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 Tagged with product liability

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Defective Hoverboard Lazy BoardDespite the many fire accidents and injuries caused by defective lithium-ion battery packs in hoverboards, the toy remains among the most popular holiday gifts. If you or your kids own a self balancing scooter or if you are planning to buy one as a gift you should visit the Consumer  Product Safety Commission website and check on the recent Self Balancing Scooter recalls. Here are some of the most recently recalled models:

  • The Layz Board hoverboard was recently the subject of a second warning by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. According to the agency this hoverboard caused a fire on October 23, 2017, in Manchester Township, Pennsylvania, which destroyed one town home and damaged four others. The hoverboard was the object of a previous warning in May 2017 after two young girls died in a house fire caused by the Layz Board hoverboard on March 10, 2017, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • Salvage World just recalled 700 Smart Balance Wheel self-balancing Scooters/Hoverboards. The battery can overheat and pose a risk of smoking, exploding or catching fire
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AirbagTakata just recalled an additional 2.7 million vehicles that may have a defective airbag. The recalls affect Ford Mazda and Nissan models from 2005 to 2012 that have a PSDI-5 PSAN airbag inflator. These types of airbags are only installed on the driver side. The PSDI-5 PSAN airbag inflators are a different type of airbag than the type of airbags recalled in the past by Takata.

The PSDI-5 PSAN airbag inflator is a desiccated inflator. Desiccated inflators contain calcium sulfate the purpose of which is to prevent the ammonium nitrate inside the airbag to deteriorate in case of humidity or high temperature. The ammonium nitrate is the most important component of the airbag. It inflates the airbag in case of  an accident. If the ammonium nitrate deteriorates, the airbag may not inflate proprely and may explode causing potential injury or death to the car driver and the passengers.

In its report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Takata indicates that the PSDI-5 PSAN airbag inflator posed a potential risk to the car occupants. When testing the inflator, Takata found that the amonium nitrate used to inflate the airbag was showing signs of deterioration and could lead to a breakage over time. However Takata  also indicates that so far in all the testing conducted none of the inflators tested broke off.

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Colgate Total potentially dangerousTriclosan and triclocarban are two potentially dangerous antimicrobial ingredients that can be found in many consumer products. These two ingredients as well as 17 other antimicrobial ingredients were banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last September in “antiseptic wash products that are intended for use with water and are rinsed off after use, including hand washes and body washes”. However the scope of  the FDA final rule was too narrow and many consumer products such as Colgate’s Total toothpaste still contain these dangerous ingredients.

According to “The Florence Statement on Triclosan and Triclocarban”, a recent scientific statement published by the journal “Environmental Health Perspectives”, the usage of these two chemicals  is still widespread. Because they are mostly used in wash products, they end up in the sink with the water and have negative repercussions on the environment.  They have been detected in aquatic plants and animals as well as in human blood and breast milk. It is present in the urine of most humans. Previous studies have  linked Triclosan and Triclocvarban to developmental problems in animals. They may potentially affect pregnant womenand harm human fetuses and newborns.

In the “The Florence Statement on Triclosan and Triclocarban” the scientific community, health professionals from all around the world and various US  universities and medical institutions are urging manufacturers around the world to limit or to stop using these ingredients in their products. They also ask that regulatory authorities such as the FDA re-evaluate the safety of these chemicals and to make sure that products that still contain them are banned or at least clearly labelled.

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GM logoAfter the scandal of the defective ignition-switch that lead to the death of at least 124 people, GM is again suspected of mishandling a recall related to defective headlights.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced this week in a report that they are now investigating a 2015 GM recall of  429,000 vehicles with a possible defective Headlamp Driver Modul (HDM). The 2015 recall occurred after customers complained that the HDM was not operating proprely and that the low beam headlamps and daytime running lamps were failing to illuminate. The following vehicles were recalled: model year (MY) 2005-2009 Buick LaCrosse, 2006-2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer/GMC Envoy/Buick Rainier, 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer EXT/GMC Envoy XL, 2006-2008 Isuzu Ascender/ Saab 9-7X, and 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix vehicles.

The NHTSA now suspects that the scope of the GM recall was too limited. Since the recall occurred the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) received 128 complaints related to issues with headlights of GM cars that were not included in the recall but built in the same year as the recalled models. Most vehicle owners complained that they simultaneously lost both headlights with no warning. The ODI also found out that vehicle owners whose cars were repaired after reporting that headlight failed to illuminate had the same component replaced as the component that was replaced in the recalled cars.

So far no crashes have been reported. In one of the reports the owner of a 2007 Chevrolet TrailBlazer said that both headlights failed as he was driving during a rainy night on a steep curvy highway. He explained that he was facing a truck in a curve and as he dimmed his headlights they both shut down and all he could hear was the horn of the truck trying to avoid his car. When he complained to GM, GM’s answer was:  ‘No recall. Your problem.’

