Articles Posted in Defective Products

Defective products lawsuit; photo of white powder puff and talcum powder on black surfaceA Missouri jury recently ordered pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson to pay $4.14 billion in punitive damages to 22 defendants who claimed use of the company’s talc products led to their development of ovarian cancer. This comes on top of an award of $550 million in compensatory damages, for a grand total of $4.69 billion ordered by that jury, making this the 6th largest jury verdict in U.S. history in a defective products case.

This is the latest in a series of cases against J&J claiming a correlation between extended use of the company’s talc products, including baby powder, and ovarian cancer. A small number of those cases, including the Missouri case cited above, contend that the company’s talc products are contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen.

A spokesperson for the company stated that J&J, which has been successful in getting past verdicts related to this issue reversed, plans to appeal this latest verdict on grounds that it was the result of a “fundamentally unfair process.” To learn more about this ongoing court battle, read “Johnson & Johnson told to pay $4.7 billion in baby powder case.”

toy-safety-400-06429095d-300x207Could the toys on your child’s holiday wish list be hiding the risk for potential injury? Before you fulfill those wishes, you might want to check out this year’s “Top 10 Worst Toy” list issued by the consumer safety group, World Against Toys Causing Harm, also known as WATCH.

This group has been issuing such lists for more than 40 years to alert consumers to the potential hazards hidden in some of the season’s “must-have” toys. Conversely, an industry trade group known as The Toy Association has criticized WATCH for failing to test the toys on its lists and needlessly scaring parents.

According to The Toy Association, toys must meet stringent safety requirements before they can be sold in the U.S.  WATCH, however, questions the adequacy of these standards, noting a high number of recalls. To learn more about this safety debate and to see which toys made this year’s list, read “Safety Group Unveils Top 10 Worst Toy List for 2017.”

food-processor-recall-400-07820538d-200x300Conair Corp. last month recalled about eight million Cuisinart brand food processors just as home cooks were putting the machines to work chopping, grating and mixing food in preparation for the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays. The recall, which involves the stainless steel riveted blades in Cuisinart food processors sold nationwide between July 1996 and December 2015, came after the company received more than 65 complaints from consumers who found pieces of broken blades in food that had been processed with these machines. About 30 of those complaints included reports of cuts to the mouth and tooth injuries.

The sheer number of machines affected makes this one of the three largest appliance recalls ever in America. Consumers were urged to stop using their food processors and contact Cuisinart for a replacement blade. However the timing of the recall, coupled with the fact that homemakers could have had the food processors in their kitchens for more than 20 years, caused some consumers to decide to keep a careful eye on their holiday food preparation rather than participate in the recall. If you own a Cuisinart food processor and want to see if it is affected by this recall, read “8M Cuisinart Food Processors Recalled Over Laceration Hazard.”

phone-batteries-400-06177414dThese days it seems almost everyone is attached to their smart phones. Not only do these devices keep us connected to colleagues, friends and family, they also provide access to a wealth of information with the touch of a finger. Along with all the advantages these mobile devices offer, there are risks -and not only those risks associated with distracted driving.

Samsung, a leading manufacturer of cell phones, recently launched a major recall of the Galaxy Note 7 due to a defective battery. According to reports, the batteries in this particular smart phone are at risk of exploding due to a “manufacturing process error.” There have yet to be reports of injuries stemming from these battery explosions, although investigators are looking into a possible connection between the battery problem and two massive fires (see “Samsung’s recalled Galaxy Note 7 blamed for Jeep and garage fires”). Even the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is getting involved by asking customers to not pack these phones into checked baggage and to refrain from turning them on or charging them in flight. For further details, read “FAA Issues Warning About Samsung Phones …”

bike-helmets-400-07614659dBiking is a popular pastime particularly in the warm weather months, and parents often take their young children along for the ride even before they are able to peddle on their own.  A properly fitted infant bike helmet can help to protect your child from injury while enjoying the ride. In fact, it’s the law.

In New Jersey, everyone under the age of 17 must wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. That includes passengers. Parents in the market for an infant bike helmet should be aware that Pacific Cycle, a Wisconsin-based company, has issued a recall for certain infant bicycle helmets bearing the Schwinn brand name. According to reports, the buckles on the helmets’ chin straps can become loose, posing a choking hazard. For details, read “Infant Bike Helmets Sold at Target Recalled Over Choking Hazard.”

counterfeit-products-400-07681309dThe next time you see an item for sale at a price too good to be true, consider the ramifications before you buy. Chances are the product is a knockoff of the original design and not only could you be exchanging quality for savings, but you could be increasing your risk of injury or illness.

