Articles Posted in Class Actions

800px-BladeCuisinart-300x198You likely use metal kitchen utensils all the time. You would hardly think twice of using a metal knife. In the same way, it is entirely normal that a blender or food processor has metal blades. You use metal implements to cook and bake because you expect the material to be strong, sharp, and resist wear and tear. However, as a Cuisinart product proved, you can encounter kitchen tools made with inferior metal parts that lead to dangerous situations and injuries. Conair recently recalled approximately 8 million Cuisinart food processors because of reports that pieces of the blades were breaking off into food. Conair received 69 reports of broken blades, 30 of which included information about tooth injuries and lacerations inside the mouth, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported.

If you have been injured due to a defective productive like the Cuisinart food processor, you should speak with an attorney about bringing a product liability claim in court. California product liability law is complex, and it is best to have an experienced lawyer on your side if you need to recover compensation.

Understanding Product Liability Claims

2006-02-13_Drop_before_impactA carcinogenic chemical discovered in the water supply of Hinkley, California almost thirty years ago is now turning up in increased concentrations elsewhere in the United States. The chemical at issue is known as chromium-6 – the same chemical compound that legal clerk Erin Brockovich famously discovered in her hometown’s water supply – and it is present at potentially unsafe levels in the drinking water of approximately 218 million people. The report was completed by the Environmental Working Group and was released last week and found that Los Angeles’s water supply (along with Phoenix, Arizona, St. Louis, Missouri, and Houston, Texas) had some of the highest levels of chromium-6 in the nation.

What is Chromium-6 and What are its Risks?

Chromium-6 is a heavy metal that is used in the steel-making process as well as energy production. The Environmental Protection Agency classifies it as an “emerging contaminant.” This requires utility companies to monitor for the presence of chromium-6 but the utility company is not required to limit the metal’s presence to a specific amount. This despite the conclusion of the National Toxicology Program that chromium-6 was a “known human carcinogen” and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s conclusion that chromium-6 to be associated with cancers of the respiratory system and/or gastrointestinal system.

There are many benefits to living in California.  We have gorgeous weather, wonderful people, and beautiful natural spaces that range from beaches to mountains and deserts to forests.  Of course, there are downsides and perhaps the most-voiced concern (aside from cost of living!) is the ever-present risk of earthquakes.  While earthquakes are a natural phenomenon, the actions or inaction of people/entities can add to the risk of injury or property damage.  At the Brod Law Firm, our Northern California earthquake lawyer helps people bring civil lawsuits after a California earthquake.  These include suits against various parties whose negligence had tragic results as well as suits against insurance companies who deny valid claims.

Major Earthquakes Strike Italy and Myanmar Bringing Tragedy to Two Nations

This week, the world was reminded of the havoc and tragedy that earthquakes can unleash.  As CNN reported, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck central Italy in the early hours of Wednesday August 24.  Early reports put the death toll at 73 (Note: The number has since increased to at least 241.).  The mayor of Amatrice, where most of the fatalities occurred, told CNN: “The town is no more.”  At least 100 people were injured.  Officials expect death and injury tolls to rise in as rescuers dig through the rubble.  The risk is far from over as aftershocks are expected to roll through in the coming days.

At the Brod Law Firm, we are concerned with the health and safety of all who live in and visit Northern California.  We believe wholeheartedly in “Prevention First” and we would much rather see accidents avoided than see clients after the fact.  Still, we are also committed to victims.  We represent people who are injured or grieving because of the actions (or inaction) of a negligent person or careless company.  Our dual commitment can be seen in our work as an Oakland refinery accident law firm.  We advocate for refinery safety in the hopes of preventing refinery accidents.  We also represent people injured in refinery fires, harmed by toxic gases released from area refineries, or otherwise injured because a refinery failed to take preventative measures.

Report Criticizes Tesoro Refinery for “Safety Culture Deficiencies”

Earlier this week, ABC7 reported on the release of a new federal report that criticizes officials at Tesoro Martinez Refinery for promoting a lax safety culture.  The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (“CSB”) cited 15 separate acid spills at refinerythe refinery during a five-year span including the 2014 spill during which two refinery employees were burned and some 84,000 pounds of sulfuric acid were released.  According to the CSB’s chairwoman, “While these incidents may appear to be isolated events, they are indicative of safety culture deficiencies at the Tesoro Martinez Refinery.”  Likewise, one of the lead investigators suggested that sampling systems used by the refinery “routinely exposed operators to avoidable risk.”

poisonBreathing is one of the most fundamental life-sustaining activities and one we typically do with very little forethought.  A fresh breath of air can not only nourish our bodies, but also center our minds.  Yet, far too often, our air is contaminated by a range of different toxins.  Hazardous airborne chemicals, including dangerous substances in the toxic gas released by burning plastics, can be harmful and even deadly.  As an Oakland toxic exposure law firm, the Brod Law firm works to get compensation for people made ill by air that was made toxic by human negligence or even intentional acts.

Safety Concerns Following Fire at Plastics Plant in Newark

There were many people expressing concerns about toxic air following a fire in Newark this past Friday.  SFGate reports that it took fire crews two-and-a-half hours to contain a two-alarm fire at a plastics recycling plant on the 6500 block of Smith Avenue.  According to the report, the plant used to house the Western Pacific Pulp and Paper Company which now subleases the building to AHG Recycling, a company that deals with plastics products.

Some of therefinery most important things in our lives are those we rarely think about, like trusting that the brakes will engage when you step on the appropriate pedal.  They can also be some of the most dangerous when things go awry.  Oil and gas lines are among these things.  Oil and gas quite literally fuel our lives.  We trust that the companies that supply these utilities are doing what they should to keep us safe and prevent, among other things, pipeline explosions.  As Californians know all too well, this isn’t always the case and our San Francisco pipeline accident attorney is here to help when tragedy strikes.

