Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Posted in Product Liability

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E-Cigarette-1After a 17 year old boy recently died from vaping in the Bronx, the city of New York announced that it filed a federal lawsuit against 22 online sellers of e-cigarettes who have been caught selling their products to underage clients. These sellers allegedly targeted young people through social media and advertising for flavored e-cigarettes such as “Lemon Twist,” “Freddy’s Pebbles” and “Whipped Salted Caramel”. They also accepted online purchases from teenagers.

According to the lawsuit that was filed yesterday in US District Court in Brooklyn, the defendants sold e-cigarettes to two New York City residents who were younger than 21 year old but older than 18 year old.  In order to purchase the e-cigarettes online, the two young New Yorkers created an email address and used prepaid Visa gift cards. Among the 22 sellers who accepted the orders some of them didn’t use age verification services or sold the e-cigarettes despite the buyers indicating that they were younger than 21.  The companies then shipped the orders to an address in New York City that was controlled by the New York City Sheriff’s Office. No signature or identification were required.

Last month an emergency ban of flavored e-cigarettes was voted by New York State officials (see previous blog) but last week a New York Court halted the ban one day before it was supposed to take effect after an industry trade group named Vapor Technology Association appealed the decision. The case will now be heard by the Supreme Court in Albany on October 18th. Until that date the ban can’t be applied.

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N-NitrosodimethylamineEuropean and US Health regulators found that Zantac and other generic versions of the heartburn pill contain small amounts of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a cancer-causing chemical that is classified in the United States as an extremely hazardous substance.

No official recall announced but distribution of the potentially dangerous medication stopped by some companies

No official recall has been announced yet by Sanofi, the Zantac maker. Howver another big pharma, Novartis, which produces a generic version of the medication has announced that it stopped distributing the dangerous medication to the European and the American markets.

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E-Cigarette-16 people have now died in the US and 450 others, including 64 of them in New York, have suffered lung injuries connected to vaping. In order to prevent more deaths and injuries related to vaping in New York State, Governor Cuomo just announced that he is planning to issue an emergency regulation to ban all vape flavors beside tobacco and menthol.  By banning fruity and sweet flavors such as bubble gum,  cotton candy or captain crunch that are usually appealing to teenage customers, the governor hopes that he can fight addiction to nicotine at an early age.  Tobacco and menthol flavors will be allowed as some studies have indicated that vaping might help smokers to quit cigarettes. The American Lung Association released a statement criticizing Cuomo’s decision to keep tobacco and menthol flavors saying that it will just make more people addicted to menthol flavor.  The governor said a ban of menthol might be considered in the future.

Investigation by the NY Department of Health

In addition to the ban, the NY Department of health will also investigate the 64 cases of lung injuries that occurred in New York State.  So far it has been difficult to identify exactly what caused some vape users to check in to the emergency room however according to the NY Department of Health many cases were linked to cannabis products which contained a high level of vitamin E acetate. Vitamin E acetate acts as a thickening agent for vaping products. As a result of this preliminary investigation, Cuomo also directed the Department of Health to subpoena companies that are manufacturing and selling what is called “thickening agents” which are often added to black market products.

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Riding-mower-WikipediaAn alarming number of very young children have been seriously injured and some of them even died after someone, often a parent or a family member backed over them while riding a mower.  Most common injuries reported are amputations of hands, fingers, legs feet toes and limbs as well as mangled and ripped internal organs. In a recent article, Fair Warning, found 133 cases in court records since 2004 until now. Among them 8 of the victims died from their injuries. Another study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found that there was an average of 65 children injured every year in the US by riding mowers back-overs.

In the 1980ies after an epidemic of injuries related to walk-behind power mowers, The Consumer Product Safety Commission implemented mandatory safety standards for mowers but riding mowers were excluded from them. Some manufacturers propose riding mowers that can mow in reverse. These type of mowers are the most dangerous to young children. In 2003 after a rise of accidents a voluntary standard was adopted by lawn mower manufacturers. The standard requires that the blade immediately stops to spin when the mower riders back up. However the standard also allowed manufacturers to install a button that allows the driver to override the feature. Manufacturers are claiming that they installed the button at the request of their consumers who want more flexibility but safety advocates reply that the button is a good excuse for manufacturers to protect themselves from lawsuits.  However this excuse didn’t always work for the manufacturer Deere & Co. In a recent lawsuit involving a 2 year old girl whose leg was amputated after her dad backed over her while riding a Deere mower, the jury found that the mower was defective and awarded the victim $12.25 million. The jury found that Deere was responsible for 78% of the damages and put the rest of the blame on the father.

Read more in Fair Warning

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E-Cigarette-1E-Cigarettes are dangerous products that can lead to serious personal injury.  The New York Health Department is investigating 11 cases of teens and young adults who suffered severe lung illnesses after vaping. Their cases are among the 94 cases reported nationally to the Center for Disease Control. The CDC announced a few days ago that investigation in these cases were ongoing.

