NHTSA issues Premlinary Policy on Driverless Cars

NHTSA has issued a preliminary policy for standards on driverless vehicles. A driverless vehicle is one in which

operation of the vehicle occurs without direct driver input to control the steering, acceleration, and braking and are designed so that the driver is not expected to constantly monitor the roadway while operating in self-driving mode

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Faulty Child Locks Leads to Recall

Ford has recalled certain 2013 models due to a potential failure of their child safety locks. The cars involved are Focus, C-Max, and Escape models. The recall includes 5,675 cars - adults may think they child safety lock is engaged, but due to its faulty manufacturing, a child may still be able to open the car door from inside the vehicle.

In a document filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the car maker said the child locks on the left rear door of some vehicles were improperly made. The locks may not engage when drivers or other adults try to activate them. As a result the driver may think the child lock is engaged when it is not. Read more

 

Supreme Court to hear Liability Arguments Against Generic Drug Maker

The Supreme Court is getting ready to hear a case against a generic anti-inflammatory drug called Sulindac. Sulidac is distributed by Mutual Pharmaceutical Company. Karen Bartlett sued the company for a defective product after taking the medication fro shoulder pain and instead had her

skin began to slough off until nearly two-thirds of it was gone.

She spent almost two months in a burn unit, and months more in a medically induced coma. The reaction permanently damaged her lungs and esophagus and rendered her legally blind.

 

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NHTSA investigates Toyota, Ford and Honda

NHTSA has not issued any recalls but instead has launched an investigation into various models. First off, 561,000 Toyota Prius are under NHTSA investigation. There have been reports that the steering shaft was not assembled correctly. This investigations appears to be focusing on 2004-2009 model years. In 2012, Toyota had the highest number of recalled cars.

In 2012, Toyota had the most vehicles recalled of any brand in the U.S. market, the third time it achieved that dubious distinction in four years. And it has already had 1 million vehicles recalled since the beginning of 2013.

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Boeing 787 Dreamliner to take Flight

The FAA had grounded the Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet of 50 on January 16th when the plane had caught fire in Boston due to problems with a lithum-ion battery.

That came after a lithium-ion battery aboard an All Nippon Airways flight caught fire in Boston nine days earlier.

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Numerous Recalls - Jan 31

The end of January not only brought the first month of 2013 to a close but also meant numerous recalls being announced by the CPSC.

Triaminic and Theraflu products were recalled due their lack of child resistant packaging.

These child-resistant caps can fail to function properly and enable the cap to be removed by a child with the tamper-evident seal in place, posing a risk of unintentional ingestion and poisoning.

 

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NHTSA says 17,8 Million Products Recalled in 2012

NHTSA announced that in 2012 manufactures filed more than 650 safety recalls which in essence affected more than 17,8 million vehicles, child safety seats, or vehicle equipment.

Most of the recalls were initiated by consumer complaints according to the announcement.

Many recalls are initiated by consumer complaints. In 2012, NHTSA received 41,912 complaints concerning potential safety defects, 49,417 in 2011, and 65,765 in 2010. "The role of the consumer in influencing auto recalls cannot be under-estimated," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "Consumers are the lifeblood of the recall process and recalls are often the direct result of a government investigation into consumer complaints."

 

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CPSC Sues Star Networks

The CPSC filed a complaint against Star Networks USA out of Fairfield, NJ. The CPSC alleged that Magnicube Magnet Balls and Magnet Cubes are defectively designed and the packaging pose a danger to the public.

High-powered magnets are a safety risk to children - toddler through teen. An increasing number of incidents reported to CPSC indicate that children are swallowing these magnets and the injuries are serious.

When two or more magnets are swallowed, they attract to each other internally. Many incidents have resulted in surgeries to remove the magnets. When a magnet has to be removed surgically, it also can require repairing the child's damaged stomach and intestines.

