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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Nap%20Manny%20Product%20Defect.jpgNap Nanny and Chill recliners create a substantial product hazard. The products have design defects, as a result of which their use presents a risk of personal injury to infants. Further, the instructions and warnings are inadequate according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The recall is part of settlement of an administrative complaint filed in 2012 by CPSC against Baby Matters LLC of Berwyn, Pa., which sought a recall of of the Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill infant recliners affter the death of five infants. CPSC staff and Baby Matters LLC reached a settlement agreement that includes the recall and ends the legal proceeding against the company.

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Houck_Rental_Car_Crash.jpg Raechel and Jacqueline Houck died driving a rental car that had been recalled for a power steering hose defect but had not been repaired. The car caught fire because of the defect while traveling on the highway, causing a loss of steering and a head-on collision with a semi-trailer truck.

To make sure this tragedy is not repeated, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) have introduced a bill that would ban rental car companies from renting cars that have been recalled by manufacturers. The bill is named in memory of the two sisters who tragically died in a rental car that had been recalled by the manufacturer but wasn’t repaired by the rental car company (see picture).
Hearing in the Senate is planned for May 21st.

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After 4 children died and 360 suffered injury in 1200 strollers incidents that occurred from 2008 through 2012, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently proposed a federal safety standard for strollers.

The report of incidents would scare any mother or caregiver. In one of the fatal accidents the head of the infant became entrapped between the seat and the tray. In the second fatality the infant’s head was wedged between the car seat of a travel system and a metal bar located under the cup holder. In the third accident the stroller collapsed on the child resulting in asphyxiation. In the fourth incident the stroller fell off a dock and the child drowned, however there were not sufficient details to define whether incident was product related.

Among the non fatal incidents reported injuries were mostly lacerations requiring stitches, tooth extractions, fractures head injuries and partial amputation of fingers.

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A new study published in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, shows that Amioradone, marketed since 1985 and used for arrhythmia or irregular heartbeats may increase cancer especially for patient using large doses.

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Products Liability in New York, (Strategy and Practice) Second Edition Published by The New York State Bar Asscociation, Author: Neil A. Goldberg, Esq.; John Freedenberg, Esq.; Editors-in-Chief is now available for purchase. Click here to order. Neil is recognized as one of the leading Products Liability defense lawyers in the United States as is his firm Goldberg Segalla,LLP. He is past president of the Defense Research Institute (DRI), the largest organization of civil defense attorneys in the United States.

Anthony Gair is co-author of the chapter entitled “Culpable Conduct/Comparative Fault Issues as Applicable to a Products Liability Case”

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Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf has been named 2013 Law Firm of the Year, Personal Injury Litigation-Plaintiffs as well as being listed in six practice areas in the just released ranking of law firms by U.S. News Media Group, the publishers of U.S. News & World Report, and Best Lawyers®. This is the third edition of this highly-anticipated annual analysis.

Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf was nationally ranked in the top tier in Plaintiffs Product Liability Litigation, Medical Malpractice Law, Professional Malpractice Law and Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions. The firm also ranked in the top tier in six legal specialties in the New York City Metropolitan Area in Plaintiffs Legal Malpractice, Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury Litigation, Product Liability Litigation, Professional Malpractice Law and Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions in the New York Metropolitan area.

Inclusion in the “Best Law Firms” listing is based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes data collection, evaluation and feedback from thousands of clients, lawyers and law firm representatives spanning a wide range of practice areas nationwide.

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On Tuesday, November 1, 2011, Cardozo Law School will hold a seminar on Opening Statements for more than 100 students as a prerequisite to its Intensive Trial Advocacy Program (ITAP). Featured Speakers at the lecture include Ben Rubinowitz, and Judith Livingston. Both Rubinowitz and Livingston have been recognized as two of the most successful Trial Lawyers in New York and both are members of the Inner Circle of Advocates — a group of the top 100 Trial Attorneys in the Country. Each of these speakers has obtained multiple million dollar verdicts in areas including Medical Malpractice claims, Automobile Accident cases, Construction Accident cases, Products Liability claims and Civil Rights violations. In the past both Rubinowitz and Livingston have been asked to give demonstrations of their successful Trial Techniques at the annual Continuing Legal Education program “Masters of Trial Law Seminar.” Rubinowitz stated “It is an honor to be asked to participate in this program. I am delighted that Judy Livingston will be joining me in this event.”

Learn more about ITAP:

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A Mobile jury awarded a $40 million wrongful death judgment to the parents of a Mobile County teenager who was killed in a 2004 car accident. The judgment was against Kia Motors and the makers of a seatbelt buckle. Tiffany Stabler was ejected from the vehicle after she struck a sign and the car overturned. Witnesses said that she was wearing her seatbelt, while Kia maintained that she was not.

