Recently in Product Liability Category

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.

July 17, 2012

Recall: Old Navy Toddler Aqua Socks for Girls

Old Navy Toddler aqua socks for girls are being recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for slip and fall hazard. It was determined by the CPSC that these Old Navy socks have less traction when used on wet or smooth surfaces.

The recall is being issued for all socks with style number 896452. The style number can be found in a small tag inside the sock. The socks were priced between $12 and $15. They were sold in Toddler sizes 5-11 and in colors pink and purple.

More than 30,000 units were sold in the US in the first 6 months of 2012.

People who have purchased the Old Navy Toddler Aqua Sock for girls should immediately stop using them and return them to any Old Navy store for a full refund.

For more information, contact Old Navy at (866)580-9930 or by e-mail at custserv@oldnavy.com

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.
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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 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.

March 3, 2011

Product Liability Lawsuits Over Automobile Seat Belts Can Continue

Seat Belt Buckle.jpgOn February 23, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that plaintiffs can pursue product liability lawsuits against automakers that used lap-only seatbelts, even though federal regulations deemed them to meet the minimum standards of safety.

The new ruling will allow for wrongful death lawsuits to be brought against all car manufactures. The ruling also opens the doors to discussions over other products that only meet the minimum federal safety standards in the United States.

The new ruling will also push the automobile industry away from meeting the minimum of safety standards and move them more towards using the best available safety technology.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision was unanimous and was written by Justice Stephen Breyer.

December 27, 2010

If Google Cars Drive Themselves, Who Would You Sue?

Google-Car-auto-toyota-prius.jpgGoogle has developed a new car called the "Google Car". It is a Toyota Prius that is equipped with software that allows it to drive itself. The Google cars use video cameras, installed on the roof, radar sensors and laser range finders to travel through traffic on its own. These cars also navigate the road by using detailed maps. According to Sebastian Thrun, a Google software engineer, "Our automated cars use... Google's data centers, which can process the enormous amounts of information gathered by our cars when mapping their terrain."

The Google car was made with the intention to help prevent traffic accidents, free people's time, reduce distracted driving and drunk driving, and reduce carbon emissions. So far, the Google Car, has traveled about 140,000 miles and has only been involved in one traffic accident, a rear-end.

Google has yet to determine when these Google Cars will be available to the general public, but when they are, a question arises, if there is an accident, who would you sue?. The current statutes and case law in the United States were written for cars with human drivers, in order to determine the liability in an automobile accident. Therefore; once these Google Cars are put out on the market, laws would need to change.
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There are three factors that could determine liability in case of an automobile accident:

1) Google - the author of the software used by the Google Car;
2) Toyota - the current and only car Manufacturer of the Google Car; and
3) The Owner of the vehicle.

Liability would be determined on the type of accident and could have one or more of these parties at fault. The legal process would examine who is at fault. For example, was it a software issue or a mechanical failure? A software issue would be if the program made the wrong decision and caused a crash, and a mechanical failure would be if a part used to build the Google car was defective or malfunctioned.

All in all, the Goggle Car was created to make driving and roadways safer. In 2008, the NHTSA reported that there were 37,261 automobile fatalities. Lets hope that if and when the Google Car is put on the market it will lower the yearly number of deaths in the United States.

April 7, 2010

Human Factors Experts Testimony in Product Liability Cases Is On the Rise

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has regulations, guidance documents and industry standards in relation to the use of human factors experts, which allow for more effective cross-examination and a strong defense in Product Liability Cases. With these regulations, human factors not only base their expert opinion on speculation, but also on facts.

You may be asking yourself, what are Human Factors, well it is the study of the relationships between humans, the tools they use, and the environment in which they live and work.

It is with these tools that human factors experts are allowed to testify in cases to provide opinions regarding the adequacy and efficacy of warnings and/or the impact of human factors in the design of products. The Expert must be able to identify a reliable scientific basis for his/her opinion to be used as testimony. It is the goal of the human factors professional to eliminate user error through proper product design and labeling.

Medical devices that are designed by the FDA are designed with the human factor principles in mind. According to the FDA manufacturers must use the following three device classes/guidelines when manufacturing a device for human use:

- The Manufacturer must consider human factors in the development of the device. Such things as what the user sees, feels and hears;
- The Manufacturer must test all devices for the potential in error use by the user;
- The Manufacturer, when conducting risk analysis of the device, must consider user error.

These three device classes must all be subject to good manufacturing practices (GMPs) and these can be found in its Quality System Regulations. It is imperative that the medical device withstand the actions and inactions of its intended user, in order to design an error-tolerant medical device. It is important that the developer consider the characteristics of the worst case user. It is this underlying philosophy that human factor experts are used for.

These Human Factors Principles are also embraced by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instruments (AAMI), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)