Family awarded $787 million in damages in bunk-bed death of toddler

Ja’Syiah Boone died in May 2018 after his head got lodged between a bunk bed ladder and a rail. He died of asphyxiation. He was 2-years old.

Photo By WBNS TV screenshot

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A federal jury awarded a Columbus family with what is believed to be the largest wrongful death verdict payment in Ohio history after the six-person jury awarded the family of 2-year-old Ja’Syiah Boone $787 million in a wrongful death verdict.  

On May 22, 2018, Boone was playing with his other siblings in their bedroom and ran up his bunk bed and got trapped in between the top step and the rail causing him to have positional asphyxiation, according to the family’s attorney Dan Mordarski.

Modarski, speaking with TV station WBNS Channel 10 in Columbus, Ohio, said the family approached his firm and they started their own investigation. The investigation of the bunk beds discovered the beds were made by the Moash Enterprise Company Limited out of Vietnam and that the bunk beds had "major safety standard violations."  

The attorney said that their effort led to the Dec. 22, 2022, recall of the bunk beds, but shortly after that they found more of the product for sale online.  "That bed was recalled because it killed a little boy, and they just continued to sell it. That to me is just reprehensible,” he said.

recalled bunk bed
This model of bunk bed was recalled after a 2-year-old died when his head got stuck between the ladder and a rail.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Angel Line, of Laurel Springs, New Jersey, the importer of the bed, recalled about 39,900 bunk beds with angled ladders due to a “serious entrapment and strangulation hazards to children,” according to the recall notice. “A 2-year-old boy from Columbus, Ohio, died in May 2018 after he was found unresponsive in a gap in the bunk bed ladder. 

According to the CPSC, the metal hook fastening the ladder to the top bunk bed frame can move away or detach from the bed frame when the ladder is lifted and create a gap of more than 3.5 inches between the ladder step and bed frame. Children can get entrapped in that gap and strangle to death. 


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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).