Expert Contradicts PG&E’s Interpretation of Rules in Trial Stemming from 2010 San Bruno Explosion

The safety of gas pipelines is in the news this week as Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (“PG&E”) faces criminal charges and fines of up to $562 million alleged violations arising out of the investigation that followed the deadly pipeline explosion in San Bruno in September 2010.  SFGate reports that a government engineer testified this week and contradicted PG&E’s assertion that certain pipeline-related rules are vague and self-defeating.  While PG&E contends that a rule on pipeline pressure is vague and creates odd incentives, the prosecution witness testified that it was far from obscure, had been discussed at public workshops, and was explained on the agency website.  During his opening statement, PG&E’s attorney said the company did its best to comply with vague regulations.

Many of us have, at one time or another, been told to develop a “thicker skin.”  In colloquial usage, this generally means one should be less sensitive to criticism or other negative words.  However, it turns out that in the world of bed bugs a thicker skin is a very real physical trait and one that makes the pests even tougher to eradicate.  This is important news.  Our San Francisco tenant’s lawyer believes landlords in particular should be paying attention because landlords can and should be held responsible when their failure to take appropriate action leaves residents suffering and prolongs a bed bug infestation in the Bay Area.

Bed Bugs Devebedbugsloping Resistance to Certain Insecticides

This week, CNN reported that researchers in Australia found that bedbugs have begun to develop thicker skins that allow them to survive certain bug sprays.  Bed bugs are parasites that feed on human blood and they have made a major resurgence in recent decades.  Researchers believe the pests are only growing stronger and more resistant to certain treatments.  In the recent study, researchers found that bed bugs that had a thicker natural covering were more likely to survive certain insecticides.  The scientists hope that this research helps in the continued effort to “spot a chink in their armour” and develop more effective treatments.

Eating healthy has never been so easy…or so hard.   Thanks to the Internet and increased access to information about nutrition and other health topics, consumers have a wealth of information at their fingertips.  Still, sometimes all that information becomes overwhelming, especially with more products appearing on store shelves making a wide range of promises.  Useful and accurate labeling is critical to enabling consumers to make informed choices.  Food labeling lawsuits allow consumers to fight back when companies make false and potentially dangerous promises.  As a food safety law firm in San Francisco, the Brod Law Firm believes consumers must be able to trust food labels and rely on companies to produce safe foods that live up to company promises.

herbsCalifornia Supreme Court Rules in Organic Labeling Case

Last week, the Supreme Court of California issued an important ruling in favor of consumers in a food labeling lawsuit.  At issue according to NBC7 was whether consumers could file suit in California alleging that a product was falsely labeled “organic.”  A lower appeals court had ruled such suits were barred by federal law which typically supersedes state law.  That decision, handed down in 2013, held that Congress intended that government officials would be solely responsible for policing the term in order to create a uniform national standard.

For many women, and an increasing number of men, a day at the spa is a small luxury that leaves them relaxed and feeling attractive.  Nail salons and spas offer a wide range of services, especially if you include so-called “health spas” in the mix.  Recently, a news story brought national attention to an extreme service offered at some spas after an employee died while using a treatment device that is increasingly popular with athletes and celebrities.  However, the risks lurking at salons are not limited to the more unusual services.  The danger of spa and nail salon injuries is very real, lurking behind even popular, wide-spread services like manicures and pedicures.  As a salon injury lawyer in San Francisco with additional salon injury law offices in Sonoma and Oakland, Attorney Brod is prepared to help individuals who went to a spa seeking bliss and instead found injury and pain.

The Extreme: Worker Dies Using Cryotherapy Chamber at Nevada Spa

An Associated Press (“AP”) report carried by SFGate.com details the disturbing death of a young spa employee in Las Vegas.  According to the article, a fellow employee found the 24-year-old woman frozen to death inside a cryotherapy chamber earlier this month.  It appears the deceased used the chamber after closing a day prior.  Cryotherapy involves putting users into a chamber for just a minute or two and using liquid nitrogen to achieve sub-zero temperature.  Proponents, including athletes, say it can relieve post-exercise pain, improve healing, and increase circulation.  Some salons also tout the treatment as a weight loss aid and anti-aging remedy.

According to LA Weekly and State Assemblyman Nazarian (D, San Fernando Valley), eradicating bed bugs can cost anywhere from $400 to several thousand dollars.  This is a heavy burden for anyone, but it can seem astronomical to lower-income renters.  Our San Francisco bed bug lawyer stands ready to help renters afflicted with bed bugs in section 8 housing when landlords fail to live up to their legal duties.  We are also prepared to file bed bug class actions on behalf of tenant groups in either Section 8 or traditional rental units.

Special Rules on Bed Bugs in Section 8 Housing

Cimex lectulariusIn April 2012, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) issued Notice H2012-05.  Notice 2012-5 is intended to clarify the best practices for preventing and controlling infestations in HUD insured and assisted multifamily properties.  HUD suggests that owners and management agents (“O/As”) develop and implement an Integrated Pest Management Plan (“IPM”) that focuses on prevention as a primary tool in the bed bug battle.  Although it is presented as a suggestion rather than a requirement, the Notice recommends that O/As train staff on bed bug identification, take ongoing steps to prevent infestation, engage and educate resident on bed bug issues, and provide orientation materials to both staff and residents regarding bed bugs.  Tenants are urged to cooperate by maintaining living environments that help prevent infestations including avoiding unreasonable clutter that can provide hiding spaces for insects.