Washington DC Injury Attorney Blog

Articles Posted in Product Liability

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On October 29, 2015, the FDA issued a recall of Skippy Peanut Butter, due to the fact that, during production, small pieces of metal may have entered into nearly 2,000 pounds of Skippy Peanut Butter, posing serious injury and/or choking hazards for consumers, many considered children.

The possible error was announced after a routine in-line magnet check discovered small metal fragments had entered the product at some point during the production process. No injuries have been reported or received by the Manufacture or the FDA, to date.

Skippy peanut butter is manufactured by the company Hormel Foods. Hormel Foods voluntarily announced the recall due to the severity of injuries that could occur if consumers ingest peanut butter products with significant sized metal shavings. Any food borne object greater than 7mm in length has the ability to cause injury. Injuries, such as: severe choking, airway obstruction, intestinal perforation and secondary infections.

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When you have the option to connect your vehicle to the internet, it is no longer just a vehicle. It is now a computer on wheels. Some vehicles are able to search on Google, send tweets and be remotely accessed from a smartphone app. These vehicles will need cyber security measures beyond the traditional safety measures currently established. Therefore; the Security and Privacy in your Car Act is currently in consideration by Congress.

These software driven vehicles will need cyber security features. To date, there are three specific measures that can dramatically improve the cyber security of vehicles.

1) Vehicles will need over-the-air update systems to avoid expensive and lengthy recalls every time a security vulnerability is found;

2) The manufacturer must separate infotainment systems and the critical drive systems, therefore; tightly controlling communication between them; and

3) Manufactures must assume that some attacks will succeed and secure each individual software component in the vehicle, so that if an attacker compromises a single system they do not automatically get access to the entire vehicle.

These three measures are just a start. It will take years for companies to develop a strong cyber security system, but in the meantime, it is up to the driver how much control they are willing to give their vehicles when connecting them to the internet

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Auto industries biggest problems, presently, are recall related. The number of affected vehicles and the number of recalls in the past two years have been brutal for various Automobile industries. Just when driver safety seemed to be getting better, the massive recalls due to the defective Takata airbags steered the sector uncontrollably toward yet more problems.

Safety recalls and related costs have become a major issue for most automakers. 632 recalls covering about 22 million cars have been announced since 2013. These numbers only increased in 2014. In 2014, there were 60.5 million recalls. That is nearly double of the previous record of 33.8 million in 2004, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, these numbers only cover the recalls in the United States and not globally.

With regards to the Takata airbag recalls, Takata, finally, publically acknowledged that 33.8 million of its airbags are defective. This announcement will increase the number of vehicles and trucks recalls due to the faulty airbags by almost 100%.

In total, 11 automakers were affected by the Takate airbag recalls. These included: Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd, Ford Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. However; Honda, was the biggest company affected. Each of these companies were affected by the Takate recalls. The recall related repair costs intensify the financial burden of these auto manufacturers

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Over 254,000 “Tough Treadz” plastic toy trucks have been recalled by Family Dollar stores. The specific model being recalled is the one with a plastic case that holds six die-cast metal toy cars in assorted colors. These toy cars can have sharp edges that pose a laceration hazard. The “Tough Treadz” toy trucks were sold at Family Dollar stores all across the United States for about five dollars from September through December 2014.

Consumers who purchased the “Tough Treadz” toy trucks can return the product to any Family Dollar store for a full refund.

Any and all consumers who would like to reach Family Dollar can do so by calling them at (800)547-0359 from 8:30am to 5pm Monday through Friday.

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The General Motors Ignition Switch Recall Victim’s Compensation Fund was launched in August of 2014. To date, there have been over 2,200 personal injury claims filed, with 36 of those claims being wrongful death claims.

The GM recall fund was establish in order to address the 2.5 million claims that stem from defective ignition switches in the Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac G5, Pontiac Solstice , Saturn Ion, and Saturn Sky vehicles, that were manufactured between 2003-2007.

The defective ignition switches cause the vehicle to suddenly shut off if heavy key chains are used or if the ignition is jarred, which can occur when a vehicle is involved in an accident. The ultimate result of these defective ignition switches is that the driver may lose control of their vehicle or the GM airbags may fail to deploy, which in turn increases the risk of serious, if not fatal injury.

As of December 1, 2014, over 2,215 GM claims have been confirmed. The deadline to file these claims, with the GM Compensation fund, is on January 31, 2015, therefore; the number of claims is expected to rise in the next few weeks.
GM recall injury lawsuits are also being filed against the auto maker in state and federal courts nationwide. Those claims also involved injuries associated defective ignition switches, but those are on other GM vehicles, which are therefore; not part of the GM compensation fund.

