Articles Posted in Products Defects

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The Second Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals held that General Motors failed to properly disclose its knowledge of ignition switch defects and accordingly it will now have to face many lawsuits for injuries and other damages, that were once dismissed as part of its bankruptcy filing.

In 2009 General Motors declared bankruptcy.  In doing so, it sought to take any of its viable assets and in an organized sale, transfer them to a new entity now known as “new GM”.  When a company files for bankruptcy they must disclose claims known or likely to be known.  The reason is that when bankruptcy is granted, all debts known or likely to be known are wiped out and the company gets to move forward as a new “reorganized” entity.

Though GM was near financial collapse and the Court did want to maintain a company with thousands of employees, they are not above the law.  The safety of many was at risk and many injuries and deaths had occurred due to defective ignition switches which had caused movement stalls and air-bag non-deployment.  The cause was simple: the poorly improperly designed  ignition switch could slip from the run position and therefore cause many features to fail while in operation.

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Dresser IKEA
Having a newborn is one of the great gifts life has to offer.  A new baby ready to discover the world. Parents ready to provide a safe environment.  However, many products that companies sell to the public are dangerous and can cause serious personal injuries and even death to the innocent and helpless.

This past week, the world’s largest retailer IKEA recalled 29 million dressers.  The Malm and other models of chests pose a serious hazard, and consumers were urged to anchor the items or return them, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Tuesday on its website.  The dresser, it was reported had caused 6 deaths and had 82 incidents.

Sadly, the problem is not new.   As is often the case, it is not until litigation is brought or serious injuries or death occur that a company chooses to recall and fix a product; often placing profits over safety.

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You may recall when Jack Nicholson turned into the Joker when he fell into a vat filled with chemicals. This chemical is the same chemical used daily at approximately 3500 dry cleaners where New Yorker’s get their suits and dressed laundered. It is also where 10,000 people work daily. This chemical, perchloroethylene or perc has been known to cause serious harm and damage to our liver, kidney’s, blood and immune system since 1993. Despite this, and attempts by the EPA to reign in its use, it is used daily by so many. In addition, some are concerned of its ability to cause damage to neighbor’s and those living in apartments and buildings nearby.

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Crain’s Magazine reported on this recently. California has banned the solvent since 2007. Dry cleaners, they advise are required to post a sign saying they use perc, but landlords’ obligations to tell tenants there is an issue is less than clear.

This growing concern has resulted in the Federal environmental authorities to mandate that perc dry cleaners in apartment buildings pose an unacceptable health risk and must vacate nationwide by 2020. The solution is to upgrade technology and equipment so that it can clean clothes with non perc machines. However with revenue and profits continuing to shrink this choice is an option many are not choosing.

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Yesterday a Missouri jury awarded a woman $55 million dollars in damages for injuries and damages she sustained when she contracted ovarian cancer as a result of using Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder  and shower to shower products.   The award represents $5 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages.  It was the second time Johnson & Johnson has been found responsible for similar damages.

The plaintiffs in these case have shown that for many years, J&J hid the link between the use of “talc” have accused J&J of failing for years to warn that talc was linked to an increased risk for ovarian cancer. J&J has said it acted properly in developing and marketing the products.

Presently 1400 lawsuits remain pending; mostly concentrated in Missouri and New Jersey.Johnson & Johnson

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Creepy crawlies belong outside, not in houses. People try many different methods to discourage bugs from entering their homes, whether it be a house or an apartment. There are many products one can use to kill bugs and keep them out of the home. But these products contain a lot of chemicals and can harm humans as much as bugs. And one needs to be cautious because these chemicals are highly flammable, as was shown in the fogger explosion in Chinatown recently.

Exploding Bug Bombs

A woman had a problem with bugs infesting her apartment. She purchased foggers, also known as bug bombs, to deal with the problem. Foggers release a fine mist of chemicals into the air that filter into walls and small places to kill bugs. “A single six-ounce can is enough to treat 6,000 cubic feet of space, which translates roughly to an 800-square-foot apartment with a seven-foot ceiling.”

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Exploding cars are de rigueur in action movies. But in real life, it is pretty scary. Think about the Ford Pinto and one pictures exploding gas tanks. This was used to great comic effect in the movie “Top Secret,” a parody of WWII spy movies. But there have been “32 rear-impact collisions that caused fatal fires resulting in 44 deaths in Grand Cherokees, and five accidents that resulted in seven deaths in Jeep Libertys” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The Investigation

On August 23, 2010, NHTSA opened an investigation into possible fuel tank explosions during rear-end collision and impacts. This investigation covered Jeep Grand Cherokees for model years 1993 to 2004, Jeep Cherokees for model years 1993 to 2001, and Jeep Libertys for model years 2002 to 2007. This investigation started as a safety defect investigation, but was upgraded to an engineering analysis to determine if the “vehicles contain a defect that presents an unreasonable risk to safety.” NHTSA said the design of the vehicle with “the location of the gas tanks behind the rear axle of the Jeeps could make them more vulnerable to being ruptured in an accident.”

