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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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.

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3.3 million units of four varieties of Goldfish Crackers have been recalled over fears that the products might be contaminated with salmonella. Peperidge Farm, the manufacturing company, indicated the potential contamination was caused by whey powder used in the fabrication of the crackers. The varieties of Goldfish Crackers being recalled are:

  • Flavor Blasted Xtra Cheddar
  • Flavor Blasted Sour Cream & Onion
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OxyContinWhen Purdue Pharma launched OxyContin in 1995, the Food and Drug Administration permitted the company to make a unique claim for it: that its long acting formula would reduce its appeal to drug abusers who preferred short-acting opiates such as Percocet and Vicodin.

The exact opposite occurred and OxyContin became the most expensive and the most sought after drug on the black market. The New York Times obtained a copy of a confidential report from the Justice Department that indicates that shortly after the new drug was launched company officials were aware that the drug was being crushed, snorted, stolen from pharmacies and that doctors were being criminally charged for selling it to drug abusers.

A four year investigation found that despite being fully aware that OxyContin was one of the most abused drugs, the drug company failed to warn about its dangers, lied and continued to promote it as a drug less prone to abuse than any other prescription opioids. In 2006 the prosecutors recommended that 3 Purdue Pharma executives be indicted on felony charges. One of the charges was conspiracy to defraud the United States. That meant jail time for the 3 executives.  At the time, Georges Bush was the president and Justice Department officials declined the recommendation. Instead, the case was settled in 2007.

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keyless carMultiple owners of key-less cars have been dying of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning after mistakenly thinking that their car had stopped running. In most scenarios the car owner parks the vehicle in the house garage and takes the wireless key fob thinking that the car has shut down while it hasn’t. Overnight the garage and the house fills with odorless carbon monoxide gas, leaving the owner and other potential house residents dead or severely injured.

There are no exact records of how many people have died or how many people were left with serious injuries such as brain damage after inadvertently leaving their car running but 24 deaths nationwide were reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since 2006 when the first known case occurred. 70 year old Jeanette Colter, a Florida resident who  left her Toyota Avalon running in the garage ended up collapsing and dying between her kitchen and her living room. Her 89 year old husband died in the bedroom.

In 2009 after several other similar accidents were reported, the Society of Automotive Engineers formed a panel to develop recommended practices to address key-less ignition hazards. In 2011, the group recommended an externally audible or visual alert or automatic shut off of the engine if all doors are closed and the key fob is not present. That same year the NHTSA proposed a new rule with similar recommendations.

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JohnsonA New Jersey jury recently found that Johnson & Johnson baby powder contained asbestos and that the tainted product caused mesothelioma to a New Jersey banker. Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer linked to asbestos.

Stephen Lanzo was awarded $30 million for his pain and suffering and his wife was awarded $7 million in damages as well. 70% has to be paid by J&J and the other 30% by talc supplier Imery Talc America.

Both companies are planning to appeal. They pretend the banker developed cancer after being exposed to another asbestos source such as his school or childhood home.

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boy using cell phoneBig Wireless companies were told 20 years ago by scientists that cell phone usage could lead to cancer. The wireless industry didn’t listen to them and used the same tactics as the Tobacco and Oil industry to hide dangers from consumers. The Nation just released the results of an investigation that found that the top wireless companies have spent millions convincing people that their products were safe.

At the begining of the nineties, when only a minority of people owned a cell phone, some consumers and industry workers complained that they may have developed cancer caused by their cell phone. At the time Tom Wheeler president of the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) was the wireless industry’s point man in Washington. To shut down the complaints and calm down consumer concerns Wheeler hired George Carlo, a pro-industry scientist to run a comprehensive research on cell phones. George Carlo had previously conducted controversial studies helping the breast implant industry and the chemical industry. He seemed to be the perfect man to support the cell phone industry’s claims that their products were safe for consumers.

George Carlo was allocated $28.5 million for his investigation which is the highest funded cell phone study to date. Critics of the study complained that such a big amount of money could easily guarantee silent obedience of the scientific community. George Carlo denied these allegations.