In New York, parents and kids will be protesting teen vaping Today in front of the JUUL offices in Manhattan.  Among the cases reported to the CDC, an 18 year old teenager said that he checked in at the emergency room after he had been using JUUL e-cigarette for a year and half. He felt like he was having a heart attack. Doctors found his lungs had collapsed and he had to go for immediate surgery. The doctors said that the inflammation in his lungs could have come from something he inhaled.

Vaping is extremely popular among young adults especially with high school and middle school students

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crying babyChildren and adolescents are prone to traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Among the 1.7 million patients diagnosed every year with TBI in the US, 700,000 are children below 19 year old. A recent study by Bina Ali, Bruce A Lawreence, Ted Miller from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation and Jennifer Allision from Health Imperative in Brockton, MA that was recently published in the Official Research Journal of the International Brain Injury Association (IBIA) investigate leading consumer products and activities that can cause children and adolescents to suffer traumatic brain injury.

By analyzing data from from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from 2010 to 2013, the searchers found that home furnishings and fixtures as well as sports and recreation products were the products most commonly associated with accidents causing TBI. Beds, stairs, floors and footballs are among the most dangerous products for children and teenager.

Toddlers and older teens most at risk of a TBI

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dangerous fake e-cigarette products are difficult to identifyDangerous vape products are flooding the US market warns New York Senator Chuck Schumer. These products are counterfeit vape pods that are compatible with the popular Juul e-cigarette devices. Juul e-cigarette devices can be bought everywhere in the US from drugstores to gas stations.  Juul says its products are helping adults to quit smoking cigarettes but at the same time the company is also heavily marketing its products to young people who never smoked before and become addicted to vaping.

HARD TO DIFFERENTIATE THE REAL FROM THE FAKE

Counterfeit Juul vape pods manufactured in China have been invading the US market.  Counterfeit are sometimes difficult to differentiate from real products  and  while the content of  the real Juul vape pods is regulated, the content of the counterfeit is obviously not and can contain higher amount of nicotine or dangerous chemicals. Therefore Juul users might be at risk of vaping toxic products without knowing it. Additionally Chinese counterfeiters are not only copying popular Juul flavors such as Mango but also creating flavor branded with names that are appealing to children such as  “juice box”, “candy cane” or “silky strawberry”. Such branding is illegal in the US.

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Chicken CoopIn 2018, 120 Americans died and 25,606 suffered illness after being contaminated by dangerous food. 5,893 of them had to be hospitalized to be treated. Produce caused half of the illnesses, then in order meat and poultry, dairy and eggs, fish and shellfish.

The infections are caused by 7 main bacteria ad 1 parasite:

  1. 9,084 cases of Salmonella caused 2,416 hospitalizations and 36 deaths. Salmonella is mainly found in eggs and chicken
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dangerous sleeper recalledThe Fisher Price rock’n play sleeper is dangerous as babies not only can roll over when unrestrained but they can also suffocate or die from strangulation. A recent investigation by Consumer Reports found that at least 32 babies died in accidents that occurred while they were resting in the Rock’n Play sleeper. A few days after the investigation was published, Fisher Price announced that it was recalling all 4.7 million Rock and Play sleepers.

Rock’n Play sleepers are inclined padded sleepers that automatically rock the babies to put them asleep. The product requires the baby to be inclined on its back and to be restrained which the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) doesn’t recommend. Safe sleep guidelines from the AAP recommend that babies be put in their bed alone on their back on a firm flat mattress, free form soft bedding.

Positional Asphixia

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Texting while driving can killApple recently dodged several  product liability lawsuits from families of victims of distracted driving crashes. The lawsuits claimed that Apple not only is aware that the Iphone triggers dangerous compulsive behaviors in some individuals but that the company has the technological means to prevent such behavior when a cellphone user is driving.

Back in 2008, the company submitted a patent for a lockout mechanism that disabled certain phone functions such as texting that could interfere with safe driving when the user is behind the wheel. In the patent, Apple indicated that it was fully aware of the dangers of its product by writing: “Texting while driving has become so widespread that it is doubtful that law enforcement will have any significant effect on stopping the process”.  Later on in 2017 Apple briefly introduced a “Do not Disturb while Driving App”. The app had to be activated by the user and critics said that compulsive users would not be the one activating it.

Despite being aware of the danger of its product, Apple still hasn’t implemented any technology to protect innocent people from being killed on the road on a daily basis. So far all product litigation against the popular company has been dismissed.  One of the most recent ones involved the family of 5 year old Moriah Modisette.  Back in 2014, Moriah was in a car with her parents and her sister on a highway in Dallas when Garrett Wilhelm crashed into their car.  Moriah died and her parents and sister were injured. The investigation found that at the time of the accident Wilhem was chatting on FaceTime.