A 33-year-old woman, went to IKEA on her day off from work looking for a table top she could use as a writing desk. She didn’t find anything in the main part of the store, so she went to the As-Is section, where IKEA displays for sale it is returned and damaged goods of all kinds. There is a no-return policy for items purchased in the As-Is section, so customers must examine the merchandise before purchase.
She walked over to a large open cabinet where some table and countertops were stored on their ends. There was nothing there that she wanted, so she turned to look for the way out of the section. She had not touched anything. Suddenly, several large countertops that had been leaning against the outside of the cabinet, and that weighed in excess of 350 pounds, fell on her crushing the pelvis.
IKEA’s method of displaying countertops that were too large for the cabinet was to lean them against the outside of the cabinet. IKEA claimed this system was safe because there were bungee cords holding the countertops in place. However, no one actually saw the bungee cor4ds after the incident, and one IKEA employee testified at trial that they did not know how strong the cords were and doubted whether they would have kept the large objects from falling.
She suffered fractures of her pelvis in two places and a fracture of the right side of her sacrum. The first surgery she had was to insert a metal stabilizer so her pelvis would grow back together; the second surgery was to remove the metal hardware and screws. There are two large, prominent scars on her lower back. It has been almost three years since her injury, and she is left with pain every day. This one active, joyful woman now moves slowly. She doesn’t go hiking or climbing or bicycling or kayaking anymore.
She had a very good friend on the day she was injured, and they had planned to go hiking the next day, at which time they would have expressed their affection for each other. That conversation didn’t happen for almost one year while she recuperated from her injury. They got married in August 2008. In addition to the pain has every day, she is concerned about getting pregnant and the strain the pregnancy will put on her body, plus how she will be able to care for the baby after it is born.
After three days of testimony, the jury returned a verdict in favour of her in the amount of $3,200,000 after two hours of deliberation.
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