A recent report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) revealed that the problem of counterfeit merchandise today has reached far beyond luxury clothing accessories, and the risks associated with these products has increased dramatically especially when connected with such sectors as toy manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. The big danger to consumers is that these knockoffs are usually of inferior quality compared to the original products. This low quality can compromise the health and safety of the consumer. To see just how far-reaching this problem has become today, read “Counterfeit goods: A $461 billion problem.”

hoverboards: photo of train at station like those now banning hoverboardsThey were all the craze this past holiday season, but now hoverboards have gone from topping wishlists to topping banned items lists.

As with any personal transportation device, from bicycles to skateboards, hoverboards require some practice before you can master the art of riding one. Immediately following the holidays, the Internet was full of videos depicting epic fails of people attempting to use their hoverboards for the first time. Adults and children alike were urged to wear proper safety equipment when using their hoverboards to protect against injury. This isn’t the danger that is prompting the ban of hoverboards however.

Reports of defective lithium ion batteries bursting into flames while hoverboards are being recharged have prompted authorities on college campuses and officials in transportation authorities to ban hoverboards from their premises. NJ Transit is the latest to join the long list of places participating in the ban. For more details, read “NJ TRANSIT Bans Hoverboards On Trains, Light Rail.”

color photo of a finger pointing to a car's keyless ignition switchMost new cars today come equipped with a keyless ignition feature that allows the driver to start the car without ever taking the key from his or her pocket or purse – they simply push a button. While many drivers quickly grow to appreciate this new convenience, some claim keyless ignition systems are defective and pose a potential deadly hazard.

Class action lawsuits have been filed against car manufacturers alleging that the keyless ignition feature makes it too easy for drivers to unintentionally leave their cars running. When this happens in an enclosed garage, carbon monoxide fumes can build up and potentially enter the attached homes threatening the safety of the home’s occupants.

An article appearing recently on www.nbcnewyork.com titled, “I-Team: Class Action Lawsuits Expose Potential Dangers of Keyless Ignitions,” details one case of carbon monoxide poisoning claimed to be connected with the keyless ignition issue and discusses the class action lawsuits car makers are now facing.

Halloween injuries: headshot of girl in costume with platinum hair and bright blue eyes wearing bird's nest veilHalloween is just around the corner and if you want a real scare, consider the following statistics:

  • Halloween ranks among the top three holidays in terms of injuries and / or fatalities. The other two most dangerous holidays are July 4th (fireworks) and New Year’s Eve (drunk driving).
  • In the 20-year period from 1990 to 2010, the number of fatal accidents involving child pedestrians on Halloween averaged 5.5 each year, compared with 2.6 for other days.

stroller-recallThe U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) last week announced the recall of nearly 5 million baby strollers and urged parents and caregivers to take immediate action to prevent possible injury to the strollers’ young occupants. So far, 11 injuries ranging from lacerations to complete fingertip amputations caused by a defective hinge have been reported.(1)

The affected strollers, sold under the Graco and Century brand names, were manufactured between August 1, 2000 and September 25, 2014. According to the recall notice, folding hinges on these strollers can trap a baby’s finger resulting in injury. Of the injuries reported so far, there was one laceration, and four partial and six complete amputations of the children’s fingertips.(2)

A report by Daily Finance noted that this recall is very similar to a 2010 recall by Graco and one of its competitors, MacLaren, adding that the earlier recall involved far fewer strollers. Then this past summer, Graco recalled about 4 million child car seats because of an issue with the buckles that posed a hazard of children being trapped in the seats.(3)

In response to this most recent recall, Graco is offering repair kits which will include a cover for the faulty hinges. These kits are expected to be available by December 1. In the meantime, parents and caregivers are urged to be diligent if using one of the affected strollers to make certain that it is fully locked after unfolding before putting their child inside. Parents are also being warned to remove their child immediately if the stroller should begin to fold while the child is inside.(1)

Even strollers not affected by this recall require the diligent supervision of adults to prevent injuries to children. According to the Keeping Babies Safe website, the most common injury related to strollers result from falls and almost 90% of these result in head injuries. The CPSC reports at least two deaths each year from stroller-related accidents. Most deaths occur when the children are left to sleep with the stroller in a reclining position because caregivers neglect to realize that even infants as young as a couple of weeks can move in their sleep. As the babies move, they slip through the stroller’s leg holes until their heads get trapped, which could result in suffocation or strangulation.(4) Continue reading