Stabler was driving a 1999 Kia Sephia that her father had bought for her 16th birthday. Kia officials knew that seatbelts in the 1999 model vehicles were faulty, according to plaintiff testimony, but did not include them in a recall of 1995-1998 vehicles.

Read More: Mobile County jury slaps Kia with $40 million wrongful death verdict

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By; Anthony Gair,

In personal injury cases predicated upon the negligent design of a product,(product liability cases), such as almost any type of machine which is to be used by people of varying training and skill it is imperative for the plaintiff’s attorney to understand the basics of machine design. This is crucial in New York where the plaintiff’s culpable conduct is a defense to a strict product liability action so that the percentage of fault for his injury may be, if not eliminated, reduced as much as possible. It is not enough for an attorney to simply ask a product design engineer at deposition how the product works. Such questions alone are pointless and will not result in a deposition which can be used to defeat a motion for summary judgment, or at trial, to impeach the product design engineer. As in any deposition the lawyer must ask himself what the purpose of the deposition is. Is it merely to gather information or is it to cross examine the witness so he will be pinned down at trial? In a product liability case in New York the plaintiff is allowed to serve extensive interrogatories. Hence if well drafted the plaintiff’s attorney will have most of the discovery needed for both deposition and trial. Hence it is submitted that the primary purpose of the deposition of a product design engineer is to cross examine him on the principles of design engineering. Similar to a deposition of a physician in a medical malpractice case where the plaintiff’s lawyer must know the medicine as well, if not better, then the physician the plaintiff’s lawyer must know the principles of design engineering as well as the design engineer. If one is not willing to learn this area there is no reason to undertake a complex product design defect case. The plaintiff’s lawyer must check the college and graduate school curriculum for the field of design engineering and read as many of the texts used in design engineering courses as possible.. If a lawyer is not willing to make this commitment he is better off referring the case to a specialist in product design defect cases. The following is a basic discussion of the principles of machine design.

Machine design is a sub-specialty of mechanical engineering. In designing machines, design engineers must take into consideration that a machine, will be used by people of varying intelligence, education and skill. “Human factors engineering, engineering psychology, and ergonomics are largely overlapping segments of a common area of interest: the analysis and design of the conditions affecting people operating in concert with machines”. 1
Ergonomics, or Human Factors Engineering and Design as it is commonly referred to in the United States, involves the consideration by the design engineer of human factors and characteristics when designing safety features into machines. The cardinal principal is that it is human nature to err, that is, people make mistakes. It is standard and accepted practice that the concept of human error be taken into consideration when designing a machine. A machine, must be designed to reduce, as much as is technologically feasible, without destroying the utility of the machine, foreseeable actions by the operator causing injury or death.

In designing a machine a hazard analysis must be done. From a design engineering standpoint a hazard is a condition that has the potential of causing or contributing to injury.

Danger in the context of safety design engineering theory means a higher probability of the risk of an identified hazard causing injury. Risk is the probability of being injured by an identified hazard.

When a design engineer has identified a foreseeable dangerous hazard, there is a safety design priority recognized by all design engineers with reference to preventing injury from the identified hazard which is a follows:

A. Design out the hazard if one can do so without destroying the ability of the machine to function or utility of the machine.

B. If an identified hazard cannot be designed out of the machine without destroying its ability to function or utility the next goal of the design engineer is to guard against it causing injury by incorporating guards or other safety devices.

C. The last alternative is that if one can’t design out the hazard because doing so would destroy the utility of the machine and one can’t guard against it by incorporating guards or safety devices, the last priority is to warn about it. It is the ethical responsibility of the design engineer for the machine to develop a safe functional design which eliminates or greatly reduces the potential for human error on the part of the machine operator causing injury to him self or others.

The following are sample questions that should be asked in a design defect case at the deposition of the design engineer who designed the product;
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Seatbelt manufacturer sued
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The family of a deceased woman has filed suit against a seatbelt manufacturer in Texas federal court. The suit alleges her seatbelt failed to meet safety standards required at the state and federal level and by the manufacturer’s own internal requirements.

Sandra Dozier was driving a 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix when she lost control of the car and it rolled over. She was killed in the accident despite wearing a seatbelt. TRW Vehicle Safety Systems is the manufacturer accused of producing an unreasonably dangerous restraint system.

The suit seeks damages for loss of care, loss of companionship and society, mental anguish, medical and funeral expenses, interest and court costs, among other losses.