If you suspect magnets have been swallowed:

Seek immediate medical attention
Medical symptoms to watch for are: abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
In X-rays, multiple magnetic pieces may appear as a single object.
 

 

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Parasailing Judgement

Recently we wrote about the recent call for regulations to be imposed on the parasailing industry. Now an insurance company, Marine Specialty Management, has been ordered to finish paying $100,000 in the deaths of two people back in 2009.

president of Marine Specialty Management, Craig Reynolds, had been ordered last December to pay $100,000 as part of an insurance claim for the deaths.

Reynolds' company was ordered in federal court in Wilmington on Thursday to pay the remaining $40,000 to settle the matter.

 

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Parasailing -Hidden Dangers

This summer a woman from Connecticut was killed while vacationing while parasailing in Florida while on vacation with her husband. Reports have stated that officials have indicated the equipment may have malfunctioned. This tragedy has brought on the discussion about the lack of regulations on the parasailing industry. Currently the equipment, such as the rope, harness, chutes, towlines, etc. are not regulated by the state or the federal government. Therefore, there are no minimum standards that are required as we have in motor vehicles and other products.

Right now, the only requirements for parasailing are the U.S. Coast Guard's approval of the vessel and a boating license. The equipment directly associated with the recreational sport--the harness, the parasail chutes, any towlines--are not regulated.

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Ford, Honda, Nissan Recalls

Ford has issued a recall of certain  2013 Escapes with 1.6 liter engines. Ford is warning customers not to drive these vehicles. There is a potential of a fuel line leak which could result in a fire.

Ford Motor Co. is advising owners of an estimated 11,500 new Escapes to park their vehicles until they can be repaired by dealers due to potential fuel line leaks that could cause fires. Unlike most recalls where makers may take up to a month to notify owners and begin repairs, Ford is urging immediate action in this case [Read more]

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Jeep Liberty Recall Expanded

The recall for the Jeep Liberty was just expanded to cover nearly 350,000 vehicles. According to NHTSA

the lower control arms in Liberty’s rear suspension can experience excess corrosion that can cause them to weaken and break. In such a situation that could lead to a loss of control and a possible crash, NHTSA warns. (Read more)

 

Pool Slide Recall

It's warmer, the days are longer and that means more pool time. Recently, the CPSC  recalled 21,000 Banzai in-ground pool water slides following on death and two others reported severe injuries.

The CPSC determined that the slides were defective and could deflate suddenly, allowing the user to crash to the ground. The commission also found that the slide is unstable and can topple over in both still and windy conditions.

 

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CPSC issues reminder

Now that the weather is warmer and we are heading outdoors, the CPSC put out a news release today reminding people to check out the latest recalls as they relate to products they have not used since last season.

Before you use spring-related products this season, check to see if they have been recalled. It could save your family’s lives.

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Safety Recalls - Who initiates them?

The number one killer of Americans under the age of 34 is injuries suffered from car crashes. Some of these crashes are the result of a defect or a safety standard missing in the automobile they are driving or riding in. The Department of  Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the organization which issues safety standards and also requires manufacturers to recall defective products such as cars, car seats, tires, etc. They also can issue a recall for those products that not meet the safety standards as set forth.

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Lacrosse Helmets recalled

One of the fastest growing sports amongst high school students and younger is lacrosse. On March 22, 2012 Easton Sports recalled approximately 12,000 lacrosse helmets. The chin bar on these helmets is faulty and may break causing an increase in the chances of suffering a jaw fracture or worse. There has been at least one reported  incident involving a laceration.

Description: This recall involves all Easton Raptor Lacrosse Helmets. "Easton" is printed on either side of the back of the helmet and on the jaw strap. "RAPTOR" is printed low on the back of the helmet in the center. The helmets were sold in sizes XS/S, M/L, and XL/XXL and were available in the following colors: white; matte black; silver; navy blue and white; royal blue and white; and red and white. (Read more)

 

Tassimo recalls coffee makers

Tassimo has issued a recall of its coffee makers after reports of it spraying hot liquid, coffee grounds and tea leaves onto consumers resulting in burns.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says there have been 140 reports of problems with the Tassimo single-cup brewers dousing people, including 37 cases involving second-degree burns.

