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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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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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.

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JohnsonTo defend  against the nearly 15,0000 product liability lawsuits over its talc products, Imerys Talc America, a main supplier of talc for Johnson & Johnson, recently  announced that it filed for bankruptcy.  Most of the lawsuits against the company alleged that the company continued to supply its products while knowing that they could cause ovarian cancer or  asbestos-related mesothelioma.

The company, a subsidiary of the French company Imerys SA, is denying all accusations that the company knew that the talc powder that it supplied mainly to Johnson & Johnson could cause cancer.

However while filing for bankruptcy the company also mentioned a multibilllion-dollar verdict against Johnson $ Johnson that attracted a lot of attention from  the media.  Last July, 22 women obtained a $4.69 billion verdict against Johnson and Johnson on allegations that the talc powder they used was tainted with asbestos and caused ovarian cancer.

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CBD can be a dangerous productSome CBD products sold over the counter can be dangerous for consumers. A recent investigation by the New York NBC I-Team found that some CBD products contained dangerous amounts of lead and pesticides.
CBD or cannabinol oil is a molecule found in the cannabis flower which therapeutic properties have been tested and confirmed by scientists. CBD doesn’t make people high and clinical research includes studies of anxiety, cognition, movement disorders and pain. A version of the drug called Epidiolex has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of epilepsy disorders in children. Another version that contains CBD and THC was approved by Health Canada to treat neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis and cancer related pain.

Over the counter CBD products are not controlled by the FDA

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US deaths from Methylene ChlorideMethylene Chloride is a dangerous product that has previously caused the death of many people. Short term exposure to methylene chloryde can cause mental confusion, nausea, vomiting , headache and death in the worst cases. In the long term, workers exposed to it can develop cancer, nervous system problems, toxicity in their kidney, liver and reproductive system.Major retailers such as Lowes and Home Depot have removed it from their shelves even before the EPA finalized a ban proposal that was published one day before President Obama left office.  In Europe the deadly chemical was pulled from general use in 2011.

Last May, Scott Pruit confirmed that the EPA was committed to finalize the proposed methylene chloride ban however last month the EPA drafted two new final rules that would ban the use of methylene chloryde to regular consumers but not to commercial operators.  Two new final rules drafted by the EPA allow the usage of the dangerous product for commercial use as long as the workers using it have been trained.  These rules that have not been made public yet but that have been sent by the EPA to the Office of Management and Budget have sparked the furor of public health advocates and and of congressional Democrats. This is a major step back compared to the proposed rule announced by the EPA during the Obama era.

Workers specialized in refinishing bathtubs are the most at risk of dying from Methylene Chloride exposure

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regulatory robotAny company involved in the manufacturing of a product can be the subject to a product liability lawsuit if the product is defective and caused harm to a consumer. To protect consumers,  companies that are involved in product manufacturing have to make sure that they comply with the federal product safety requirements related to their product. While big corporate have their own legal department dealing with all these requirements, small business  most of the time don’t. In order to help them, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) just relaunched an improved version of a Regulatory Robot tool which can be found online or downloaded as smart phone app. After answering a few questions small businesses are provided a customized report of product safety information related to their product.

The new Regulatory Robot is much more efficient than its previous version according to the CPSC. While in the past small businesses had to answer 15 to 20 questions to get information, now most of them only need to answer 3 questions.

The Robot also speaks Chinese as well as some Spanish, Vietnamese and Indonesian.