Articles Posted in Defective Products

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Since summer has arrived, kids will flock to swimming pools, lakes, and other bodies of water.  Although a swimming pool or pond can provide recreation, entertainment, and exercise, parents must exercise vigilance because drowning constitutes a serious risk to small children.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 10 people per day drown in non-boating related incidents.  Almost one in five of these drowning victims are children 14 or younger, so parents should be vigilant in the vicinity of swimming locations.  Tragically, drownings and near drownings resulting in brain damage can occur even when parents take precautions to protect their children.  In this blog, our Miami defective product attorneys review a case where parents unsuccessfully pursued a product liability lawsuit alleging a defective piece of safety equipment was a substantial factor in causing their toddler’s drowning.

In Coterel v. Dorel Juvenile Group, a federal appellate court from another state considered a product liability lawsuit brought by the grieving parents of their 23-month-old son.  The young child climbed out of his crib in the middle of the night and wandered to a nearby pond.  When the parents awoke in the morning, they discovered the door open.  The dad searched and found his son floating in the pond about fifty yards from the home.  The parents filed a wrongful death suit against the maker of a doorknob cover that the couple received as a gift.  The complaint alleged that the manufacturer of the safety device was defective because it failed to prevent the boy from opening the door.  The lawsuit contended the doorknob cover was negligently marketed and negligently manufactured. Continue reading →

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Studies have been around for decades reporting a link between the female hygienic use of talcum powder products and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.  Concerns about the carcinogenic effect of talc-based products like Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower recently culminated in a $65 million verdict against the manufacturer.  Bloomberg reported the massive verdict represents the third consecutive defeat in a wave of product liability lawsuits against the pharmaceutical giant.  In this blog post, our Miami product liability attorneys analyze the outcome and significance of these large judgments against Johnson & Johnson (J&J).

Deborah Giannecchini used J&J’s baby powder for feminine hygiene for over four decades according to a media report.  She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer three years before the verdict.  Despite the plaintiff reportedly having undergone chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, she faces an 80 percent probability of dying during the next two year.  The plaintiff provided evidence that included thirty years of studies revealing an increased risk of ovarian cancer from the use of talc for feminine hygiene.  The plaintiff contended that the company was aware of the risk and that the public did not know that talc products are linked to ovarian cancer. Continue reading →

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Probably everyone in South Florida has seen a hoverboard by now.  These innovative devices seem to be everywhere in Miami and elsewhere across the state.  Hoverboards are similar to a scooter or Segway, but do not use handlebars.  They are turned and manipulated using the weight and balance of the rider.  They run on two wheels and resemble a skateboard with a motor.  Hoverboards can be purchased at several major retailers both online and in-store.  They cost a couple hundred dollars depending upon the brand.

While hoverboards offer hours of fun, they come with some potential dangers.  Our Miami personal injury lawyers have seen reports of numerous injuries linked to hoverboard devices.  This has left some wondering whether hoverboards are safe for their intended use.  The Miami personal injury lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano are concerned with the reports of fires and falls from hoverboards.  We address some potential safety concerns and offer some tips for safe use below.

Fires Linked to Hoverboards

Fires have become one of the major safety concerns of hoverboards.  Several individuals have reported that their hoverboards caught fire while they were either charging or in use.  Several house fires have erupted due to charging hoverboards, damaging homes and placing residents at risk of injury.  Currently, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating the flammable nature of these devices.  It reports that already 37 fires have resulted from hoverboards.  Continue reading →

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Recent recalls involving exploding airbags have received extensive media coverage and regulatory activity by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other governmental entities and officials.  Airbags generally constitute one of the most effective motor vehicle safety features.  When airbags are defective, they can provide a false sense of security or even increase the risk of severe injury to vehicle occupants.  While defects in airbag systems can result in their deploying at the wrong time, deploying too aggressively or failing to deploy at all, the Takata® airbag recalls are related to a novel and especially alarming risk – exploding airbags.

The record setting scope of the Takata® airbag defect recall includes approximately 17 million vehicles in the U.S. and ten different automakers.  While the majority of vehicles covered by the recall are models that were issued from 2002 through 2008, the recall has been expanded to cover vehicles through 2014 in certain cases.  This blog post provides important information that owners of vehicles included in the recalls need to know.

What danger do the Takata® airbags subject to recall pose to vehicle occupants?

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Recently, an investigation conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) revealed concerning safety issues surrounding the sport of parasailing. The NTSB found the entire parasailing industry to be almost entirely unregulated with serious accidents often caused by faulty equipment. Our Miami personal injury lawyers found that this report is the first of its kind published by the NTSB concerning parasailing. Investigations started as a result of the eight parasailing accidents that recently occurred, two of which were in Florida.

Christopher Hart, Acting Chairman of the NTSB, stated that something as simple as a worn harness, strong winds, and a weak towline could lead to serious accidents. As such, it is critical that operators are competent and aware of all the risks associated with parasailing. Unfortunately, absent any regulation as to the training of operators or inspection of equipment, the risk for accidents continues to exist.

