Recently in Product Liability Category

February 10, 2015

Tough Treadz Trucks Recalled Nationwide

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.

December 4, 2014

General Motors Ignition Switch Recall Victim's Compensation Fund Cases to Be Heard in 2016

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.

August 4, 2014

Mirena IUD Lawsuits to Be Heard in NY in March 2016

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.

July 2, 2014

Firework Use Can Be Deadly. Use with Caution on this Upcoming Independence Day Holiday

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.

April 3, 2013

Magura Hydraulic Disc Brake Recall Issued by the CPSC

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.

February 7, 2013

DePuy ASR Hip Implant Recall

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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.

August 15, 2012

Fire Deaths are At a Record Low in Maryland

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.

July 24, 2012

Ford Motor Company Recalls 2013 Ford Escape SUV's

M-2013-Ford-Escape.jpgFord Motor Company has recalled the 2013 Ford Escape that comes equipped with 1.6 liter four cylinder engines.

The recall was issued of the 2013 Ford Escape 1.6 liter four cylinder engine vehicles because the vehicles have a faulty fuel line that can cause an under hood fire. This recall affects about 11,500 Escapes in the US and Canada, mainly vehicles built at the Ford Motor Company Louisville, Kentucky plant. All other Escape models are not affected. The danger of an under hood fire only occur while the vehicle is in motion, therefore; do not drive the vehicle. Call your dealership, immediately. Dealers will pick up your Escape and drop off a rental car that can be used until the repairs are finished at no cost to you, the owner/customer.

Three under hood fires have been reported since June 9, 2012. Two were reported by employees that were test driving the vehicles at the Louisville Kentucky Assembly plant and one by an owner in Canada. No injuries were reported, but this caused the recall of the 2013 Ford Escape 1.6 liter four cylinder engine vehicles.

There was a second recall issued on the 2013 Ford Escape. The second recall issued has to do with the carpet padding that can interfere with braking.

June 5, 2012

Dangerous Vehicles on the Road

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The following vehicles have been determined to be the most dangerous vehicles on the road, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS):

1) Dodge Ram 1500; score 2/5; bad ratings: side collisions and rollover

2) Colorado Crew Cab; score 3/5; bad ratings: side collisions, rollover & rear end
collisions

3) Mazda CX-7; score 4/5; bad ratings: rollover and rear end collisions

4) Mazda CX-9; score 4/5; bad ratings: rollover and rear end collisions

5) Nissan Pathfinder; score 3/5; bad ratings: rollover and rear end collisions

6) Jeep Wrangler; score 3/5; bad ratings: side collisions and rear end collisions

7) Suzuki SX4; score 2/5; bad ratings: rollover and rear end collisions


These vehicles were deemed the most dangerous based on 4 rating categories of the IIHS tests. The categories were: (1) a front crash test where a vehicle travels at 40 mph and hits a barrier head on; (2) a side-impact crash test where an SUV type vehicle strikes the driver side of the testing vehicle at a speed of 30 mph; (3) rollover crash testing where the vehicle is hit by metal plates on the corners to determine force capacity before the vehicle rolls over; and (4) a rear-end crash test where seats and seat belts are tested for protection against whiplash and other head and neck injuries.

Consumer Reports and crash safety ratings performed by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the JD Power's Initial Quality reports were also used to analyze the vehicles performance.

November 7, 2011

Harper Truck Recall Due to Overinflated Exploding Tires

On October 27, 2011 almost 300,000 Harper Trucks, Inc. hand trucks were recalled after multiple injuries were reported due to exploding overinflated tires. The recall was made by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) when 19 people reported injuries by overinflated tires that exploded. The exploding overinflated tires caused the victims broken bones, contusions, lacerations and one victim even lost his eye sight in one eye.

The tires not only explode, but due to the blast, the wheel hub breaks off and/or separates, causing pieces of it to fly about, which could potentially cause injury to bystanders, according to the CPSC.
Harper Truck.jpg
The following Harper Trucks, Inc. models are affected by the recall:
Model K52K16, with a P Handle and 1-piece, composite wheel
Model JEDKT1935P, with a dual hand/platform truck (convertible) and a 3-piece, four bolt, metal/chorme plated wheel
Model 51K19 with dual handles and a 3-piece, four bolt, metal/chrome plated wheel
Model BKTAK19 with a P handle and a 3-piece, four bolt, metal/chrome plated wheel
Model PGCSK19BLK with a dual hand handle and a 3-piece, four bolt, metal/chrome plated wheel

The model numbers on the Harper Trucks can be found on an adhesive sticker on the trucks frame cross member. The trucks were sold at Home Depot from September 2008 thru March 2009 and at Sam's Club from January 1993 thru January 2002. The recalled trucks cost between $28 and $42.

Any consumers using the affected trucks are recommended, by the CPSC, to stop using them and contact Harper Trucks, Inc immediately at (800)835-4099 or www.harpertrucks.com. Harper Trucks will send you a repair kit at no cost.

July 19, 2011

BPA Exposure can Affect the Human Endocrine System

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The Environmental Health Perspective published a study on the effects that many plastic additives have on the human body, the endocrine system and thyroid levels to be exact. Bisphenol- A (BPA) is an additive used in plastic products to harden and make them shatterproof, that has been shown to lower thyroid levels in human beings and has been linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. BPA and other types of plasticizer are most commonly used in food processing and packaging, as well as bottles, cups, can liners, baby products and various other types of food containers. It is the chemical in BPA and other phthalates that can affect the human endocrine system and cause developmental problems.

