Recently in Dangerous Products Category

May 23, 2011

Coral Springs Personal Injury Lawyer Looks at Products Liability and Strict Liability for Pressure Cooker Possibly Causing Leg Amputation

A Miami woman suffered serious personal injuries when a defective product she was cooking with exploded on May 19, 2011. The 79-year-old woman, whose identity has not been released, was using a pressure cooker, when it exploded after falling on the floor. A piece of the pressure cooker ended up cutting off her left leg. The woman survived the accident, and doctors are now working in an attempt to save her leg.

Another news story regarding a products liability case based on defective pressure cookers happened in 2007, when HSN paid an $875,000 penalty to settle allegations from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that HSN did not immediately report consumer burn injury complaints. According to CPSC allegations, HSN got a minimum of 25 safety complaints about the pressure cookers they retailed from September 2001 until around October 2004, but only reported them in February 2005.

It is mandatory that companies such as HSN report consumer complaints regarding defective and dangerous products to the CPSC. According to Federal law, these reports must be filed immediately in order to alert the public about any safety issues pertaining to personal injuries.

As Coral Springs products liability lawyers, we handle cases dealing with dangerous products and defects in design and manufacture under a negligence cause of action, as well as cases of strict liability. Under strict liability, the Plaintiff (person injured) is not required to prove that the manufacturer or seller of a product was negligent in producing or selling the product as the manufacturer or seller have a duty by law to produce and sell safe products. Lawsuits alleging strict liability or negligence each have their pros and cons and it is important to discuss your case with an injury lawyer who can recommend the best strategies for you case.

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March 14, 2011

Toyota's Latest Recall Affects 2.17 Million U.S. Vehicles

Just one year after Toyota recalled over 2 million vehicles for gas pedal issues resulting in involuntary acceleration, the company is recalling another 2.17 million vehicles due to gas pedals sticking in floor mats or driver's side carpeting.

The models recalled include the Lexus GS, Lexus RX, Toyota Highlander, Toyota 4Runner, Lexus LX and Toyota RAV4. For more details about the recall, visit this report on cnn.com.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urged Toyota to issue its latest recall following a lengthy investigation. Since 2009, Toyota has recalled over 14 million vehicles worldwide to repair gas pedals and other safety issues. Several wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits have been filed against Toyota because of gas pedal issues resulting in injuries. One lawsuit involves a Houston man who sued Toyota after his wife was killed in a 2009 car accident.

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February 21, 2011

Monitor Designed for Infant Safety Kills Two Infants

A baby monitor, designed to keep infants safe, ironically ended up killing two infants in the U.S. in 2010, prompting a recall in February 2011. Summer Infant, Inc., a manufacturer of baby safety products, in conjunction with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), has recalled 1.7 million video baby monitors after two babies were strangled to death by the product.

Since 2004, there have been seven reports of infant strangulations due to baby monitors. The first reported strangulation caused by Summer Infant video monitors happened in March 2010 and the second in November 2010. Both infants were strangled by the electrical cords of their monitors.

Summer Infant is not making changes to the product. Instead, it is issuing new warning labels and revised instructions for monitors with electrical cords, along with providing consumer education. Consumers can go the the Summer Infant website to receive this information or call 1-800-426-8627.

The video monitors affected by the recall were sold between January 2003 and February 2011 nationwide for $60 to $300.

The CPSC and Summer Infant warn parents that the cords on the monitors can be dangerous if placed within a baby's reach. Parents and caregivers are urged to check the placement of their monitors and cords and make sure their infants are not able to reach the electric cords on the monitors.

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January 31, 2011

Merck Vaccine Gardasil Linked to 56 Deaths in the U.S.

Gardasil, the popular HPV vaccine, has been linked to 56 deaths in the United States as of September 30, 2010. Over 17,000 adverse side effects have also been reported, some of the more serious side effects including blood clots, epilepsy, miscarriages, and Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a nerve disorder that can cause muscle weakness and paralysis.

