Four months after the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) publicly called out furniture manufacturer Hodedah for its refusal to recall dressers that failed safety testing, Hodedah has finally taken action.
In late 2019 the CPSC asked Hodedah to voluntarily recall the dressers after they failed safety tests conducted by the agency. Hodedah refused, and the CPSC, which cannot force companies to recall products without taking them to court, responded by taking the unusual step of issuing a public warning to consumers on January 8, 2020 of the serious hazards posed by the chests. The warning advised that the CPSC would “continue pressing the case for a recall with Hodedah.”
On May 13, 2020, Hodedah finally issued a joint recall with the CPSC for about 26,500 of its HI4DR 4-drawer chests. According to the recall notice, the chests are unstable if not anchored to the wall, posing tip-over and entrapment hazards that may result in death or serious injuries to children. The chests do not comply with the performance requirements of the U.S. voluntary industry standard (ASTM 2057-19). The recalled chests were sold online at Wayfair.com, HomeDepot.com, Walmart.com, Amazon.com, Unbeatablesale.com, Homesquare.com, Houzz.com, Goedeckers.com, Cymax.com, 123stores.com, Hayneedle.com and Overstock.com from July 2017 through April 2020 for between $90 and $200. They were sold in beech, mahogany, chocolate, cherry, white, and black finishes and measure about 40 inches tall, 27.5 inches wide, 15.5 inches deep and weigh about 84 pounds.
The recall notice instructs consumers to immediately stop using any recalled chest that is not properly anchored to the wall and place it in an area that children cannot access. Hodedah will provide free anti-tip anchoring kits or packaging and pre-paid shipping labels so that consumers can remove the chest’s drawer slides and return them to the firm for a full refund and discard the rest of the dresser.
Alan M. Feldman, a product liability attorney and co-founding partner at Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Dodig LLP, said it is unacceptable for a company to refuse to cooperate with the CPSC:
“It is a sad day when the CPSC has to publicly shame a manufacturer to get dangerous furniture out of people’s homes. There is no excuse for this shameful conduct,” according to Feldman.
Feldman’s team at Feldman Shepherd, which includes partners Daniel J. Mann and Edward S. Goldis, has recovered nearly $100 million on behalf of four families whose toddlers died from IKEA dresser tip-overs. In May 2020, the team filed a class action lawsuit against IKEA seeking consumer damages, alleging that the furniture giant carried out a “feeble” recall of nearly 30 million dressers that it knew were prone to tip-over. The IKEA dressers did not comply with voluntary safety standards and had caused death and serious injury to children.