1,700 adults and teenagers were studied and it was determined that the higher the rate of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended that parents reduce the amount of exposure to BPA and other Phthalates to their children. The FDA is currently investigating and re-evaluating the previously established safety regulations of BPA. The re-evaluation began in June of 2009 and is still currently underway. Until the re-evaluation is completed, parents and all adults are recommended to reduce their exposure to BPA and other Phthalates in order to reduce health problems to their endocrine system.

July 12, 2011

Basis for Product Liability Legal Claims

When consumers make purchases they expect them to function properly and safely. It is when the purchased defective item causes injuries and illnesses that there are basis for product liability lawsuits. Some of these items are: automobiles, prescription drugs, beauty products, frozen foods, automobile parts and tires, etc.

When Manufactures realize that a product is defective they issue out a recall of that item to consumers. However, recalls do not always keep the consumer safe.

Product liability claims are based on the theory of negligence. The manufacturer has a duty to exercise a reasonable standard of care for developing a particular product, and has failed to do so; thus resulting in harm to the consumer. When making a negligence claim, the injured consumer must prove that the defective product was the actual and proximate cause of the injury. One must show that had it not been for the defective product, the injury would not have occurred. The manufacturer should have foreseen the danger and risk when it sold the product.

Design defect, failure to warn/improper labeling and manufacturing defects are the most common scenarios that form the basis for a product liability claim.

Product liability claims can also be based on the following legal theories:
- Breach of Warranty - failure to fulfill terms of a promise or claim made regarding the quality and safety of a product. A manufacturer must guarantee certain warranties on products sold and needs to be held accountable when they are breached;

- Strict Liability - responsibility of the manufacturer to all consumers who might be injured by a product and does not require the injured consumer to prove negligence. The consumer only needs to prove that the product was defective and therefore cause the injury, therefore; making the product unreasonable defective and dangerous. The designer, manufacturer, distributor and seller of the defective product can and should be held liable for the injury and illnesses cause to the consumer.

- Misrepresentation - when a manufacturer gives the consumer false or misleading information on the safety and reliance of a product. When the consumer relies on this information and is harmed, they can recover money damages.

A consumer can also contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission for further details and advice.

June 9, 2011

Odometer Fraud

Odometer.jpgThe Office of Odometer Fraud Investigations (OFI) was established in 1984 and consists of four regional offices, staffed with a criminal investigator and an administrative support staff. Their mission is to reduce the cost of vehicle ownership by stopping odometer fraud.

When purchasing a used vehicle one must consider the safety of the vehicle. Things such as safety belts, air bags, brakes and the like, but one must also consider the vehicle's odometer. A vehicle's odometer is used to determine the wear and tear of the vehicle and if this has been altered or tampered with then it can affect your safety. Some sellers tamper with odometers, and therefore you buy a vehicle thinking it is much newer and safer then it really is.

The OFI is responsible for making sure that odometers are not tampered with or rolled back. The organization works hard at tracking down crime rings that continuously purchase high-mileage vehicles, alter their odometers, and resell them.

Therefore, when purchasing a used vehicle make sure and compare the odometer mileage with maintenance and inspection records. You should also consider the wear and tear of the vehicle with the mileage of the vehicle. Most dealerships can also provide you with a CARFAX report when purchasing a vehicle, and you can review the report for the vehicles history and prior ownership.

May 17, 2011

To Prevent Hospital Infections the FDA is Proposing New Guidelines For Cleaning Medical Devices

Endoscopes.bmpThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing new guidelines for the cleaning of reusable medical equipment, which if not done properly, can cause infections at hospitals and other medical facilities and doctors offices.

The new guidelines would require manufacturers to provide detailed instructions on how to clean any medical device that will be reused on multiple patients, properly. The guidelines would also provide cleaning instructions of those devices for health care professionals.

These guidelines are being implemented because when these instruments are not cleaned and/or sterilized properly, they could carry bodily fluids and other materials from one patient to the next and therefore; cause infections. These infections can be life threatening and should be avoided, and with these new guidelines, they could potentially be avoided.

A report released by the FDA, from January 2007 to May 2010, they received 80 reports of inadequate cleaning of endoscopes and 28 reports of hospital acquired infections that were most likely spread by endoscopes. Endoscopes are small cameras that are inserted into the body. They are most commonly used in colonoscopy procedures, but can also be used on ears, nose and throat procedures.

The FDA has a public workshop scheduled for June 8 and 9th of this year, to discuss the draft guidelines with manufacturers, health care providers and other government agencies, after which, the FDA would draft a final guidance. Guidance are recommended procedures that are recognized as federal standards.

May 2, 2011

Corrosion Risk Recall for the Nissan Pathfinder and Infiniti QX4 in D.C. and Maryland

nissan-pathfinder-2002_1611.jpgA vehicles recall is in affect for Infiniti QX4 model vehicles manufactured between 1997 and 2003 and Nissan Pathfinders model vehicles manufactured between 1996 through 2004, sold in various states in the Northeast part of the United States, including the District of Columbia and Maryland. About 196,000 of these vehicles are being recalled due to potential steering problems as a result of corrosion from cold weather and the use of road salt to clear snow and ice from the roads. These are called "salt belt" states, which also include: Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.


A mix of water, salt and snow collected in the upper strut housing of these vehicles is causing corrosion and the corrosion is causing the strut housing to crack and separate from the inner hood ledge assembly. This is causing difficult in steering and the steering column could ultimately break, causing an inability to steer or control your vehicle. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been investigating this problem since October of 2010 and has determined that 162,658 Nissan Pathfinders and 33,333 Infiniti QX4s are to be recalled.

Nissan Dealerships in the "salt belt" states will inspect and repair vehicles at no cost to the vehicle owner. Notifications will also be mailed to the owners no later than May 16, 2011. Nissan owners can call (800)647-7261 with any further questions or concerns.