Gardasil, manufactured by Merck, got FDA approval in 2006 to help protect against certain strains of HPV (Human Papillomavirus), which can lead to cervical cancer in females and genital warts in males. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 32 million doses have been given in the U.S. Gardasil is commonly used for females ages 9-26, but as of October 2009 when the FDA approved use of the vaccine in males, it has also been used by males ages 9-26. Merck also manufactured Vioxx, the painkiller that was recalled because it allegedly caused thousands of deaths from heart problems and strokes.

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October 13, 2010

FDA Recalls Diet Drug Meridia

Drawing similarities to the now infamous drug, Fen Phen, the FDA recently recommended the recall of another weight loss drug, Meridia. Abbott Labs, the manufacturer of Meridia, followed through, withdrawing it on October 8, 2010. This decision comes after last month's split vote of an FDA panel over whether to withdraw the drug or add a black box warning to its label.

A medical study which showed an increased risk of strokes and heart attacks in people with heart disease prompted the FDA's recommendation to recall Meridia. The study, called the Sibutramine Cardiovascular Outcomes Trial (SCOUT), revealed that patients who took Meridia, also known as Sibutramine, had a 16% higher chance of heart attack and stroke than patients who took a placebo.

Meridia was approved by the FDA in 1997 and before the recall, was being used by about 100,000 people in the United States. Some of its side effects include chest pain, lightheadedness, irregular heartbeat and nausea. On January 21, 2010, the FDA alerted doctors and patients about Meridia's updated label information, in which Abbott agreed to include a new contraindication that it should not be taken by people with a history of cardiovascular problems including congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, and coronary artery disease. Other warnings included Meridia's link to cardiac valve dysfunction and primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH). The FDA advises that doctors stop prescribing Meridia, and patients cease taking this drug and ask their doctors for a different weight loss plan.

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September 22, 2010

Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer?

There have been numerous studies over the past several years regarding cell phone radiation and its possible link to cancer. While some studies suggest a link and others dismiss the idea, the answer to the cell phone- cancer link question continues to be a debate among researchers. What is a known fact, however, is that cell phones emit radiation.

In June 2010 in San Francisco, a law was passed requiring all cell phone retailers to show how much radiation cell phones emit. This law is meant to protect consumers by making this information readily available when people purchase their phones. The Wireless Association (CTIA), a group that represents the cell phone industry, was not happy about this law, and sued the city claiming this law is unconstitutional and leads consumers to believe that the FCC's standards are not enough. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) oversees cell phone radiation standards in the United States, and demands that all cell phones be tested for radiation levels in independent labs.

A study by researchers at the non-profit Environmental Working Group discloses how much radiation is emitted by over 1200 cell phone models. Although the EWG argues that longer-term exposure (ten years or more) to cell phone radiation increases brain tumor risks, there is currently no conclusive evidence that proves there is a cell phone radiation-cancer link from either short or long-term usage. The EWG's goal with the report was to inform consumers so they could take measures to lower their potential risks. Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) is a measure of how much radiation the body absorbs when using a cell phone. The website www.sarshield.com contains information on cell phone radiation and has a radiation chart where users can find out how much radiation their cell phone emits.

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September 8, 2010

DePuy Hip Implant Recall Affects Thousands

Patients who have undergone hip replacement surgery using DePuy hip implants should know that DePuy Orthopaedics has recalled their ASR hip implants. According to research by a British agency, 1 out of every 8 people who had ASR implants needed to have their surgery corrected within 5 years. This DePuy design defect affects thousands of people -- over 90,000 DePuy hip implants have been implanted worldwide. The hip implant models included in this recall are the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System.