The claims that have been filed against General Motors, in federal court systems, have been consolidated for pretrial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and is part of a Multidistrict Litigation, or MDL. These cases will be heard by U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings and to serve the convenience of all the parties, witnesses and the courts.

The first cases are expected to go before Judge Jesse Furman in January of 2016. For more information, visit http://gmignitionmdl.com.

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Mirena is a form of birth control that was introduced in 2000. It is long-lasting and used as an intrauterine device (IUD), which is manufactured by Bayer Healthcare. The device is implanted into the uterus and is intended to prevent pregnancy for up to five years. However, in some incidents, women, who have had this device implanted, suffered severe and debilitating injuries when the IUD spontaneously moved from its original implantation location, puncturing the uterus and causing various internal injuries.

The first trial for the lawsuit against Mirena IUD (intrauterine device) will begin in March 2016. There have been hundreds of Mirena IUD lawsuits filed all across the United States and the U.S. District Judge presiding over these cases has set up a schedule that states that the first trial will begin in March 2016.

When Bayer Healthcare first introduced the Mirena IUD in 2000, it promoted the IUD as a hassle-free form of birth control. Women however, started complaining to their doctors and it was determined that some of the IUD’s migrated from the initial implant site, perforating the uterus and other organs, causing major infections and abscesses, and leaving women unknowingly unprotected against the chance of pregnancy.

Bayer Healthcare now faces more than 2,000 product liability lawsuits nationwide. All the lawsuits involve similar allegations that the manufacturer failed to provide adequate warnings about the risk of injuries associated with side effects of Mirena IUD use.

Since Mirena was introduced, there have been more than 70,000 adverse events filed with the FDA, all which involve the Mirena IUD problems. 500 of the cases involved women who claimed that the Mirena IUD moved out of place since 2008 and 1,322 reported that the Mirena IUD punctured their uterus.

Bayer, however has attempted to defend their case by saying that the risk of perforation was included on the warning labels provided. Plaintiffs and women affected, however, claim that that warnings are/were vague, misleading and suggested that the risk of injury only existed at the time of insertion.

600 of the 2,000 lawsuits, all considered part of an MDI, or multidistrict litigation, have been assigned to U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel in the Southern District of New York. Judge Seibel issued a scheduling order on July 29, 2014, and it states that the first federal trial is expected to begin on March 7, 2014. Similar claims have been brought up in New Jersey and will be heard by Judge Martinotti.

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging all Americans to celebrate this upcoming Fourth of July safely. In 2013, firework injuries and deaths increased, and so the CPSC is urging consumers to celebrate this year’s festivities safely and caution when using fireworks.

The CPSC issues a report on fireworks safety report every year prior to the Fourth of July to remind consumers to be safe. In 2013, there was an in the number of injuries and deaths associated with the use of fireworks. Toddlers being the most affected. It was reported that 11,400 people were injured, up from 9,000 in 2012, and eight people lost their lives as a result of unsafe fireworks use and fireworks malfunction. 65% of these injuries occurred within 30 days surrounding the Independence Day holiday. Most of the fireworks being used during the days right before and after the holiday.

In order for the report to be issued, the agency reviewed fireworks incident reports from hospital emergency rooms, death certificate information, newspaper articles and other media sources to estimate the injuries and gather the necessary data for their statistics.
The injuries resulted from the consumer playing with lit fireworks or igniting fireworks while holding the actual firework device, by the malfunction of the devices and by the firework having an errant flight path, being tipped over or by it blowing itself out.

As stated earlier, toddlers were the most affected in 2012. Children under the age of five were injured more than any other age group in the U.S.. It was reported that most of these children were injured by the use of sparklers and bottle rockets, which parents/adults consider safer for children, when in actuality they are not. Sparklers burn at a temperature of 2,000 degrees, a temperature hot enough to melt some metals, therefore; sparklers and bottle rockets accounted for more than 40 percent of all injuries in the CPSC‘s report.

Also, it was reported that the eight deaths from fireworks usage in 2013 were a result of the consumer using banned, professional or home manufactured devices. These devices are often not acceptable or compliant with federal regulations, and therefore; are unsafe for consumers to use.

The CPSC urges consumers to only purchase fireworks which are sold legally in the U.S. and to never allow a child to play or ignite fireworks, including sparklers or bottle rockets on their own. It is also recommended that consumers not buy fireworks packaged or sold in brown bags, as most of the time these fireworks are made to be used by professionals and can pose a heightened danger to someone who isn’t educated on the proper way to use these devices.

