Articles Posted in Defective Products

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We trust that the products we purchase will be safe for the purpose intended. We also trust that when promises are made that a product will protect us from a given danger – whether that promise is express or implied – that it will do so. product liability

The solar eclipse that took place last month was an historic event, and people across the U.S. were eager to have an opportunity to experience it. Special sunglasses that could filter out the sun’s harmful ultra-violet rays were a must-have, and they were in particularly high demand.

However, according to one lawsuit, some manufacturers and vendors sold glasses that were not powerful enough to adequately block the dangerous rays, resulting in a range of vision problems, ranging from temporary discomfort to permanent blindness.

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A man who suffered catastrophic injuries due to a ladder fall emerged victorious in his personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer of the ladder from which he fell. The $11 million verdict he won at trial will stand, following a recent review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.ladder

In Baugh v. Cuprum, defendant manufacturer appealed the trial court’s refusal to grant a new trial on the grounds the district court wrongly allowed two of plaintiff’s expert witnesses to testify about critical issues. However, the appellate court ruled that both methodologies used by the two expert witnesses were adequate and most of defendant’s complaints were regarding the weight given to that expert witness testimony, rather than the admissibility. Defendant also argued it was entitled to a judgment in its favor as a matter of law because plaintiff failed to show the ladder was unreasonably dangerous and that this issue was the most likely cause of plaintiff’s accident. Here again, though, the court found there was sufficient evidence that demonstrated the accident was more likely caused by the ladder’s original design defect as opposed to any wrongful use of it, and there was also enough evidence that a reasonable alternative design existed. Therefore, the court affirmed the judgment.

Although multi-million dollar verdicts may not always be the norm, ladder falls are quite common. In fact, they are increasing. Between 1990 and 2005, the American Journal of Preventative Medicine reported the number of ladder-related injuries in the U.S. rose by 50 percent, with almost 1 in 10 victims needing to be hospitalized. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reports that 500,000 people are treated every year for ladder-related injuries and about 300 of those are fatal. These injuries are estimated to cost us all approximately $11 billion a year.  Continue reading →

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A man using chemical paint remover was seriously injured when the substance ignited and burned him. He and his wife filed a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of that chemical, alleging the warning labels were inadequate and the product was defectively designed. paintcan

A federal district court in Illinois granted summary judgment to defendant in Suarez v. W.M. Barr & Co. on both of these counts. Recently, though, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed in part. Specifically, the court ruled that while the label on the product did accurately describe the primary risks for consumers, there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the product was defectively design based on theories of strict liability and negligence.

Strict product liability is a legal rule that holds sellers, distributors and/ or manufacturers of defective products liable to the person injured by that product, regardless of whether defendant was negligent. In a claim alleging negligence, a defendant’s standard of conduct is central to proving liability. That is, defendant acted in a way that fell below the standard of reasonable conduct. In strict liability cases, however, the idea is that it doesn’t matter how defendant acted. Instead, what must be shown is that the product was in unreasonably dangerous condition, the seller expected/ intended the product would reach the consumer without changes and plaintiff was injured by defective product.  Continue reading →

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The highest court in California is taking on the issue of whether a brand name pharmaceutical company can be held liable for injuries caused by a generic version of a branded drug it no longer owns. pills8

Many courts are eyeing this case because federal law has essentially left users of generic drugs without much remedy when the drug they use proves defective. That’s because the warning and usage labels are created by the brand name manufacturer, but because brand name manufacturers aren’t the ones making the drugs at issue, many courts have held they cannot be liable. Then, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Pliva v. Mensing limited generic drug makers’ pharmaceutical injury liability. The Pliva decision is complicated, but the gist of it is that generic manufacturers aren’t liable for the injuries caused by their drugs.