Hip replacement surgery is a complicated surgery that can be very painful for some patients. When a patient has hip replacement surgery, they can usually expect their implants to last for 15 years or longer without needing a second surgery. However, due to DePuy's design failure in their ASR hip implants, many patients need to undergo corrective surgery within five years. Patients who are experiencing pain and having trouble walking after hip replacement using DePuy's ASR implants may have a defective implant. DePuy recommends that people with these types of implants see their doctors for a follow-up visit regardless of whether they are experiencing pain or other problems. For more information on the ASR implant recall, visit the DePuy Corporation's website.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been receiving complaints regarding the design failure in DePuy hip implants for over two years - around 400 complaints in the United States. According to The New York Times, some orthopedic experts are appalled that DePuy did not recall their devices earlier.

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August 17, 2010

Drop-Side Crib Ban Looming, Government Recommends New Crib Safety Standards

Drop-side cribs have been a safety issue for several years. Following the largest recall of drop-side cribs in the United States - 2.1 million cribs manufactured by Stork Craft - there was another recall this summer that included over 2 million drop-side cribs from seven different manufacturers. Over the last five years, more than nine million cribs have been recalled. Many of these recalls are the result of design defects which have led to serious, and sometimes fatal, results. Drop-side cribs have caused 32 deaths and hundreds of injuries to children since 2000.

Last month the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted unanimously to ban drop-side cribs and also recommended new crib safety standards. When the new standards are implemented, the manufacture and sale of drop-side cribs will be forbidden, and hotels and daycares will be prohibited from using them. With child safety being the main concern, new standards also call for better construction and improved mattress support. These standards will be published by the end of the year, and after a final vote, are expected to be implemented next year.

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May 26, 2010

Florida Parents Beware: Drop-Side Cribs Soon to be Banned Nationwide

Drop-side cribs are dangerous. That is the message Congress wants parents to know. The tragic death of a 6-month old baby boy from Long Island, New York, is a grim example. The infant became trapped and suffocated when the side rail on his drop-side crib malfunctioned. At least 32 babies in the last 10 years have suffocated or were strangled in drop-side cribs. In addition, 14 infant fatalities have been linked to drop-side cribs in that time frame.

According to reports, efforts have been made in Congress to prohibit the making, selling and reselling of all drop-side cribs and to ban them from establishments such as hotels and day care facilities. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is taking action to get the ban underway and is urging parents to understand the dangers of using drop-side cribs. The Consumer Product Safety Commission plans to make fixed-side cribs the new standard and to ban the sale and manufacture of drop-side cribs by the end of 2010.

Since 2005, over 7 million drop-side cribs have been recalled, usually due to malfunctioning hardware which can cause the drop-side rail to loosen or break. When the rail becomes detached, it creates a space between the side rail and mattress where a baby can get trapped and become strangled or suffocate. Although the crib industry favored fixed-side over drop-side cribs last year by voting to do away with the drop-side design, it is not yet mandatory for crib manufacturers to make only fixed-side cribs.

Some retailers, including Wal-Mart and Babies R Us, have already stopped selling drop-side cribs. Despite the warnings from the CPSC and Congress, drop-side cribs are still widely available online. Parents and caretakers should be aware of the dangers in using drop-side cribs and should avoiding using them at all costs.

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May 18, 2010

Deadly Hammocks: Florida Teen's Strangulation Shocks Broward County

A 13-year-old Davie boy has died after he was found with a hammock wrapped around his neck on May 2. The young man's father found him in his room entangled in the hammock and attempted to revive him through CPR. At the hospital, the young man was placed in a medically-induced coma, but never recovered. How he became entangled in the hammock and his exact cause of death are still being investigated according to reports.

Although the details of how this tragic death occurred remain unclear, hammocks have a history of being strangulation risks. This risk is especially prevalent in devices characterized as baby- or mini-hammocks which consist of light weight, nylon mesh and do not employ a spreader bar. These hammocks have been identified as strangulation and suffocation risks to babies and young children by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) for years and have undergone numerous recalls. The risk stems from a defective design that fails to provide a spreader bar to keep the mesh from pulling tight into a single rope which children can become entangled in while getting into and out of the hammock.