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Under the lip of the kitchen sink. In the corners of the shower. Around the base of the bathroom sink faucet. Then there are always the science experiments in the back of the refrigerator. These are common areas of mold growth. Mold can be a good thing, like penicillium that produces the antibiotic penicillin. But too much penicillium, or aspergillum, or cladosporium can result in black mold that can endanger a person’s health. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns that mold exposure can cause “allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.”

Mold in New York

Molds are prevalent in moist areas. If there are leaks in pipes or a roof, that can be enough create the right conditions for mold growth. Richard Fields saw mold in his apartment in August 2003. He went to the hospital in September 2003 for headaches and nosebleeds. He told the doctor he had mold in his apartment and the doctor said the mold could cause his symptoms. Fields filed suit in January 2006 for mold exposure against the Lambert Houses Redevelopment Corp, the owner and manager of Fields’ apartment building. Fields amended his complaint to add estimated medical expenses.

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There is a reunion or a wedding reception or another party at a hotel ballroom. The room is resplendent in opulence and old friends are renewing acquaintances. Dinner is announced and everyone sits down for a feast. After a wonderful evening, the attendees return home with wonderful memories. But after a day or two, the attendees start to have symptoms of abdominal cramping, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and low-grade fever. The doctor diagnoses it as norovirus.

Currently around the country norovirus is making people ill. Norovirus is highly contagious and commonly acquired through contaminated food or water. But it can also be “acquire[d] through close contact with an infected person.” Larger norovirus outbreaks are traced back to food preparation. Food poisoning is always a possibility whenever one goes out to dine. On May 1, 2013, Newsday reported that a hotel in Westchester County is being industrially cleaned top to bottom, overseen by the local health department, after 300 people complained of illnesses after attending events there. Norovisus is the confirmed cause of all the illnesses. How the virus came to be in the hotel has not been determined. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report in January that a new strain of norovirus called GII.4 Sydney is causing most of the current outbreaks and is highly contagious.

Getting sick is always a pain, but losing workdays and paying out for doctor’s visits can cost. While norovirus symptoms will last for a few days, some people may become severely dehydrated and need medical attention. So now lost revenues from missing workdays, doctors visit copayments, and hospital costs add up. Is there a way to recoup your loses?

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A pocket bike, which may also be referred to as a mini-motorcycle or pocket rocket, is a small gas-powered bikes that look like miniature replicas of full-size motorcycles. Even though they are small, they come equipped with a 40cc engine and can even reach speeds of 40 to 50 miles per hour. The pocket bikes range in price from $185 to $600. They are sold in auto part stores, discount stores and over the Internet. They almost never come with helmets or any other safety equipment.

Although one would not think so by looking at them, pocket bikes present many of the same hazards as full-size motorcycles. While pocket bikes look fun and small enough for children, they are deceptively fast and dangerous. Even though the bikes are low to the ground, when an accident occurs at 40 to 50 miles per hour, the rider is very likely going to experience significant injuries. The speeds of pocket bikes only add to the amount and severity of injuries, including higher chances of spinal cord injuries and head injuries.

The operation of pocket bikes is illegal in most cities and states for use on public roadways. Importantly, the pocket bikes lack many essential safety features like horns, visibility reflectors, break stop lights, brakes on both wheels, turn signal lights, rear view mirrors or vehicle identification numbers. Unfortunately, the reality is that some people will still choose to ride pocket bikes on public streets no matter what the law says. The low profile of pocket bikes makes them easy to miss or see to a car, or especially a large sport utility vehicle or truck, backing out of one’s driveway or coming around a blind corner. In addition, the height of the pocket bikes puts the rider’s forehead at the same height as most car bumpers.

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Sustaining an injury, whether it is a slip and fall or a car accident or something else entirely, can be a scary and confusing time. For many people, sustaining a serious injury is among the lowest points in their lives. It can be particularly confusing when someone else is at fault for your injury. While no one wants to think about bringing a lawsuit immediately after an injury occurs, it is in your best interest to prepare as though a lawsuit will occur.

First, you need to make sure that your medical needs are taken care of. It will not do you any good to start any of the other steps if you have not ensured that your medical needs are met. In fact, it may hurt your lawsuit if you neglect your medical needs, as the defendant could argue that your injuries were increased by a failure to seek immediate medical attention.

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