Articles Posted in Product Liability

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Those who have paid careful attention to the news over the past year may remember manufacturer Takata, whose defective airbag inflators are believed to be responsible for at least 16 deaths and another 100 injuries. According to reports, the defective airbag inflators contain a substance called ammonium nitrate. Ammonium nitrate is used to inflate the airbag quickly in the event of a crash, but the compound can explode unintentionally in hot and/or humid conditions. In the Takata airbags, the explosion causes the metal canister in which the compound was stored to blow apart and become deadly shrapnel. The Takata inflators were mainly found in cars manufactured by Honda.

Recall Notices Not Having Intended Effects

800px-Jeep_Grand_Cherokee_3.0_CRD_Overland_(WK)_–_Frontansicht,_10._September_2011,_DüsseldorfThere have been a plethora of car-related recalls and warnings issued in recent years, with many of them uncovering serious and/or fatal defects and resulting in hundreds of thousands – even millions – of vehicles being taken off of the roads for repairs. After a 15-month investigation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has concluded that the automatic emergency braking (AEB) system in 2014 and 2015 model-year Jeep Grand Cherokees do not show any signs of defects. The investigation was launched in June 2015 after several drivers reported the AEB system engaged without a reason for doing so. However, NHTSA concluded this week that no defect existed in the AEB system in the vehicles examined.

An automatic emergency braking system is one in which sensors mounted on the car detect if a forward collision is imminent and automatically engages the brakes of the car if the driver fails to do so. Even where a collision is not avoided, AEBs can reduce the severity of a crash.

Allegations of a Defective AEB System Trigger Investigation

A California federal judge recently rejected a proposed settlement that would have resolved a class action lawsuit filed against homeopathic remedy manufacturer Similasan. The class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of two classes of plaintiffs who alleged that the manufacturer’s claims about the effectiveness of its products used to treat earwax, sinus, and anxiety issues were deceptive. The parties notified the federal district court that they had reached a settlement agreement earlier this year, and the court had given preliminary approval to the proposed settlement agreement. However, when the case came back before the court in August 2016 for final approval, the court found sufficient reason to reject the agreement.

Problems with the Class Action Settlement

The federal district judge overseeing the case expressed serious reservations over the terms of the proposed settlement and refused to approve the settlement. Some of the court’s concerns included:

Skin care is a major international business. A 2014 report in the New York Times detailed how South Korea has emerged as a major rival to the traditional European firms who dominated the “beauty market.” In particular, a wave of South Korean skin care products “intended to protect and heal patients’ skin after treatment”have hit U.S. markets. childhands'

Steroids in South Korean Cosmetics Leads to California Class Action

But consumers should always be cautious when assessing health claims made by skin care products. According to a recent alert issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, many skin care products should be treated as drugs, especially if they make “anti-aging” or similar claims.

Being a parent is hard work.  There is no greater responsibility and no greater joy.  As the parents on our team know firsthand, most parents try their very best to keep our children safe.  Still, we are all too aware of the fact that tragedies happen.  Falling furniture remains a source of far too many child injuries and child deaths.  We can all help prevent tip-over accidents, but we should also be able to trust that the products we bring into our homes are reasonably safe.  When a dangerous product leaves a child injured or claims a child’s life, our San Francisco child injury law firm can help the family get recover compensation and help to prevent future tragedies from occurring.

IKEA Recalls Furniture Blamed for Six Child Deaths Due to Tip-Over Concerns

As reported this week by SFGate.com and the Associated Press, Ikea is recalling 29 million pieces of furniture in the wake of six reported child deaths linked to toppling units.  According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”), all six deaths involved children aged three years or younger.  One of the deaths occurred some 27 years ago, but the other five occurred between 2002 and 2016.  Additionally, the CPSC reports it has received 36 reports on child injuries linked to the furniture.

It seems like every few weeks we hear about a new vehicle recall.  In some ways, our San Francisco vehicle defect lawyer sees this as a good thing because it suggests vigilance on behalf of those issuing and performing recalls.  In other ways, it is distressing because it means unsafe vehicles are making it to the market and on to our nation’s roads.  When a recall is issued, car owners typically receive a notice in the mail and may also hear about the recall in the media and recognize that it impacts their vehicle.  A question has lingered, however — What happens to recalled rental cars?

