Posted: December 24th, 2016 | By: Tricia L. Nadolny
Professor Michael Green is quoted in the following original Philadelphia Inquirer story, “After $50 million settlement, victims’ mother blasts Ikea for leaving ‘silent killer’ on the market,” written by Tricia L. Nadolny and published on Dec. 23, 2016.
Janet McGee sees the Ikea dresser that tipped and crushed her 22-month-old son, Ted, as a serial killer. Before that day in February, the product already had been linked to the deaths of two other boys.
But Ikea only warned the public to “lock their doors.”
“The killer was still out there,” the Minnesota mother wrote last month in a message directed at the retailer. “You had the power to remove it, but you didn’t. You let it linger. You waited to see what would happen with the silent killer that sat inside people’s homes.”
McGee wrote the statement for lawyers representing the three families suing Ikea. On Wednesday, they announced the company had agreed to pay $50 million to settle the claims.
One liability expert called it an “astonishing” payout and an indication Ikea was intent to avoid a trial where long-standing concerns about its dressers would have been aired.
“A settlement of that size suggests to me they know they did something wrong,” said Michael Green, a Wake Forest University law school professor who has represented companies facing product-liability suits. “Or they know a jury is going to find they did.”
The settlements close out the wrongful-death lawsuits filed by the McGees, of Apple Valley, Minn., and parents of two 2-year-old boys who died in Ikea dresser tip-overs in 2014: Curren Collas of West Chester and Camden Ellis of Snohomish, Wash.
Ikea’s attorneys declined to comment on the settlement. Ikea spokeswoman Mona Astra Liss, in a statement, also did not comment on the agreement but said the company offered its “sincerest condolences to the families of these tragedies.”