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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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A defective moped lithium battery is at the origin of a fire that killed 9 year old Remi Fernandez in his new apartment in Queens. Remi had just moved with his parents into a new apartment located on 102nd Road near 84th Street in  Ozone Park, Queens, when a fire that was sparked by the battery of a moped charging in the apartment erupted around 2:00 am while the family was sleeping. Remi’s father suffered burn injuries as he was trying to rescue his little boy from their basement apartment. The apartment where the family had just moved in had no smoke alarm. The basement had been illegally converted into an apartment.  The rest of the building was deemed unsafe by the Department of Buildings and all residents had to be evacuated. 10 other people including a firefighter were injured and transported to the hospital to be treated.

55 fires caused by defective lithium ion batteries over the last 12 months in New York City

Fire caused by defective lithium-ion batteries are on the rise in New York City. According to the NY Daily News, there were 55 fires caused by these types of batteries in New York City between August 1st 2020 and August 1st 2021 compared to 22 for the same period a year earlier.  Sadly Remi is not the first victim to die in one of these fires. Last May in the Bronx, a 91 year old woman died and 11 people were injured in a fire sparked by a defective lithium battery in the third floor apartment of a six-story building in the Bronx. Earlier in January, a   scooter charging in the living room of a Bronx apartment was at the origin of another fire that killed one and injured 12 others.

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Ventricular_assist_device (1)Medtronic stopped the sale of the defective HeartWare Ventricular Assist Device, or HVAD last June after more than 3,000 patients died and 20,000 were injured.

Since 2011, multiple problems with the device have been reported to the Food and Drug Administration but the agency never took any decisive action to make sure the manufacturer  fixed the problems. The FDA and its Center for Devices and Radiological Health are in charge of making sure that medical devices are safe and effective for patients however as we highlighted in a previous blog, the agency policy is too accommodating with manufacturers. It has the power to seize products or to issue fines but rarely uses it.

In the case of the HeartWare Ventricular Assist Device, the FDA knew about issues with the product as early as 2011 when the product was developed by the parent company HeartWare and was seeking FDA approval. An inspector mentioned in its report that engineers were not reviewing documents fully before approving them and that the employee assigned to quality control did not have sufficient training. The company told the FDA they would take corrective actions.

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FDA-logoMany defective medical devices might still be used by medical professionals because deaths that occurred when using these devices are being mislabeled as injuries in the FDA Medical Database according to a study published last week in JAMA Network. The study looked at 290,141 reports of defective medical devices that resulted in serious injuries or deaths that were processed by an algorithm. They found that 52% were classified as deaths and 47.9% were classified by the algorithm as malfunction, injury, other or missing. Among these 47.9% that were not classified as death, 23% of these reports were indeed death reports that were not classified proprely by the algorithm. As a result many deadly devices might still be used on patients.  The FDA must review all reports classified as death but does not routinely review all reports that are classified as other or misfunction.

The most dangerous of all medical devices were the ventricular assist bypass devices. These devices represented 13% of all adverse event reports. Coming in second position was the dialysate concentrate for hemodialysis in liquid or in powder with 8.7% of all adverse event reports. The third most reported defective devices were the transcervical contraceptive tubal occlusion devices with 5% of all adverse reports.

The authors of the study also mention that 95% of the adverse event reports were made by manufacturers and not by healthcare facilities or physicians which might constitute a conflict of interest. The authors note that delays in reporting serious injuries or deaths were common. An example of this issue was the Essure permanent birth control device. 32,000 women reported issues with this device between 2002 and 2013 while the FDA only received 1,023 reports.

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dangerous sunscreen productsSome popular sunscreens and after-sun products contain a high level of benzene, a carcinogen linked to blood cancer, according to recent tests effectuated by Valisure, a consumer protection group. No level of benzene in cream, spray or lotions is safe for humans. Additionally previous studies have also found that  applying sunscreen increases the penetration of benzene through the human skin.

Valisure fount the highest level of benzene in the following  products:

  • The SPF 100+ Ultra Sheer Weightless Sunscreen Spray by Neutrogena with up to 6.26 ppm average level of benzene in a tested batch 
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Gair-Gair_Tony-Gair_02Our partner Anthony Gair has carved out a reputation as one of the best product liability lawyers in NYC.  Yesterday he talked to CNBC journalist Lauren Thomas about the refusal by Peloton to comply with the Consumer Product Safety Commission and recall its high-end treadmill Tread+. 

Multiple children  and a pet have been injured and recently a child died in a Peloton Tread+ treadmill accidents but Peloton has been very reluctant to cooperate with the federal safety agency. The company is fighting a request to recall the dangerous product and refuses to provide the name of the child who recently died after getting stuck under the high end Peloton treadmill.