NHTSA Announces New Law Addressing Recalls and Rental Cars

This month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) issued an important policy announcement involving recalls and rental cars.  Effective June 1, rental car agencies are required by law to remedy any and all open safety defects before renting a vehicle to a consumer.  This law applies to any company or dealer with more than 35 vesafercarhicles in its fleet and makes it illegal for those organizations to rent out an unrepaired recalled vehicle.  Additionally, the law gives the NHTSA the power to investigate and punish those who violate this new rule.

pool2As summer nears, pools and lakes are becoming (forgive the pun) hot spots.  With the arrival of the water recreation season comes an increased danger of drowning and children are particularly at risk.  Often, drowning is a tragic accident.  However, sometimes drowning, in particular swimming pool drowning, occurs because a company or individual is negligent.  When negligence puts people in danger, our Santa Rosa pool injury lawyer fights for the victims and for their families.

Fatal Drowning in Rohnert Park Condo Pool

One of the first reported drowning deaths of the 2016 season occurred on Sunday according to a report from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.  Police believe that a young child was using a kickboard in the swimming pool at a Sonoma condominium complex when he slipped off the board.  Officers suspect that the 4-year-old boy was underwater for several minutes before he was spotted.  Bystanders attempted CPR and rescue workers, who arrived within four minutes of the 911 call, continued the efforts, but they were unsuccessful and the boy was pronounced dead at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.  A representative from the police office urged great care as the water activity season begins stating, “Whether you’re swimming or boating, in a lake, a pool or the ocean, it doesn’t matter the age, be observant, be aware.”

Many smokers have turned to e-cigarettes in recent years, often with the hope that the product will be safer than traditional cigarettes.  However, the research is far from clear and e-cigarettes are far from harmless.  Aside from the danger to the person using them, a recent study notes the rising numbers of children being poisoned by the liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes.  As a San Francisco dangerous products lawyer, Greg Brod is watching the e-cigarette poisoning story and ready to help Californians whenever unduly dangerous products put people, especially children, at risk.

E-Cigarettes Generally

E-cigarettes are, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), one of several forms of Electronic Nicotine Systems.  Vaporizers and vape pens are closely related.  These devices heat a liquid containing nicotine is heated into an aerosol form that is then inhaled by the user.  The liquids often contain flavorings and a range of other ingredients as well.  E-cigarette use has skyrocketed in the past few years, especially among teens.

Despite a movement towards farmer’s markets and co-ops, most Americans still get the bulk of their food from grocery stores and large retailers.  In 2016, we should be able to trust that these products are safe.  Unfortunately, foodborne illness remains a major problem in this country as a recent listeria outbreak demonstrates.  While most people might suffer a bad stomach ache after exposure to foodborne bacteria, some end up in the hospital and some even die.  Our San Francisco food safety lawyer is here to help when unsafe foods cause serious consequences.

Major Outbreak of Listeria Leads to Massive Recall

CBS SF recently reported on an outbreak of listeria that has prompted a massive recall of frozen foods.  According to the report, the Centers for Diseaseveggies Control (“CDC”) has released a list of 358 frozen fruit and vegetable products, including 42 different brand names, that may be contaminated with the potentially deadly bacteria.  The list includes products sold in all 50 states by retailers including Safeway, Costco, and Trader Joe’s.  At least 8 people have been hospitalized after consuming contaminated foods, two of whom later died of other causes.

Last summer, Californians and the nation watched in disbelief as the story of the Berkeley balcony collapse unfolded.  Six people died and many others were injured in the tragedy.  The pictures were shocking and made many of us think twice before stepping out onto our own balconies and terraces.  Some ten months later, lawmakers and others are trying to figure out what went wrong.  As a San Francisco construction law firm committed to helping people injured or left grieving by dangerous structures, the Brod Law Firm is following the developments.

State Senate Looks at Safety Records and State Law in Balcony Collapse Review

As KPIX reports, a California State Senate subcommittee is looking into what caused the deadly balcony collapse last June.  State Senator Jerry Hill focused the discussion on the history of the construction company that has been accused of performing shoddy construction that allegedly led to the structural failure.  Hill noted that the company has paid some $26.5 million to settle construction defect cases in the past.