Articles Posted in Defective Product

Seat Belt Case May Divide U.S. Supreme Court Over Minimum Standards U.S. Supreme Court justices signaled they may divide, perhaps evenly, in a case involving a Motor Corp. that could open automakers to more consumer lawsuits over vehicle safety.
Hearing arguments today in Washington, several justices hinted they would let accident victims sue even when automakers meet minimum federal standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA.

“A minimum by definition gives manufacturers options,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor said. Others, including Chief Justice John Roberts, suggested they would vote to limit lawsuits and reinforce a 2000 decision that shielded car makers from some claims. “You have a jury with an injured plaintiff,” Roberts said. “They are not likely to weigh heavily the fact that this would cost 3 extra cents per car fleet-wide. I think that is the sort of thing NHTSA considers.” The court might deadlock 4-4 because Elena Kagan, the newest justice, has disqualified herself. As the Obama administration’s solicitor general earlier this year, she urged the court to take the case. A tie vote would leave intact a lower court victory for the automakers without setting a national precedent. Protecting Carmakers The auto industry is asking the court to bolster the 2000 decision, which said federal law shields automakers from state law claims that manufacturers didn’t move quickly enough to install air bags in the years before they became mandatory in new cars. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, food producers and makers of children’s products have weighed in on Mazda’s side. NHTSA, an agency within the Transportation Department, has 59 safety standards that govern automotive components, including windshield wipers, internal trunk releases and seat belts. The standards set performance guidelines that manufacturers must follow. Justice Stephen Breyer hinted he was inclined to defer to the federal agency, which says its standards shouldn’t shield carmakers from suits claiming they didn’t do enough to make vehicles as safe as possible. Agency Expertise “Who is most likely to know what 40,000 pages of agency records actually mean and say? People in the agency,” Breyer said. “If the government continuously says, ‘This is what the agency means’ and the agency is telling them, ‘Yes, this is what it means,’ the chances are they will come to a better, correct conclusion than I will with my law clerks.” Mazda, based in Hiroshima, Japan, was sued by the family of the victim who died in 2002 in Utah as she was riding in a rear aisle seat in the second row of a 1993 MPV minivan. When the minivan was manufactured, seat belts that buckled only over the lap — without a shoulder harness — were permitted by law for some back seat passengers. The current regulations took effect in 2007 and require new cars to have shoulder restraints in all forward-facing seats, including rear aisle seats. The victim’s van struck a Jeep Wrangler that had become detached from a motor home that was towing it. The collision forced the victim’s body to jackknife around her seat belt, causing severe abdominal injuries and internal bleeding, according to the lawsuit filed by her husband.
The lawyer for the family argued that automakers “should be held accountable for the choices they make.” The attorney who argued the case for Mazda, said NHTSA “specifically gave manufacturers the option of installing one type of seat belt or the other.” A California state appeals court barred the suit from going forward, ruling it was preempted by federal law. Mazda’s U.S. headquarters is in Irvine, California.
The Supreme Court last year, ruling on preemption in a different context, said consumers can sue drug makers for failing to provide adequate safety warnings. The 6-3 ruling said drug companies aren’t shielded from suit by the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a treatment and its packaging information.
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A woman seriously injured in a car crash is blaming the maker of an alcoholic energy drink, according to a lawsuit filed Friday. The woman, 20, was ejected from a car on State Road 417 in an August crash. The driver of the car, 20, who is also named a defendant in the suit, drank the energy drink before she struck another car while driving at a high rate of speed.

The suit, which comes days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to the maker of the energy drink and three other drink makers, was filed against the company.The convenience store that sold the drinks, was also named as a defendant. “We filed this suit against the makers of this beverage because we believe this drink is dangerous,” said the lawyer. “My client nearly died.”

According to published reports, a man filed a lawsuit against the drink manufacturer because his son drank the energy drinks before committing suicide. The FDA on Wednesday warned the company and other caffeine-alcohol drink manufacturers that caffeine in the drinks was “an unsafe food additive” and further action against them was possible.

A major energy co. has been hit with a $7.8 million jury verdict in a County Court of Common Pleas civil case involving two subcontractors who were injured when a metal stairway collapsed.

One of the injured men, 58, and his wife, were awarded $5 million, according to a press release sent out by the plaintiffs’ attorneys today. The other man,51, and his wife, were awarded $2.8 million. Attorneys for the company could not immediately be reached for comment, and the company has the right to appeal.

The case stemmed from a 2007 accident at a company-owned building.Attorney representing the plaintiffs, said in an interview that the stairway was bolted to a wall with four bolts, and they did not hold when the two men stepped onto it.The plaintiff suffered a permanently frozen right shoulder that was not improved by rotators cuff surgery. The other plaintiff suffered a severely fractured left hip and leg.