The death of this young man, while extremely tragic, is not unprecedented. In 2008, an eight-year-old Indiana boy reportedly died after a hammock he and his brothers were playing on became wrapped around his neck causing suffocation. Twelve children between the ages of 5 and 17 years old died after becoming entangled in mini-hammocks without spreader bars from 1984 to 1995 according to the CPSC.

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May 10, 2010

Drug Alert: Patients Using Certain Anticonvulsant Drugs may be at Risk of Suicide

Users of some well-known anticonvulsant drugs may be at risk of committing or attempting suicide, according to researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last month.

The study researched records of over 297,000 patients who took anticonvulsants between 2001 and 2006 and were 15 years of age or older. The analysis revealed 801 attempted suicides, 26 suicides and 41 violent deaths in the first 60 days of patients taking anticonvulsant drugs. This research comes after a 2008 FDA drug warning on anticonvulsants in which the FDA made it mandatory for anticonvulsant drug manufacturers to have a warning about suicidal risks on product labels. The FDA took action after nearly 200 studies were conducted on 11 different medications. The studies revealed that patients who took anticonvulsants doubled their risk of suicide.

Neurontin, manufactured by Pfizer and Novartis's Trileptal were among the drugs researchers found to increase suicide risk by as much as double in people taking these drugs for the first time.

GlaxoSmithKline's Lamictal, and Gabitril, made by Cephalon were also found to increase suicide risk. It is uncertain as to why some anticonvulsant drugs raise the risk of suicide, but it is known that these drugs cause behavior and mood changes.

Anticonvulsant drugs are commonly used by patients with epilepsy; however, drugs such as Lamictal have also been marketed to treat conditions including bipolar disorder and migraine headaches.

The FDA allows doctors to prescribe any medicine they consider suitable for any condition, which means doctors may prescribe drugs off-label (meaning prescribing it for uses unapproved by the FDA) if they think it's necessary. Drug manufacturers, on the other hand, are only allowed to market the drugs for uses that are FDA-approved. However, drug manufacturers don't always follow FDA guidelines for marketing drugs. Earlier this year, in January, Novartis paid a 185 million dollar fine for off-label marketing of the epilepsy drug Trileptal.

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May 6, 2010

Baxter Ordered to Recall & Destroy Defective Medical Pumps

Baxter International has been instructed to recall and destroy its Colleague line of hospital infusion pumps because of what has been described by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as "a long-standing failure" on the part of Baxter to correct numerous defects of the medical device. Although the FDA has for years tried to work with Baxter to correct the pump problems, the agency found Baxter's most recently submitted plan to address the defects was unacceptable because it exposed patients to potential injury for too long a time. The recall will affect about 200,000 pumps according to a Baxter spokesperson.

Infusion pumps are used to deliver timed and calibrated amounts of fluids and medication to hospital patients. However, the Baxter Colleague pumps, which have been labeled by the FDA as causing "persistent safety problems", have been the subject of previous recalls for defects such as battery problems, inadvertent shut-off, and other potentially dangerous or fatal errors.

The FDA has documented approximately 56,000 reports over a five year period of complications with infusion pumps in general including serious injury and more than 500 deaths. Although not all of these incidents are linked to the defective Baxter pumps, in 2005, the FDA confiscated 7000 Colleague pumps after receiving adverse incident reports of 16 patient injuries and seven deaths associated with the defective Baxter device. Hospira, a competing manufacturer and maker of the Symbiq infusion pump, also recently announced it was withholding shipment of its infusion pump amid customer complaints of defective alarming devices.

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April 13, 2010

Toyota's Lexus SUV a Potential Rollover Risk

Florida residents and consumers across the country have been advised not to purchase the Lexus GX 460 SUV until issues with the vehicle's electronic stability control are resolved. This latest warning comes from Consumer Reports after labeling the car a "Don't Buy: Safety Risk" as a result of on-track safety testing. According to ConsumerReports.org, the Lexus SUV is a rollover risk because the electronic stability control fails to engage quickly enough to prevent the back wheels from sliding and causes the vehicle to go sideways.

