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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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.

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J&J Baby powderJohnson and Johnson failed to warned about the risk of ovarian cancer for women using its talc powder for genital use. Yesterday the company was order to pay $55 million damages to a female consumer who blamed her ovarian cancer on the use of of the famous baby powder for genital use. This is the second product liability lawsuit that Johnson & Johnson has lost for failure to warn about the risk of ovarian cancer. In February a similar lawsuit brought by the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer at 62 years old led to a $72 million verdict against the company. J&J is now facing more than a thousand similar lawsuits.

The use of talc for feminine genital hygiene has been a controversial subject for decades. In 1971, British researchers looked at ovarian tumors under a microscope and found that 13 out of 10 were embedded with talc. A more recent study by Dr Daniel Kramer, a gynecologist and Harvard Medical School Professor found that women who used talc powder on their genitals had a 33% higher risk of ovarian cancer than women who didn’t use talc on their genitals.

So far 20 studies have found a relation between the use of talc for feminine hygiene purposes but other studies also found no association.

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Defective sterilization process may have caused contamination in some Bumble Bee and Chicken of the Sea tuna cans. Contaminated products may potentially cause life threatening illnesses. According to CNN, the quality and compliance team discovered a malfunction OF a machinery part during the sterilization process during a routine inspection in a Georgia production plant in which both brands were manufacturing their products. The malfunction may have caused some products to be not fully cooked.

The recall affects 31,579 cases of Bumble Bee canned tuna with UPC codes codes 8660000020, 8660000021 and 8660000736 sold nationally in February 2016. The recalls also affects 2,745 cases of Chicken of the Sea brand with UPC codes are 0 4800000195 5 and 0 4800000245 7 and produced last February and March.

Bumble Bee product recall

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hoverboardCases of defective hoverboards busting into flames or exploding all over the world have prompted the National Fire Marshall Organization to issue a warning about the safety risks related to these fashionable products. A similar warning was also issued by the UK’s National Trading Standard after 88% of the products they tested posed a risk of catching fire.  In New York, these self balanced scooters have been declared illegal and users risk a fine of $200 if they are caught by the police riding them.

Because hoverboards are in high demand this holiday season, negligent manufacturers have been flooding the market with shoddy versions of the toy that have a high risk of catching fire. Explosions often happen during charging time and are caused by defective lithium batteries but cases of hoverboards catching fire during rides have also been reported.  In Louisiana an exploding hoverboard led to a fire that completely destroyed a house (see video below).

Read more in the NY Daily News

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Defective front disk brakes and quick-release levers installed on 1.3 million bicycles in the US may pose a risk of injury to bicycle riders. An open quick release lever on the bicycle’s front wheel hub can come into contact with the front disc brake rotor causing the front wheel to come to a sudden stop or separate from the bicycle. Therefore the following companies are recalling some models from the following brands:

bike recall

If your bicycle is from one of these brands, the video below can help you determine if your bicycle is affected  and if so what to do about it.

 

 

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Bed handle
The company Bed Handles Inc is re-announcing the recall of 3 models of their portable bed handles  because they are defective and have caused the death of 4 people. These products are: Bedside Assistant, Model BA10W, Travel Handles Use, Model BA11W, Adjustable Bed Handle, Model AJ1.

When attached to an adult bed without the use of safety retention straps, the handles can shift out of place, creating a dangerous gap between the handles and the side of the mattress, posing a risk of entrapment, strangulation and death.

Recently a 90 year old woman died in a nursing home after being entrapped in the gap between the mattress and the defective bed handle. Before her three other women died in similar conditions.