In conclusion, consumers are urged to use fireworks safely and to not allow children to use them. There are plenty of professional fireworks celebrations nationwide and those are the safest places for children to enjoy the use and demonstration of fireworks. Do your part to avoid any injury during the holiday season. Safety comes first.

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Magura USA Hydraulic disc brakes have been recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) after it was determined that the brakes can malfunction in low temperatures and can lead to loss of brake pressure. The recall includes Magura MT6 and MT8 hydraulic disc brakes that consist of a brake lever, master cylinder linked to the handle bars, and a hose running from the master cylinder to the caliper that is attached to the rear wheel. These specific hydraulic disc brakes were manufactured from March 2011 to May 2011 with the date codes ranging from 10301 to 20531, which are printed on the bicycle. This means that about 2,800 bicycle hydraulic brakes have been recalled due to the risk that they may fail, posing potential crashes and injuries for riders. All other Magera hydraulic disc brakes are not included in this recall or affected by the faulty part that can cause injury.

The Magura MT6 was sold in black and silver and the MT8 was sold in black and red. Both have the word “Magura” located on the caliper and the “MT” logo on the master cylinder. The MT6 model has the word “six” printed on the brake lever and the MT8 model has the word “eight” written on the brake lever. The Magura MT6 and MT8 were priced at $269 and $379 respectively. Also, included in this recall are all MT6 and MT8 brake systems without date codes.

Magura disc brakes are manufactured in Bad Urach, Germany and imported by Magura USA, of Olney Illinois.

The CPSC recommends that owners and riders of these bicycles stop riding them, contact Magura USA at (800)448-3876 for a free repair, and/or visit them online at www.maguradirect.com and click on “Recall Information”.

Also, please be aware that it is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

The CPSC responsible for protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $900 billion a year. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard.

No injuries have been reported to date, but if you or someone you know does become a victim or is injured by the use of either the MT6 or MT8 Magura USA Hydraulic disc brakes, please contact the CPSC and file a report/complaint and contact an attorney to assisting you in your claim.

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Over 10,000 lawsuits have been filed against the company Johnson & Johnson for their distribution of the DePuy ASR hip implant, since a recall was issued in August 2010. The DePuy ASR hip implant has a metal on metal design, which means that a metal head rotates within a metal cup. This design causes metal debris, caused from the metal parts rubbing against each other, to be released into the surrounding tissue and cause medical problems. The failure occurs within five years of replacement.

When the recall was first issued, Johnson & Johnson stated that the failure rate was only about 13%, but after documents were released as part of the litigation, it was estimated that the failure rate of the DePuy ASR hip implant is as high as 37%. This means that one out of every eight DePuy ASR hip implants were failing within five years of replacement surgery.

There is currently a case going on in California against Johnson & Johnson for the marketing, manufacturing and sale of the defective DePuy ASR hip implants. It is being said that the company failed to properly warn the public, as well as healthcare professionals, about the risk of loosening and other complications that may develop shortly after hip replacement surgery.

In testimony in the current case being heard in California, a DePuy engineer testified that Johnson & Johnson only tested one angle of implantation and that the company failed to use the right engineering controls when trying to assess potential problems. The engineer further stated that the testing conducted failed to predict how much wear the hip implants would experience and how much they could loosen.

The FDA released a new guidance for metal on metal hip replacements in January of this year. Doctors were advised that metal on metal hip replacement systems should only be used if other artificial hip implants were not appropriate for the patient, and called on all manufacturers to prove that their implants are safe enough to stay on the market. Also, future metal on metal hip designs will have to undergo extensive human clinical trials before being made available for sale to the public.

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Fire Deaths are down 21% compared to 2011, according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office. Only 22 people have died in fires so far this year. 28 people died during the same time last year.
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16 out of the 22 people that died so far in 2012, died in 13 separate home fires. Four out of those 16 deaths occurred in three fires where there weren’t any smoke alarms, and three of the deaths occurred in two fires where the smoke alarms weren’t operating correctly or at all.

Therefore, starting October 1, 2012, a law will be implemented in Maryland where sprinkler systems will be required in all new single family homes. Reports have shown that there have been no fire deaths, in new townhomes, where sprinkler systems were installed, since 1992.

It has been proven that having both smoke alarms and sprinkler systems in a home increase the survival rate by as much as 80%. Therefore; there must be a smoke alarm on every level of your home and in each sleeping area. The alarms should be regularly tested and their batteries should be replaced yearly.