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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hospira_gemstar_fda_recall.jpgAll GemStar Infusion Pumps that were either manufactured or had a pressure sensor replaced during servicing of the pump since January 1, 2009 are being subjected to a FDA Class I recall because of a potential pressure sensor calibration drift.

A calibration drift is a gradual degradation of the sensor and other components that can make readings offset from the original calibrated state. A pump with this issue may, instead of reporting an error, not detect occlusions or issue false occlusion alarms, which will stop the infusion and invoke visual and audible warnings to the user. This issue may also result in the pump shutting down.

As a consequence the patient therapy may be delayed or interrupted which may result in significant injury or death.

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BleaseSirius.pngSome potentially defective Anesthesia workstations and service kits manufactured by Spacelabs Helathcare are subject to a class I recall by the FDA. The recalled models are the BleaseSirius Anesthesia Workstation, the BleaseFocus Anesthesia Workstation, and Service Kits Part Number 050-0659-00 and 050-0901-00.

These products are used in hospitals. They provide respiratory support to deliver oxygen, air, and nitrous oxide in a controlled manner to various patient-breathing circuits with or without the use of a mechanical ventilator, and may be used to deliver anesthetic vapor.

The defective products may cause serious adverse health consequences, including death.

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By Anthony Gair

A. COST

Product liability cases are different from general negligence cases and even medical malpractice cases for several reasons. First and foremost is the cost involved in litigating these cases. The costs involved for the plaintiff’s attorney can be astronomical. It is not unusual to accumulate well over $100,000.00 in expenses prior to trial. Obviously, much more may be expended should the case proceed to trial. Thus, when you, as a plaintiff’s attorney, are considering the representation of an injured plaintiff, the first question that must be answered is whether it is worth the cost, time and resources that will have to be put into the prosecution of the case. It is suggested that, with some exceptions, a case not be undertaken unless it has a value in excess of seven figures. However, if you are dealing with a product with a documented manufacturing flaw or defect which you know has been previously litigated or recalled, the potential value of the case can be less. Similarly, in a design defect case, if there has been a product recall, the same applies. Further, if you have previously successfully litigated a case involving the same product there is no reason not to take it, even if it is not a seven figure case.

The plaintiff’s attorney must also understand that manufacturers are proud of their products and will not simply roll over and play dead. Many manufacturers have defense firms on retainer to handle cases brought against them throughout the country. These attorneys know the product involved, are generally highly experienced and have the best experts at their disposal in addition to the design engineers who designed the product. These national counsel have relationships with local attorneys who also have expertise in defending these cases.

Since most of the cases you will see are those involving alleged design defects and/or failure to warn this article will focus on those types of cases. It is suggested that if the only theory you can come up with is that of failure to warn, unless it is clear cut, you should be cautious about taking the case, since in New York culpable conduct is a defense to a Product Liability case. In practice, if you have a failure to warn case, you will usually have a design defect case as well.

B. TIME AND PUTTING IT TOGETHER

If you undertake to handle a product liability case, be prepared to spend a countless number of hours on it. Not only will you have to learn all there is about the particular product, as discussed further, you must learn the principles of safety design engineering. Similar to a medical malpractice case in which you must learn the area of medicine involved so as to effectively cross-examine the defendant doctors and their experts, the same is true as to the field of design engineering.

The most important first step is to choose the right expert or experts. Under no circumstances pick a generic expert, one that testifies in any type of case. It is imperative that you choose a case specific expert who has actually worked in the industry and will survive a Daubert/Frye preclusion motion.
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A defective suspension part in some Kia Sedona minivans can break and cause drivers to lose control of the vehicle.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the lower control arms near the wheels can rust and break due to salt exposure. To fix this issue, Kia motors announced today that it is recalling 80,000 Sedona minivans sold in the US between 2006 and 2012. The defective part will be inspected and fixed for free starting next month.

Read more here

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2008 Kia Sedona

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Some defectives guidewires manufactured by Medtronic can cause serious injury or death. The voluntary recall initiated by Medtronic in October was recently classified as a Class I recall by the US FDA.

Guidewires are inserted in arteries to guide and place stents. Those being recalled have a coating that can break off and block a blood vessel.

Medtronic initiated the recall after four problems were reported including one patient who suffered cardiac arrest but was resuscitated according to WebMD

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Volkswagen.jpg Volkswagen is recalling several popular models for the the following reasons:

– In order to prevent electric malfunctions 1.6 million VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat models with dual-clutch gearbox need to have their Synthetic Oil Lubricant replaced with Mineral Oil Lubricant

– 800,000 Tiguan SUV are being recalled to fix a potential defective lighting system

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Because Dietary supplements are available in health stores without prescriptions most consumers believe they are safe. But Some Body Building, Weight Loss and Sexual Enhancement dietary supplements contains hidden ingredients that can cause serious personal injury and sometimes lead to death.

Last week after 56 six cases of liver injuries and one death case were linked to the use of OxyElite Pro Dietary Supplements, the manufacturer USPlabs recalled all products containing Aegeline and VERSA -1, two illegal ingredients. (for more see USA Today)

The production of the sport supplement “Craze” was suspended by the manufacturer Driven Sports at the end of last month after tests conducted by the Harvard Medical School revealed the supplement contains potentially dangerous amounts of methamphetamine analog. The owner of Driven Sports, Matt Cahill was convicted in 2005 of felony charges for the sale of the weight-loss pills made from a highly toxic chemical pesticide banned from human consumption. He served two years in prison. (see Boston Globe)

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Seven car accidents and two injuries have been caused by a defective tie-rod assembly that became misaligned in some Chrysler Ram Trucks. The misalignment can lead to component fracture and steering loss. These accidents prompted a recall by Chrysler that will include an estimated 842,400 model-year 2003-2008 Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks. Two additional campaigns are being conducted to capture those vehicles known to have tie-rod assemblies linked to previous recalls. They comprise 294,000 model-year 2008-2012 Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups, chassis cabs and 2008 Ram 1500 4×4 Mega Cabs; plus 43,500 model-year 2008-2012 Ram 4500 and 5500 4×4 chassis cabs.

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buckyballs.jpgCases of serious personal injury such as small holes in the stomach and colon, colon blockage, blood poisoning and death have been reported in recent years to the CPSC after children swallowed two or more tiny magnetic stacking balls that attracted one another internally.

High-powered magnetic stacking balls such as Buckyballs,® are marketed to adults as a desk toy and stress reliever. They are used to create patterns and build shapes. They are usually sold in sets of 200 pieces or more in stationery, office supply and gift stores, and also on the Internet.

Even though they are prohibited for children younger than 14, growing reports of incidents led the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to recall Buckyball sets of tiny magnetic stacking balls declaring them a swallowing hazard to young children.

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Because a defective sensor may cause the car to brake on its own, Honda is recalling its Odyssey minivans from the 2007 and 2008 model years. Honda will install a new sensor on all recalled models. However new sensors will not be available until the spring of 2014.

In the meantime Honda recommends to minivan owners to start their vehicle with the wheels facing straight ahead, allowing the system to properly recalibrate. Drivers who experience unexpected braking should stop and restart the minivan. Tapping on the brake pedal “will immediately stop the self-braking action,” Honda said.

So far no injury or crash has been reported.