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defective Tic Tac Toe GameA defective child product was recalled Today by Target. If you recently bought the Magnetic Tic Tac Toe Game you should be aware that this game set is defective and extremely dangerous for your children. The magnets can detach from the game pieces and pose a chocking hazard. Additionally if a child swallows more that one magnet, the magnet can attach together and create serious injuries such as intestinal obstructions, perforations, sepsis and death.

If you owned this game (see picture)  stop using it immediately and contact Target for a refund.

Read more on the CPSC website

 

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Elliot-KayeWhen a company discovers that one of its products is defective, the potentially harmful product must be recalled and consumers must be warned about the products hazards. Companies that fail to timely do so may be subject to multi-million-dollars civil lawsuits by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

In the past the CPSC had a weak reputation but since Elliot Kaye took over as Chairman, the Commission became much stricter. While in 2009 the total amount of penalties imposed by the CPSC didn’t even reach $10 million, the total penalties for last year  was $26.4 million. So far this year, this amount reached $31.25 million.  The lowest amount of 2009 is also related to the fact that up to 2008, CPSC penalties were capped at $8000 per violation. In 2008, after several children died after ingesting lead tinted toys the Congress decided to increase the cap to $100,000. The Congress also increased the  aggregate limit of $1.825 million for a series of related offenses to $15 million. Nominated by president Obama, Kaye was hoping to increase penalties even further.

Companies have often considered potential civil penalties related to defective products as a “cost of doing business”. This is exactly what Elliot Kaye has been fighting.  During his tenure at the head of the CPSC, several companies including Johnson Health Tech, Philips Lighting, Teavana, Jarden Consumer Solutions and Gree Electric Appliances had to pay multi-million-dollars settlements for failing to timely report product hazards.

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Clarence Ditlow, a very influential and effective activist who protected consumers from unsafe vehicles died from colon cancer on November 10. He was 72 years old.

Clarence Ditlow who started as a lawyer for Ralph Nader’s Public Interest Research Group in 1971 had been at the head of the Center for Auto Safety for the last 40 years.  A lawyer and an engineer, Ditlow dedicated his life to improve the safety of anyone driving or riding a car. A workaholic who received only a modest salary, he spent his life going after negligent automakers and complaisant regulators.

Tirelessly assembling evidence about the causes of car accidents and the injuries or deaths resulting from these crashes, he exposed safety defects in millions of motor vehicles. His work lead to massive safety recalls and saved an untold number of consumers from deadly accidents.  He was considered the “guardian angel” of American motorists.

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Johnson and Johnson talcA jury found that Johnson & Johnson engaged in “negligent conduct” in making and marketing its talc products. In a trial that started a month ago, a St Louis jury found that Johnson & Johnson talc products have caused or contributed to the stage IV ovarian cancer of Deborah Giannecchini.

The 63 year old woman was awarded $67.5 million for punitive damages and $2.575 million in compensatory damages. $2 million of the punitive damages will come from Johnson & Johnson talc supplier, Imerys. This is the first time that the the talc supplier has also been held liable for damages. In two previous similar product liability lawsuits filled in St. Louis, Johnson and Johnson lost $ 55 million and $72 million and was the only company held accountable for damages. Approximately 2,000 similar cases have been filed against Johnson and Johnson with approximately half of them filled in St. Louis.

In New Jersey, two product liability cases against the talc manufacturer were rejected by a judge who decided that there was no reliable evidence that talc powder was linked to ovarian cancer.

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New York Product Liability Attorneys Tony Gair and en RubinowitzSuccessful product liability lawyers possess an exceptional set of skills. Not only do they have to be able to sit for hours to decipher  extremely technical documents but  they also have to deal with clients suffering life changing injuries or grieving over a loved one who wrongfully died, most of the time in dramatic manner. They also need to juggle tight deadlines, keep their calm and always be courteous with all parties involved. A recent article  in Law 360 describes the 5 top qualities of a top product liability attorney as:

  1. Having a head for science and engineering
  2. Being able to deal with serious injury and death
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imageSome potentially contaminated flour was recalled by General Mills and the FDA has warned consumers not to eat raw dough. Since last December the FDA has received reports of 38 people that have been contaminated by a strain of bacteria called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O121,  while eating or handling raw dough from flour produced last November by General Mills in Kansas City. 10 of the 38  people had to be hospitalized.  Patients usually recover within a week but severe infections can lead to a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome. Children below 5 years old as well as adults with a weak immune system are the most at risk.

The dough is only dangerous for consumption while eaten raw which happen mostly when consumers eat the scraps while preparing cookies or other baked goods. Children who play with home made play clay are also at risk of being contaminated.

The following types of flour were recalled: Gold Medal, Signature Kitchens and Gold Medal Wondra. Consumers who have bought these types of flour and have then in their pantry should discard them.