Archive for the ‘Products’ Category

Seat Belt Recall

May 4, 2008

Toyota Motor Corp. has recalled 90,189 Highlander SUV’s because third-row seat belts may not lock in some child-safety seats.  So far, there have been no complaints of injuries as a result of the defect, but what if there had been?

The U. S. Chamber of Commerce talks about frivilous lawsuits and the need for extreme tort reform measures.  Those measures infringe upon the rights of individuals who are seriously injured or killed as a result of defects such as these.  Had one of these seat belts malfunctioned and led to the death of a child, shouldn’t Toyota be held responsible?  Toyota wouldn’t be responsible because they intended to kill someone, but our laws say that if you put a product into the stream of commerce and that product is defective, you are liable for the damages you cause.  That’s not frivilous.  THAT’S THE LAW!!!!

Defective Seat Belt

February 28, 2008

The Orlando Sentinel has reported that in West Palm Beach, Florida, a jury has awarded a family $11 million due to the ejection of their 25 year old son from a 2000 Mitsubishi Montero SUV.  Scott Laliberte was ejected out of the rear window even though he was belted on the passenger side.  According to the family, the seat belt in the Montero SUV was defective.

What really led to the verdict was the fact that Mitsubishi released a new version of the vehicle halfway through the 2000 model year to correct the seat belt flaws.  Unfortunately for purchasers prior to the new release, Mitsubishi did not tell them of the problems.  As a result, people such as Scott Laliberte were not protected from the defect.  According to the article, “Mitsubishi’s reputation has been battered by a scandal about the systematic cover-up of auto defects that resulted in massive recalls.  The scandal surfaced in 2000, when the company acknowledged it had hidden defects for decades, secretly repairing them without proper recalls despite reports of dozens of accidents.”

Why do we have civil lawsuits and juries?  We have them so that companies understand that if they do not do the proper thing, they will suffer the financial consequences.  Unless juries render awards such as this $11 million, the rest of the country will not hear about it, and other automotive manufacturers will not hear about it.  When they hear about these awards, they will hopefully change their ways.

Bayer AG and 60 Minutes and Trasylol

February 16, 2008

Cory Watson Crowder & DeGaris has filed numerous lawsuits over the drug Trasylol.  The drug is manufactured by Bayer AG, and it is used to prevent excessive bleeding during coronary artery bypass graft surgery.  According to the Birmingham News, the lawsuits involve allegations over individuals who have suffered permanent kidney damage after being given the drug. 

Apparently, the FDA suspended the marketing of Trasylol in November, 2007.  However, 60 Minutes will report that “22,000 additional lives could have been saved if the FDA had taken action to remove the drug from the market in 2006.”  Brian Turner, an attorney at Cory Watson Crowder & DeGaris, is quoted as saying, “[t]his drug, which most patients never knew they received during their surgery has caused significant injuries and loss of life due to severe and possibly life-threatening kidney problems.”

These types of cases are difficult due to the balance between attempts to improve medical care and putting dangerous drugs on the market without adequate testing.  The inherent problem is the fact that drug makers are in business to make a profit, and they are competing with other drug makers.  Consequently, they race to get drugs to market for fear that their competitors will beat them.  The “side effects” of such competition can be dangerous drugs on the market before they are adequately tested.  These types of lawsuits make such companies reassess what is important:  racing to get the drug to market to make a profit or making sure it is safe for the public.  Which would you say is more important?

If you would like more information on this or think you might have a potential claim, please contact our firm at jon@lewis-attorneys.com or (888) 295-7409.

Rating Child Safety Seats

February 1, 2008

According to the Associated Press and the Birmingham News, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is changing the way it rates car seats for children.  They are going to a five-star rating system for car seats.  This new system will assist parents in selecting car seat models.  The rating system will consider ease of installation, ability to secure a child, labeling, and instruction manuals.

According to NHTSA,  seven out of ten car seats are either the wrong size or misused.  Obviously, these factors increase the risk for injury to children.  As a parent who has experienced the frustration with the use of car seats, this is a welcome aid in assisting us with selecting car seats.  As an attorney who pursues product liability claims, this is also a welcome system to help reduce tragic incidents.

Ford Wins

January 19, 2008

Ford won a products liability lawsuit in Henry County, Alabama on Tuesday, January 15, 2008.  The case arose from an accident which occurred in 2000 wherein a 28 year old woman, Pamela Jackson Davis, was thrown from the Ford Expedition.  According to the complaint, Ms. Jackson’s estate alleged that the seat belt and the glass were defective, and had they not been, Ms. Jackson would have survived the crash.  Ford, however, argued that she was not wearing her seat belt and that the glass was not defective.

Apparently, the jury agreed with Ford.  The attorney for Ford, Harlan Prater of the Birmingham law firm Lightfoot Franklin White, LLC, expressed sympathy for the family of Ms. Davis; however, he was glad to see the jury saw that the Ford Expedition was a good, safe vehicle.