“The CPSC must have reason to believe that the treadmill wasn’t designed appropriately” said Anthony Gair.  According to him, Peloton might not have done a hazard analysis before launching the product or if they did, he questions if they knew about the danger and ignored it.

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Paraquat is a dangerous herbicideMultiple personal injury and product liability lawsuits have recently been filed against Syngenta, a Swiss company manufacturing the weed-killer Paraquat.

According to the lawsuits, the manufacturer omitted to mention to its customers the risk of Parkinson’s disease caused by exposure to Paraquat despite knowing about it.  Syngeta was aware that exposure to its weed-killer Paraquat increased the likelihood of getting Parkinson’s disease by two to five times but concealed it to its customers according to the lawsuits.

All plaintiffs contracted Parkinson’s disease after being exposed to Paraquat

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headquarter of HyundaiOwners of selected models of Hyundai Genesis cars as well as other electric models have been warned by Hyundai that their cars were at risk of catching fire and should be parked away from home and other structures or flammable material until they repair their vehicles.

Models of Hyundai Genesis sold in 2015 and 2016, Hyundai Genesis G80 sold between 2017 and 2020 and Hyundai Genesis G70 sold between 2019 and 2021 might have defective anti-lock brake system modules that could malfunction internally and cause an electrical short resulting in engine compartment fire while driving or during parking. Owners of these vehicles must get them repaired and make sure to park them away from their home or other structures that might catch fire until repairs are done.

Hyundai also issued another recall for fire on some of its electrical vehicles. Some 2019-2020 Hyundai Kona Electric and 2020 Hyundai Ioniq Electric vehicles might have defective battery cells causing internal electric shorts that can result in a fire while driving, parking or charging the battery. The owners of these vehicles have also been asked by Hyundai to park their vehicle away from anything that could catch fire until the defect is repaired.  Hyundai is facing similar problems in Korea and vehicle owners are not happy about the manner Hyundai has been handling the repair according to a recent article in Reuters .

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Some hand sanitizers can be dangerous for consumers  as they contain a high level of benzene, a carcinogen which can be absorbed by the skin and cause leukemia and other blood cells cancers.  These products are particularly harmful to children. Valisure, an independent lab, recently tested 260 hand sanitizers and found that 44 among them contained benzene and among these 44, 21 contained a level of benzene that was above the 2 parts per million (ppm) allowed in liquid sanitizers by the FDA. These products are especially dangerous to children.

The Top 5 most dangerous hand sanitizers were:

dangerous hand sanitizer1. Artnaturals hand sanitizer,  SCENT FREE NATURAL ELEMENTS + CLEANSING FORMULA 8 fl oz (236 ml), produced in China and distributed by artnaturals ® ,Gardena, CA 90248

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treadmill can be dangerousThe company Peloton just announced that a child died in an accident that involves one of their “Tread+” treadmills and issued a safety warning asking Peloton users to keep children under 16 year old and pets away from their equipment.  Peloton and other at home gym equipment companies have seen their sales rocketing over the last year with more and more consumers preferring working out at home instead of at the gym during the covid19 crisis.

While the Peloton CEO did not release the circumstances of the accident citing family privacy,  earlier this year, in February, another child sustained serious brain injury after he was trapped under a Peloton Tread+ Machine. According to an incident report filed with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, a 3 year old boy was found by his dad  under the Treadmill, not breathing and pulseless. The boy had tread marks on his back matching the machine as well as neck and face injuries. He was resuscitated but sustained serious brain injuries.  In the below video (at 0.51 seconds) a mom  shows how easily a medicine ball gets stuck under the treadmill as she is working out. The USCPSC has now started an investigation related to the accident that lead to the death of a child.

Treadmills can be dangerous

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rhino-pillRhino Pills and other herbal sex supplements for men often contain hidden ingredients that have caused injuries and even, in rare cases death to consumers.  These types of supplements can still be found at many gas stations around the country, at Walmart and on Amazon despite multiple FDA warnings and  the original manufacturer of the Rhino pill being sentenced yesterday to 4 years in prison.

Nam Hyun Lee, an illegal immigrant from South Korea based in California got into the business of selling sex herbal supplements in 2015.  His marketing was convincing with flashy Rhino labels and consumers quickly noticed that the supplements were actually working. Lee illegally  spiked his herbal supplements with Sildenafil or Tadalafil, the drugs used in Viagra and Cialis. The drugs were illegally imported from China, packaged at warehouses in Southern California and shipped all over the country. Lee was caught when one of the drug packages sent under the description “acrylic paint” was seized by custom agents and tested positive for Sildenafil.  He was arrested in 2018 and has been in federal custody since that date. It is estimated he sold between $3 million and $9 million of sex supplements.

While Lee has been convicted, other unscrupulous competitors quickly took over the market and continue to sell the Rhino brand name or other variations of sex herbal supplements.  Gas stations, Walmart and Amazon still sell them despite multiple FDA warnings.