Articles Posted in Product Liability

freestocks-org-126848-copy-300x200Drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson agreed to a $33 million settlement with the federal government and 42 states after it was alleged that its subsidiaries failed to maintain quality control standards and produced defective products over a two-year period. The defective over-the-counter medications include: Tylenol, Motrin, St. Joseph Aspirin, Benadryl, Sudafed, Zyrtec and Zyrtec Eye Drops, Rolaids, Pepcid, and Mylanta. It was alleged that these products had musty odors, contained unwanted particles and bacteria, and did not dissolve properly. This put products with improper labels on the market and put consumers at risk.

More on the Settlement

Under the settlement agreement, the responsible subsidiaries, McNeil-PPC and McNeil Consumer Health Care, agree to not unlawfully promote OTC medications. They will uphold internal standards and federal regulations, including taking preventative and corrective actions when manufacturing OTC drugs. The businesses will not represent online that their manufacturing facilities meet Good Manufacturing Practices if they instigated a recall of an OTC drug product within the previous 12 months. If a recall occurs, they will promptly respond to all written requests from attorneys general seeking information to identify wholesalers and warehouses of the affected drugs.

alisa-anton-134332-copy-300x200As of March 7, the SoyNut Butter Company has recalled all I.M. Healthy SoyNut butter and I.M. Health Granola due to contamination. According to the Food and Drug Administration, these products have Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria. The company previously announced a voluntary recall of its I.M. Healthy Original Creamy SoyNut Butter, but additional illnesses and investigations led to an expansion of the recall to include the chunky, honey cream, unsweetened, and chocolate varieties. The granola comes in original, apple, blueberry, and raisin and cranberry, which are all subject to the current recall. All sizes of these products should be immediately thrown away.

Reported Illnesses

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating 16 illnesses linked to the SoyNut Butter Company products across New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Wisconsin, Missouri, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and California. The first six states have one illness each, while Oregon has two reported illnesses and California and Arizona each have four.

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

800px-Pine_Chest_of_Drawers_Handle-300x225A furniture warning and recall from IKEA has prompted many people to take steps to make their dressers safer. Dressers, and other large pieces of furniture pose a serious danger to young children. Children may climb on the furniture, causing it to fall onto them. IKEA furniture has injured or killed some children. Although any furniture is capable of falling, IKEA has taken steps to make their furniture less hazardous. As recently as this week, parents have reported toppling furniture that has fallen onto toddlers.

What Causes Furniture to Fall?

Dressers and similar pieces of furniture are naturally top heavy. While the drawers are closed there is generally no danger. However, when the drawers are open, it can cause the dresser to have more weight in the front, causing it to fall over. Young children have been found to open drawers in order to climb on the dressers. When a child opens a drawer and puts his weight on it, the dresser is unable to remain steady, and can topple forward, directly onto the child.

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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.