The test conducted by Consumer Reports simulated a driver taking a curve at high-speed and then attempting to slow down by releasing the accelerator through the turn. Although most cars with electronic stability control compensate for such a situation by cutting engine power and braking individual wheels, the Lexus stability control took too long to engage and correct such driving pattern and allowed the wheels to slide out from under the vehicle. Consumer Reports conceded that neither of the two Lexus SUVs tested actually rolled over during testing, but the poor performance of the vehicle makes the back wheels more likely to come into contact with a curb or leave the roadway causing the vehicle to overturn.

Vehicles that fail to properly prevent rollover accidents because of defective safety equipment should be of great concern to Florida drivers since this state sees more than its fair share of rollover accidents every year. According to the 2008 Traffic Crash Statistic Report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 348 fatal crashes, 8,748 injury crashes, and 1,729 vehicle/property damage crashes involved an overturned vehicle during the reporting year.

Toyota responded to the concerns over its luxury brand's SUV by agreeing to conduct similar testing to identify the problem. Toyota said that similar testing was conducted on the Lexus GX 460 during development and that the vehicle had met all federal testing requirements. This latest safety concern adds to the growing list of Toyota complaints that began with defective pedals and uncontrollable acceleration of many of their models.

Consumer Reports is advising people not to purchase the Lexus GX 460 until a solution is made available potentially through a software update. Owners of the Lexus SUV were instructed to exercise caution when on highway exit ramps and winding roads, to be alert for road hazards, and to always obey the speed limit.

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March 26, 2010

Chantix and Zyban, Used to Quit Smoking, Linked to Over 100 Suicides

Last summer the FDA issued a warning on the drugs Chantix and Zyban, used by people trying to quit smoking, for their link to suicides. Zyban is also sold as Wellbutrin and is also used to treat depression. A July 2009 New York Times article states that Chantix has been linked to 98 suicides and 188 attempted suicides; Zyban is linked to 14 suicides and 17 attempted suicides.

According to FDA reports as well as information gathered from clinical trials, many people started experiencing mental health side effects a short time after taking the drugs, which ended after they stopped taking the medication. In addition to suicidal thoughts, some people also reported depression and behavioral changes such as irritability. Although some of these changes may be linked to patients experiencing withdrawal symptoms, some patients experienced side effects while they continued to smoke.

The FDA has made it mandatory for the manufacturers of Chantix and Zyban to alert the public about their risks. Pfizer, the maker of Chantix, will add a black box warning to the drug. GlaxoSmithKline already has a black box warning on Wellbutrin, which includes suicidal thoughts as a danger of taking the drug, and plans to add a warning to Zyban. The FDA is also requiring Pfizer and Glaxo to do clinical trials to determine the psychiatric effects on patients taking these drugs.

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February 24, 2010

FDA Urges Avandia Recall, Diabetes Drug Linked to Heart Problems

The popular diabetes drug Avandia has been reported to cause hundreds of heart attacks each month and has also been linked to heart failure. According to a Senate report and as reported by The New York Times, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is urging a recall on Avandia because of the health risk associated with the drug. The reports state that heart failure and heart attacks suffered as a result of Avandia would be prevented if diabetes patients were instead given the drug Actos.

The Senate report says GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Avandia, was aware of Avandia's health risks for years but did not tell the public. In 2007, The Journal of the American Medical Association challenged Avandia's safety. The same year, a scientific study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed a 43% higher risk of a heart attack from using Avandia. The pharmaceutical giant stood by its product, saying it was safe. Not too long after the study, the FDA added a black box warning of Avandia's heart attack risks.

Avandia (Rosiglitazone) has been on the market since 1999 for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. GlaxoSmithKline continues to stand by its product, claiming there is no link between Avandia and heart attacks. However, the drug is estimated to have induced nearly 100,000 heart attacks in the 11 years it has been on the market.

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