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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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carbon monoxide danger signEvery year in the US, thousands of people are injured and an average 70 die from exposure to carbon monoxide after using a portable generator. With more and more power shortages caused by climate events, the number of deaths caused by dangerous carbon monoxide emissions from generators is on the rise in America. Last February in Texas, after a major power shortage, 1,400 people were treated in hospitals for carbon monoxide poisoning and 17 died.

One portable generator can emit the same amount of carbon monoxide as 450 cars together

According to a recent investigation by ProPublica,  the portable generator manufacturers are well aware of the danger of their products and over the years they have been resisting multiple attempts by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to require that their devices emit less carbon monoxide.

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Hospital PatientMost medical devices used by hospitals are legacy devices that are still operating on Windows 7 that Microsoft no longer supports.  Manufactured at a time when cybersecurity was not a preoccupation, these devices can now easily be hacked and potentially be dangerous to patients. As a result, on top of safeguarding traditional IT assets, hospitals now have to figure out a way to secure tens of thousands of legacy devices from hundreds of manufacturers connected to their network.  It is a real headache for most hospitals and healthcare organizations as many of them do not even keep an inventory of their medical devices. According to a recent study only 36% of healthcare organizations know where their medical devices are.

While some devices that can cause fatal injuries, such as insuline pumps or pacemakers, are being actively monitored and recalled by the FDA, it is estimated that all other medical devices have an average of more than 6 vulnerabilities per device and that 40% of devices used by hospitals are at the end-of-life stage and do not have security patches or upgrades available.

Not surprisingly, FDA regulations in this field are lagging with the agency only saying both hospitals and manufacturers are responsible for protecting devices from cyber attacks. Hospitals are pointing fingers at manufacturers for not providing the necessary support and want the FDA to mandate lifetime support of medical devices by manufacturers.  So far, the further the FDA went was to publish post-market guidance for medtechs on what they should do to secure their products. This is not enough as hospitals find themselves dealing with thousands of devices that they are supposed not only to track but also patch to prevent cyberattacks. With the ongoing Covid19 crisis, hospitals are unable to handle this task and as a result they become increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks that could injure or kill patients.

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Volvo-Cars-LogoVolvo recalled another 195,000 potentially defective motor vehicles last week in the US after the company learned that a US driver was killed by the rupture of an air bag inflator. According to Volvo, the front driver’s airbags inflator of XC70 and V70 wagons models from 2001 to 2007 was manufactured by ZF/TRW  and could potentially explode and send shrapnel in the car.

The 195,000 vehicles recalled in the US last week are part of a worldwide recall covering around 768,000 vehicles.

The recall is reminiscent of the problem faced a few years earlier by bankrupt Japanese airbag inflator manufacturer Takata. Defective Takata air bag inflators caused the death of 18 people worldwide including 19 in the US. 400 people were also injured in defective Takata air bag inflator explosions.

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FDA-logoMany defective medical devices might still be used by medical professionals because deaths that occurred when using these devices are being mislabeled as injuries in the FDA Medical Database according to a study published last week in JAMA Network. The study looked at 290,141 reports of defective medical devices that resulted in serious injuries or deaths that were processed by an algorithm. They found that 52% were classified as deaths and 47.9% were classified by the algorithm as malfunction, injury, other or missing. Among these 47.9% that were not classified as death, 23% of these reports were indeed death reports that were not classified proprely by the algorithm. As a result many deadly devices might still be used on patients.  The FDA must review all reports classified as death but does not routinely review all reports that are classified as other or misfunction.

The most dangerous of all medical devices were the ventricular assist bypass devices. These devices represented 13% of all adverse event reports. Coming in second position was the dialysate concentrate for hemodialysis in liquid or in powder with 8.7% of all adverse event reports. The third most reported defective devices were the transcervical contraceptive tubal occlusion devices with 5% of all adverse reports.

The authors of the study also mention that 95% of the adverse event reports were made by manufacturers and not by healthcare facilities or physicians which might constitute a conflict of interest. The authors note that delays in reporting serious injuries or deaths were common. An example of this issue was the Essure permanent birth control device. 32,000 women reported issues with this device between 2002 and 2013 while the FDA only received 1,023 reports.

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dangerous sunscreen productsSome popular sunscreens and after-sun products contain a high level of benzene, a carcinogen linked to blood cancer, according to recent tests effectuated by Valisure, a consumer protection group. No level of benzene in cream, spray or lotions is safe for humans. Additionally previous studies have also found that  applying sunscreen increases the penetration of benzene through the human skin.

Valisure fount the highest level of benzene in the following  products:

  • The SPF 100+ Ultra Sheer Weightless Sunscreen Spray by Neutrogena with up to 6.26 ppm average level of benzene in a tested batch 
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Paraquat is a dangerous herbicideMultiple personal injury and product liability lawsuits have recently been filed against Syngenta, a Swiss company manufacturing the weed-killer Paraquat.