This case is another example of juries getting it right.  When the jury rules in favor of the defendant, you don’t hear plaintiff attorneys complaining.  They know that their clients were given a fair shot at proving their case, and a jury of their peers made a decision.  When that happens, they live with the jury’s decision.  Why do businesses, corporations, insurance companies, etc. always say the jury got it wrong when they lose?  Some might call this being a sore loser.  I think, however, that these entities just don’t like it when twelve people rule that they did something careless, reckless, and wrong, and even worse, they cannot stand to lose money.  Follow the dollar.

Merck Changes Mind

November 13, 2007

Merck vowed to fight til the death.  They vowed to litigate each Vioxx case to conclusion.  Apparently, that vow only applied until the statute of limitations ran on most of the cases. 

On Friday, November 9, 2007, Merck agreed to a global settlement for the Vioxx cases in the amount of $4.85 billion dollars.  According to Merck’s executive vice president, Kenneth Frazier, “without this settlement, the litigation might very well stretch on for years.”  Didn’t they know this when they defiantly stated they would try each case?  Surely, their thousands of attorneys making enormous hourly rates informed them of this fact.  So, why settle at this stage of the game?  After only fifteen (15) trials (they estimate that there are 45,000-50,000 lawsuits pending)?  That’s a far cry from fighting to the death.

Maybe it’s because Merck knows it has problems.  In fact, in the settlement agreement, Merck makes a huge concession which contradicts its position over the last few years.  To qualify for the settlement, claimants will have to show that they received enough pills to support a presumption that they were ingested within two weeks before injury.  Previously, Merck claimed that Vioxx caused harm only after eighteen (18) months of use.  Hmmm.  That’s a pretty big concession from a company that was fighting every case to verdict.

A Montgomery, Alabama attorney, Andy Birchfield, a partner with the law firm Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis, & Miles, P.C. led the negotiating committee for the MDL (Multi District Litigation).  According to Jere Beasley, “it was a very good settlement which will ensure that those who suffered injuries as a result of Vioxx are compensated fairly and efficiently.”  Isn’t that what Merck should have done to begin with?

Baby Seats Recalled

October 26, 2007

Babies have been seriously injured as a result of defective baby seats.  The manufacturer is Bumbo International of South Africa.  When infants are in the seats and arch their backs, they can flip out of the seat and fall onto the floor.  This situation is especially dangerous when the seat is placed on a raised surface such as a table or countertop.

Bumbo International baby seats are sold by Target, Wal-Mart, Sears, Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us, USA Baby and other stores.  They were sold from August 2003 through October 2007.  For more information, consumers may call 877-932-8626 or visit the following two sites:  www.bumbosafety.com or www.cpsc.gov.

Product Recalls (CPSC)

April 12, 2007

The following products have been recalled for safety issues:

Ford has announced that it will recall more that 500,000 Escapes from the 2001-2004 model years.  This recall is due to potential engine fire hazards as a result of corrosion with anti-lock brake connectors.

For more information, go to the following link:

Associated Press, Los Angeles Times 4/11/07
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-briefs11.5apr11,1,268989.story?coll=la-headlines-business

Sears Craftsman Circular Saws

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a hazard warning with regard to the above-referenced saws as a result of potential laceration injuries due to the potential for the label to detach and interefere with the blade guard.  The government link is below.

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml07/07149.html

Chanukah Candles

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a voluntary recall of approximately 9,000 Chanukah Oil Candles imported by Aviv Judaica Imports Ltd., of Brooklyn, N.Y. and distributed by Ahron’s Judaica, of Brooklyn, N.Y.  The oil candles can become engulfed in flames and melt the plastic cups holding the candles in place, allowing hot wax to leak out, which poses fire and burn hazards to consumers.

Here is the government link:

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml07/07150.html

Hot Water Boilers

NY Thermal Inc., of Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada, is voluntarily recalling about 4,800 NTI Trinity Gas-Fired Hot Water Boilers.  A boiler fitting may leak which can lead to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Here is the government link.

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml07/07151.html

Easter Baskets

Gemmy Industries Corp., of Coppell, Texas, is voluntarily recalling about 8,500 Disney Princesses Easter Baskets. Silver beads and ribbons attached to the basket can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.

Here is the government link.

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml07/07152.html

Bicycle Brake Caliper

SRAM Corp., of Chicago, Ill., is voluntarily recalling about 5,400 units of SRAM Force Road Brake Caliper Sets. The brake caliper sets could break and detach from the bicycle’s fork or frame causing loss of control.

Here is the government link.

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml07/07153.html

Children’s Puzzles

Small World Toys, of Culver City, Calif., is voluntarily recalling about 78,500 units of “Sounds on the Farm” Puzzle and “Sounds on the Go” Puzzle. The knobs on the recalled puzzle pieces can come off, posing a choking hazard to young children.

Here is the government link.

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml07/07154.html

For more information on product recalls, you may visit the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at www.cpsc.gov.  You may also contact the CPSC at the following numbers:

Firm’s Hotline: (800) 688-2575
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908


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