In T.H. v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., granted review by the California Supreme Court earlier this month, the appeals court rejected the invitation by the defendant manufacturer to follow other state authorities that have held brand name drug manufacturers can’t be held liable under any theory for injury caused by a product other than its own. Will the California Supreme Court affirm?  Continue reading →

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Federal regulators are mulling a proposal to demand a recall of 90 million additional Takata airbags in the U.S., which would more than triple the number of defective products identified. road1

So far, 29 million of the devices have been recalled, with reports that they explode when deployed, sending metal shrapnel and other debris flying into the faces of front seat passengers and drivers. So far, 10 deaths have been linked to the problem and hundreds of others have suffered serious injuries.

At the behest of 10 automakers, a team of rocket scientists set out to identify the source of the rupturing airbags. They discovered the problem was a trifecta of issues: Humidity exposure, defective design and defective manufacturing. This was exacerbated by the fact the company used a volatile substance, ammonium nitrate, in the products.  Continue reading →

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The holidays are fast-approaching, and baby gifts are especially popular for those who are expecting. Baby bedding – including cribs, sheets and crib lining – is a $50 million annual industry. cribs

But concerns over crib safety have been mounting in recent years. It’s what led to the recall and eventual ban of drop-side cribs in 2011 after indications these products posed risk of serious injury and death to infants and toddlers. In more recent years, the focus has shifted to “crib bumpers,” the soft, pillow-like lining intended for use inside cribs that poses a risk of suffocation and strangulation for infants.

They are displayed prominently in stores in cute designs, intended to coordinate with the overall theme of the room. About 200,000 are sold annually. There have been several studies and recalls and lawsuits over the last four years, but still, they remain on sale. Continue reading →

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When a company shuts down operations, pays off creditors and steps away, those involved may believe that’s the end of it and begin moving onto other endeavors. However, if the company has products that may have caused injury to others, the firm could be subject to litigation well after the doors are closed.footprintsdust

In Florida, F.S. 607.1407 is known as the “corporate survival statute,” and it allows plaintiffs in tort actions to bring claims against the company for up to four years after it formally dissolves.

That assumes the company has properly dissolved – and not simply stopped operations – and that there was proper notification of that dissolution, either via public notice or personally to known creditors or claimants.

In the case of Williams v. Clark Sand Company, Inc., the  Mississippi Supreme Court was asked to weigh several issues pertaining to Florida’s corporate survival statute, and whether claims regarding latent injuries could be brought more than four years after the corporation dissolved. Continue reading →

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An injury lawsuit filed in a federal court in Los Angeles seeks class action status on behalf of all keyless car drivers. caringarage

The litigation alleges auto manufacturers should have initiated a recall of millions of keyeless entry and ignition models because the vehicles apparently did not shut off automatically when the driver failed to press the start and stop buttons. This, plaintiffs allege, put drivers at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Already, plaintiffs assert there have been more than dozen deaths associated with this issue. There have also been numerous “close calls,” wherein people were able to evade danger before it turned deadly. Continue reading →

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First, the good news: The risk of becoming seriously ill as a result of an infection from dangerous strains of E. coli or salmonella dropped sharply last year. ecoli

But the bad news: Food-borne illness arising from lesser-known infections is on the rise. Specifically of concern are bacteria such as Vibrio and Campylobacter.

That’s according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recently released its “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.” The agency notes food-borne disease represents a substantial and yet mostly preventable health burden on the U.S.

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The case of Reckis v. Johnson & Johnson is a victory not just for a young girl and her family, who endured unimaginable suffering and whose lives have been forever altered, but also for consumers nationwide.childsad

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justices recently affirmed a $63 million judgment in favor of the family – $50 million for the girl and $6.5 million for each parent – following a case that began with a slight fever and a few doses of ibuprofen.

The girl was just 7 when she complained to her dad of a stuffy nose. He noticed she was warm too. Like countless other parents in the same situation, he purchased a bottle of Children’s Motrin, produced by a subsidiary of defendant manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. He read the label on the bottle and noted nothing alarming.

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