The estate of 76-year-old Penelope Martens, an Ashland, Ore., woman who died after the Murphy bed she was sleeping in collapsed and locked shut, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the bed’s manufacturer and the store that sold it. The victim was asleep in the fold-up bed on April 16 when the frame pulled away from the wall and struck her in the head. It’s alleged that the frame and mattress locked in the closed position, trapping Ms. Martens and killing her. The lawsuit was filed in Jackson County Circuit Court.

Westcott Designs of California, a Defendant in the case, was said to be at fault for the bed’s poor design. The suit also lists Beds For Less as a Defendant and it’s said to be liable for improperly installing the bed in Ms. Martens’ home. The suit states that the bed frame was fastened to drywall, not wall studs.

Murphy beds, also known as wall beds, can be lifted to be stored vertically within a wall to save space. There have been other deaths associated with these beds. In 2005, two sisters, ages 62 and 68, died when the wall unit of side-by-side Murphy beds fell onto them while they vacationed in Spain. In 2012, a 33-year-old New York man died when a bed he was installing suddenly snapped up on him, crushing his skull and severing his spine.

Michael Gutzler, a lawyer from Portland, Ore., and Jeffrey McCollum, a lawyer with Davis, Hearn, Anderson & Turner from Ashland, Ore., are representing the estate in the Marten’s case. It will be interesting to see if the defendants will let this case go to trial. It’s very likely it will be settled.

Source: Insurance Journal

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