis (2014)
In June 2014, two-year-old Camden Ellis of Snohomish, WA died after being pinned by a three-drawer Malm dresser. His family filed a lawsuit against IKEA.
Ted McGee (2016)
In February 2016, a tall, six-drawer IKEA dresser collapsed onto two-year-old Ted McGee of Apple Valley, MN, killing him. Ted’s family filed a lawsuit against IKEA.
On December 22, 2016, IKEA announced that it had reached a $50 million settlement with the families of Curren Collas, Camden Ellis, and Ted McGee. The $50 million (total) will be distributed among the three families. IKEA will also donate $150,000 to children’s hospitals.
IKEA Issues Sweeping Recall of Deadly Dressers
In June 2016, after the deaths of seven toddlers, IKEA finally issued a sweeping recall of 29 million chests and dressers that don’t meet the voluntary safety standards championed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Elliot F. Kaye, the CPSC’s chairman, warned, “If you have or think you have one of these products, act immediately. It is simply too dangerous to have the recalled furniture in your home unanchored, especially if you have young children.”
Alan M. Feldman, a Philadelphia attorney who represents three of the families in the IKEA wrongful death lawsuits, wondered why it took IKEA more than 25 years to recall the dressers. (The first death dates all the way back to 1989.)
Mr. Feldman said, “I don’t think that we should forget that it took seven deaths and more than 70 injuries and an untold number of near-misses before Ikea was shamed into taking action.”
IKEA Is Not the Only Culprit
As part of the recall, IKEA offered to either retrieve the furniture from customers’ homes and issue full refunds, or to secure the furniture to customers’ walls free of charge.
Mr. Kaye, the CPSC chairman, praised the move but said it does not “exonerate them [IKEA] from the past.” He added that IKEA is not the only furniture company that has failed to take the necessary precautions to protect consumers.
Eligibility & Compensation
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a furniture tip-over incident, you may be eligible for a lawsuit against the manufacturer or retailer. Lawsuits may allege some combination of the following:
- Wrongful death
- Design/manufacturing defects
- Deceptive advertising
Plaintiffs may seek compensation for financial losses, medical bills, pain and suffering, and/or funeral expenses (in the event of a loved one’s death).
As seen above (“Noteworthy Tip-Over Lawsuits”), many families settle these lawsuits for millions of dollars.
What to Look for in a Law Firm
Experience and ethics. Our firm is one of the largest consumer protection firms in the country, and we have never represented a large company: that’s why our motto is “For the People.”
With more than 300 lawyers and a support staff of over 1,500 people, we are one of the few with the resources to take on IKEA and other companies of its stature. To date, we have won more than $2 billion for clients.
Plus, we abide by the contingency fee contract. This means that we will only collect if the case is successful.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case review. These lawsuits are time-sensitive, so it is crucial that you reach out to us quickly to determine if you are eligible for compensation.