According to the lawsuits, the manufacturer omitted to mention to its customers the risk of Parkinson’s disease caused by exposure to Paraquat despite knowing about it.  Syngeta was aware that exposure to its weed-killer Paraquat increased the likelihood of getting Parkinson’s disease by two to five times but concealed it to its customers according to the lawsuits.

All plaintiffs contracted Parkinson’s disease after being exposed to Paraquat

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headquarter of HyundaiOwners of selected models of Hyundai Genesis cars as well as other electric models have been warned by Hyundai that their cars were at risk of catching fire and should be parked away from home and other structures or flammable material until they repair their vehicles.

Models of Hyundai Genesis sold in 2015 and 2016, Hyundai Genesis G80 sold between 2017 and 2020 and Hyundai Genesis G70 sold between 2019 and 2021 might have defective anti-lock brake system modules that could malfunction internally and cause an electrical short resulting in engine compartment fire while driving or during parking. Owners of these vehicles must get them repaired and make sure to park them away from their home or other structures that might catch fire until repairs are done.

Hyundai also issued another recall for fire on some of its electrical vehicles. Some 2019-2020 Hyundai Kona Electric and 2020 Hyundai Ioniq Electric vehicles might have defective battery cells causing internal electric shorts that can result in a fire while driving, parking or charging the battery. The owners of these vehicles have also been asked by Hyundai to park their vehicle away from anything that could catch fire until the defect is repaired.  Hyundai is facing similar problems in Korea and vehicle owners are not happy about the manner Hyundai has been handling the repair according to a recent article in Reuters .

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Some hand sanitizers can be dangerous for consumers  as they contain a high level of benzene, a carcinogen which can be absorbed by the skin and cause leukemia and other blood cells cancers.  These products are particularly harmful to children. Valisure, an independent lab, recently tested 260 hand sanitizers and found that 44 among them contained benzene and among these 44, 21 contained a level of benzene that was above the 2 parts per million (ppm) allowed in liquid sanitizers by the FDA. These products are especially dangerous to children.

The Top 5 most dangerous hand sanitizers were:

dangerous hand sanitizer1. Artnaturals hand sanitizer,  SCENT FREE NATURAL ELEMENTS + CLEANSING FORMULA 8 fl oz (236 ml), produced in China and distributed by artnaturals ® ,Gardena, CA 90248

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rhino-pillRhino Pills and other herbal sex supplements for men often contain hidden ingredients that have caused injuries and even, in rare cases death to consumers.  These types of supplements can still be found at many gas stations around the country, at Walmart and on Amazon despite multiple FDA warnings and  the original manufacturer of the Rhino pill being sentenced yesterday to 4 years in prison.

Nam Hyun Lee, an illegal immigrant from South Korea based in California got into the business of selling sex herbal supplements in 2015.  His marketing was convincing with flashy Rhino labels and consumers quickly noticed that the supplements were actually working. Lee illegally  spiked his herbal supplements with Sildenafil or Tadalafil, the drugs used in Viagra and Cialis. The drugs were illegally imported from China, packaged at warehouses in Southern California and shipped all over the country. Lee was caught when one of the drug packages sent under the description “acrylic paint” was seized by custom agents and tested positive for Sildenafil.  He was arrested in 2018 and has been in federal custody since that date. It is estimated he sold between $3 million and $9 million of sex supplements.

While Lee has been convicted, other unscrupulous competitors quickly took over the market and continue to sell the Rhino brand name or other variations of sex herbal supplements.  Gas stations, Walmart and Amazon still sell them despite multiple FDA warnings.

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small rare earth magnetsA few months ago, a 9 year old girl was rushed to a New York ER after she swallowed dangerous high-powered tiny magnets that got stuck in her stomach. Doctors had to effectuate an emergency endoscopy on the little girl to remove the magnets.  In another case, a Long Island doctor had to remove tiny magnets that ended up on each side of the lingual frenum, the fleshy part of tissues under the tongue, of a patient. The patient had to be sedated so the doctor could pull the whole tongue out to remove the magnets. Doctors are also seeing multiple cases of children having their ears, noses and genitalia  pinched by the magnets. Cases of young children swallowing the magnets and suffering major injuries such as perforated intestines and bowels after they got stuck in their internal organs are also on the rise.

The small rare-earth magnets were recalled and banned from the American market by the US Consumer Safety Commission in 2012. However, Zen, a magnet manufacturer based in  Denver fought back and engaged in a legal marathon with  the CPSC that has so far allowed the tiny magnets to stay on the market.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition and entitled “Magnet Ingestions in Children Presenting to Emergency Departments in the United States