Based on its troubling findings as to a lack of regulation and minimum standards for operators and equipment, the NTSB has recommended that the United States Coast Guard require a special license for parasail operators. The NTSB also announced five other recommendations to the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the Federal Aviation Administration.
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Watching the news in Miami, one will notice that products are frequently recalled because they are either designed or manufactured improperly resulting in loss or injury. As a matter of fact, each year, U.S. federal regulatory agencies announce thousands of product recalls involving such diverse products as toys, electrical and electronic products, fire sprinklers, household appliances, recreational products, motor vehicles, foods, drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices. How do these recalls affect the Miami Product Liability attorney’s ability to recover damages for clients who were injured by these recalled items?

Why are products recalled?

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced more than 350 recalls in 2004. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced about 500. What prompts the call to recall so many of products each and every year?

Products are usually recalled after they are placed in the stream of commercial because defects were found with these products and, in most cases, these defects have caused injuries to consumers or loss of property. For instance, car manufacturers have recalled vehicles due to electrical malfunctions which lead to car crashes. Recently, some toys from China have been recalled due to toxic paint that was used injuring children. Many baby cribs have been recalled due to the fact that infant limbs have gotten caught in the bars causing substantial injuries and at times, death. How do these recalls impact an attorney’s ability to recover damages?
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Each year, thousands of Americans sustain injuries in the United States resulting from products sold on the market. Watching the news in Miami, one will notice that dangerous and defective products are constantly recalled due to the injuries they cause. Imagine now, that a manufacturer is aware that an item it sells is dangerous and/or defective and this company deliberately conceals this knowledge from the general public. An experienced products liability attorney in Miami will be able to recover punitive damages for their clients in these types of active concealment cases.

What Constitutes an Active Concealment Case?

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced more than 350 recalls in 2004. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced about 500. Most manufacturers recall products after they are placed in the stream of commerce due to defects which were found with these products after the distribution of these products. This is done to insure that consumers are no longer injured by these same goods.

In some instances, however, manufacturers are aware that the items they sell are dangerous and cause harm prior to the distribution of these products. Rather than retool and redesign to make the product safe, the manufacturer deliberately buries the danger posed by these goods from consumers. The decision to go forward selling the defective product is almost always a function of dollars. Manufacturers ague that the don’t have the money to spend making the product safer. I have heard manufacturer’s representatives say, “We figured it was cheaper to pay claims than retool and redesign the product.”
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Thousands of Palm Beach County residents are potentially subject to a recall of a defective prosthetic hip manufactured by Depuy Orthopedics, a subdivision of Johnson and Johnson. Depuy Orthopedics has instituted a recall of its ASR XL Acetabular Systems and the ASR Hip Resurfacing Systems. The products were used in hip replacement surgeries from July 2003 through August 2010. Approximately 93,000 of the defective hips were used in surgeries worldwide.

Inadequate testing, poor design and placing corporate greed ahead of public safety and welfare are all to blame for the use of the defective product. Some reports have stated that Depuy first began receiving reports of the defective ASR hip systems as early as 2007.

It is believed that the artificial joint is too small and shallow and that the device fails to bond properly resulting in a loose implant. Hundreds of reports have been made to the FDA about the Depuy ASR hip system, with complaints of loose hip cup, stained tissue and pseudotumors being found around the joint. More than 1 in 8 of the Depuy hips need to be replaced within 5 years, a failure rate of over 12%.
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Depuy Orthopedics has announced a recall on all DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Systems and the ASR Hip Resurfacing Systems used in hip replacement surgeries after 2003. Early estimates show that the defective Depuy products were used in approximately 93,000 hip replacmenet surgeries worldwide. If you had a hip replacement surgery after 2003, it is important that you check your records and contact your doctor immediately to determine if you are affected by this recall.

Complaints and complications associated with Depuy artifical joint include loose hip cups,dislocations and additional fractures or muscle damage. Some people have reported increased movement of the joint, popping or clicking sensations and a decreased range of motion in the hip. The defective product has also been shown to cause metallosis, a condition caused by movement of the implant which may result in the release of higher, potentially dangerous levels of chromium and cobalt ions into the body.

Studies have shown that 12% of patients who had received the ASR Resurfacing System and 13% of patients who received the ASR total hip replacement needed to have it replaced through a revision surgery. This is an extraordinarily high failure rate for a prosthetic device. Most hip replacement are expected to last in excess of 15 years.

Depuy Offers Payment for Revision

On its Website, Depuy Orthopedics, which is owned by Johnson & Johnson, has initiated the recall and states that DePuy intends to cover reasonable and customary costs of testing and treatment associated with the ASR recall, including revision surgery if it is necessary. However, what most people don’t realize is that by agreeing to participate in Depuy’s program, they will likely be giving away certain rights. Depuy mentions nothing about compensating the people injured by its defective proudct for their pain, suffering, mental anguish and other intangibles.
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In October 2010, toys sold at California Wal-Mart and Target stores were found to have lead levels higher than limits allowed by federal law, according to the Center for Environmental Health (CEH). A chair sold at Target was reported to have lead levels 70 times the allowable amount. Several Wal-Mart products, including toddler bean bag chairs and children’s boxing gloves, also exceeded lead limits, based on the CEH report. Target pulled the dangerous products from its shelves nationwide, while Wal-Mart stopped selling the products in its California stores. Neither retailer has issued a formal recall.

Companies Should Be Held Responsible When Lead Levels Injure Children

Extreme levels of lead can cause permanent damage, including developmental disabilities, cognitive delay and slow growth. A child who suffers such injuries will need access to extensive rehabilitation programs and special education. All of this care requires tremendous financial resources that the average family may not have.

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