In a lawsuit filed 14 years ago, a Floyd County jury has awarded $23.5 million to a New Albany family for severe illnesses to two children caused by a pesticide that was sprayed in their apartments unit in the mid-1990s. The award came after following years of motions and delays. It is expected to be appealed. The attorney for the apartment did not return a call to his office. The plaintiffs and their children, a daughter, then 2 years old, and son, then 6 months old, moved into the apartment in February 1994. Soon, both children began to suffer seizures and other neurological problems. According to their attorney the children’s problems were caused by exposure to Creal-O, a chemical based on the pesticide Diazinon. The Environmental Protection Agency banned the pesticide from residential use in 2004. The attorney who filed the suit for the plaintiffs said the chemical was applied in the wrong way, even though it was legal for residential use at the time. “There was more applied than should have been applied, and it was applied in a careless manner,” he said. He said a “crack and crevice” application of the pesticide should have been made. Instead, he said, it was applied “on the baseboards, ran down onto the carpeting (and) splashed up on the wall coverings. That’s a misapplication.” The daughter now 20, is developmentally no more than a 2-year-old, her mother said during an interview. “She can feed herself, but that’s about it,” she said. “She can’t dress herself, undress herself, brush her teeth, brush her hair, shower herself–basically everything but feeding has to be done by somebody else.”
The son, now 17 and a student in the 11th grade, has athletic physical ability but is delayed academically and socially, his parents said. “He’s a big follower and really doesn’t know how to distrust anybody or doesn’t know how to judge somebody whether they’re good or bad,” said his father. The plaintiffs divorced during the years it took to bring the case to trial, and they now share the care of their children. “It’s been devastating,” the mother said of the effect on her and her ex-husband. “Our lives will never be the same.” She said their son and daughter “haven’t been the same since the first seizure.” Her daughter slept on a metal daybed when they moved into the apartment, her mother said, and it would start to squeak at night. “That would wake us up, the squeaking,” her mother said. “She would wake up moaning and she would convulse.” At the same time, their son was also showing symptoms, his parents said. Still, they said, it took months before doctors diagnosed the problem and experts traced it to the chemical. They moved out of the apartment in January 1995 before their lease ended. The Superior Court jury that heard the case, and, awarded $500,000 each to the parents and $16 million to their daughter and $6.5 million to their son. Projected future medical costs for the daughter are about $14 million,attorneys said. But they said it would likely be a long time before any money changes hands because of anticipated appeals. The apartments still operates under the same ownership as when the plaintiffs lived there, the couple’s lawyers said. “I just hope that this is a wake-up call for some people and that nobody ever should have to go through this,” the plaintiff said.
Iy you or a relative has been subjected to health hazards at your home caused by another persons’ negligence do not hesitate to contact me at my offices located in Rockville or Baltimore at 1-800-320-0080.

A six person jury found three cigarette companies responsible for the cancer death of a Florida woman. The woman had begun smoking in 1953 at the age of 15 and died in 1995.

The lawyer who was representing her three children stated , “She started smoking in an era when cigarette advertising was pervasive, on TV– in its infancy – in print media and on radio.”

The verdict follows a series of losses by the tobacco industry after a ruling by the State Supreme Court in a tobacco class action case. In the decision the high court decertified a statewide class of addicted smokers and permitted individual suits to go forward.

A jury has found an aluminum bat maker liable for failure to provide adequate warnings as to the dangers of the bat used by a player during a game which resulted in another player’s death. The company was ordered to pay $792,000 to deceased estate for the loss of earnings he would have made, and pain suffered before his death.

The 18-year-old boy was playing in a baseball game when another player hit a ball with an aluminum bat. The ball then hit the victim in his temple. He died four hours later. His parents argued that aluminum bats are more dangerous than wooden bats because they allow players to swing the bat harder and faster. The Plaintiff’s attorney said that the average time needed by a pitcher to defend a batted ball is 400 milliseconds and the victim only had 378 milliseconds to respond. Witnesses to the incident testified that they were unable to see the ball between the time that it was struck by the batter until it hit victim.

Sports injuries and sometimes fatalities are the most horrible tragedies that any parent or family may have to go through as a result of a company/manufacturers’ negligence. The injuries and their causality are very difficult to overcome and with the aid of the right expert knowledgable in these fields a positive outcome may be possible.

The parents of two 18-year-old cousins are suing a hotel owner and employee for wrongful death after their daughters were killed in a fire. The suit alleges that a maintenance man, who worked and lived at the hotel even though his work visa was expired, left his room with incense burning for about 30 minutes. When he returned the room was on fire. The employee tried to extinguish the flames with a small fire extinguisher that didn’t work and then went to look for another extinguisher. By the time he returned the fire was too big to extinguish. The girls were trapped in their room and died in the fire.

The parents allege that the employee and motel management failed to properly respond to the fire, failed to maintain fire extinguishers at the motel, failed to notify authorities of the fire fast enough and failed to warn guests. The suit also is against other defendants, whose identities were unknown to the plaintiff, including the motel’s insurance company, any entity that did maintenance or repair work at the motel and the manufacturer and/or distributor of the fire extinguisher that failed to work.

These types of lawsuits require extensive research and investigation and require the assistance of many experts to determine the causes of the injury and negligence. We regularly employ experts and investigators to fully and appropriately evaluate cases that we take in our office before any action is taken to determine the best and most economically viable avenue to prosecute cases similar to this or yours. If you or a loved one has been injured by negligence of another call for a free consultation.

A national retail store settled a lawsuit for $7 million for an injury resulting from a faulty automatic door. A senior citizen, was walking into the retail store in Illinois when the automatic door malfunctioned knocking her to the floor. When she fell, she hit her head and then was struck again by the door as it continued opening and closing. The victim argued that the retailer had failed to inspect and maintain the doors and didn’t follow the safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer. They also argued that the door did not have any way to turn off the system’s fail-safe system and wasn’t designed to make and noise or alert employees that it was malfunctioning.

Due to the accident, the victim received brain injuries that resulted in cognitive defects and deficits. She was required to move into a nursing home due to her injuries. Prior to the accident, the victim had been caring for her 59-year-old daughter, who has special needs. Since the accident, she was unable to continue caring for her daughter.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of another persons negligence contact my office in Rockville or Baltimore for a free initial consultation and case evaluation.