IKEA Ι JURY VERDICT $3.2 million dollars Ι FALLING MERCHANDISE Ι Warehouse store Ι IKEA,USA Ι

A 33 year old woman was recently awarded $3.2 million in damages for injuries she suffered in 2006 when a 350-lb. stack of eight foot countertops fell on her in one of IKEA’s stores. The plaintiff suffered four fractures of her pelvis and alleged permanent injuries.

It sounds as though liability against IKEA was pretty clear. The customer had been looking for a table, but did not find one that she liked. Near the EXIT of the store, she stopped at the “As Is” section of leftover or bargain items but did not touch any of them. A stack of four particle-board counter tops and inside door collapsed on the plaintiff. An expert testified it was unsafe to have eight-foot-long countertops stacked vertically with only one (1) bungee cord to secure them in place. Plaintiff’s counsel said, “IKEA created the dangerous method of displaying merchandise in a way that was a hazard to its customers.”

Given the clear liability, it is hard to see why IKEA did not settle the case and let it go to a jury. The article in the Washington Post said, “the special damages were about $150,000.” IKEA’s highest offer in the case was $220,000. The plaintiff’s last demand was $1.2 million. An earlier mediation attempt was unsuccessful. Perhaps IKEA felt that, even with a finding of liability, it stood a good chance of doing better than paying the demand. That demand of $1.2 million may be looking better now to IKEA.

IKEA distributes its products through its retail outlets. As of March 2009, the chain has 296 stores in 36 countries, most of them in Europe, the United States, Canada, Asia and Australia. IKEA, USA has stores in Tampa, Florida at 1103 N. 22nd Street, in Orlando, Florida at 4092 Eastgate Drive, and in Sunrise, Florida at 151 NW 136th Avenue. Much of IKEA’s furniture is designed to be assembled by the consumer rather than being sold pre-assembled. IKEA claims this permits them to reduce costs and use of packaging it is picked up or shipped unassembled rather than assembled.

The layouts of the warehouse-style retail stores create another risk for shoppers — that of falling merchandise. Open warehouse layouts, high shelving and active equipment, including forklifts and rolling ladders, combine to create the very real potential for serious injuries when products topple from high shelves. In some falling merchandise cases, customers have suffered severe injuries to their head, feet, back, neck or shoulders.

If you or a loved one has been injured by falling merchandise in a warehouse store or super discount store, you may be entitled to compensation under premises liability law. If you have lost a loved one due to injuries sustained, your case would also fall under wrongful death. Call the TRIPP LAW FIRM – Personal Injury Law for an immediate case evaluation. NO FEES OR COSTS IF NO RECOVERY.

Our on-call staff and investigators are available 24 hours a day. CALL – Toll-free (888) 392-LAWS (5297) to speak with our on-call staff or Florida Injury Attorney G. Alan Tripp, Jr.

www.trippfirm.com

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