 

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Toyota Recall

Toyota is recalling 2011 RAV 4 manufactured between Nov 24, 2011 and December 19, 2011 because the wrong specification was used in the curtain airbag which may cause the airbag to fail to deploy. The safety recall is expected to begin in March 2012. Read the NHTSA release here.

Bicycle Helmets Recalled

The CPSC announced announced Triple Eight Distribution out of NY was recalling approximately 30,400 bicycle helmets because they did not meet CPSC standards for impact resistance. The standards may be found in 16 CFR Part 1203.

 

 

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Toasters Pose Fire Hazard- Prompt Recall

The CPSC announced today that Hamilton Beach is recalling 14,000 classic chrome 2 slice toasters. The toaster when plugged in has been causing the heating elements to become too energized resulting in a fire risk even if the the "lifter" is in the off position.

Hamilton Beach has received 5 reports of toasters being energized when first plugged into an outlet. The Hamilton Beach recall involves model 22602 toasters. (read more)

 

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Kiddieland Recall Disney-Branded Trikes

Kiddieland Toys Limited has issued a recall of approximately 12,000 Disney Fairies Plastic Racing Trikes. The plastic figurines protrude from the handle bars presenting a danger to children if they were to fall on them.

This recall involves the Disney-branded Fairies Plastic Racing Trike. The trike is green and purple with a white seat and yellow wheels. On top of the handlebar, there is a Tinkerbell figure and three other rotating fairy figures. "Disney Fairies" is printed on the label in front of the trike just below the handlebar. More

 

Harley Davidson Recall

Harley Davidson is recalling more than 308,000 motorcycles due to a switch problem that can cause the brake lights to fail and possibly the brakes to fail as well.

The company said in documents filed last week with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that brake light switches can be exposed to too much heat from the exhaust system. The heat can cause the brake lights to fail, and the problem also can cause fluid leaks and the loss of rear brakes, the documents said. More

 

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Oral Contraceptives Recalled

Qualitest Pharmaceuticals issued a recall of several lots of birth control pills There was a packaging error that could leave women unprotected. 

The recall is being implemented because of a packaging error, where select blisters were rotated 180 degrees within the card, reversing the weekly tablet orientation and making the lot number and expiry date no longer visible. As a result of this packaging error, the daily regimen for these oral contraceptives may be incorrect and could leave women without adequate contraception, and at risk for unintended pregnancy. (read more)

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Jetta Recall

Volkswagen has recalled some Jetta sedans from model years 2011 and 2012. Reports indicate that they may have decorative exhaust pipe tips that have caused leg burn to those who have accidentlly brushed up against them. Over 30,000 vehicles have been affected.

In a document filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the car company said it received a number of complaints in July about burns from the pipes, began an investigation and decided by August that a recall is necessary. (read more)

 

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Pourable Gel Fuel Recalled

The CPSC announced today that nine different manufactures and distributors are recalling more than 2 million units of pourable gel fuel due to serious burn injury risks. The recall involves:

Bird Brain Inc., Bond Manufacturing, Sunjel Company, Fuel Barons, Inc., Lamplight Farms, inc., Luminosities, Inc., Pacific Decor Ltd., Real Flame, and Smart Solar Inc.

The pourable gel fuel can ignite unexpectedly and splatter onto people and objects nearby when it is poured into a firepot that is still burning. CPSC is aware of 65 incidents resulting in two deaths and 34 victims who were hospitalized with second and third degree burns of the face, chest, hands, arms or legs.

 

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Death Prompts Bunk Bed Recall

Following the death of a three year old boy, Big Lots has issued a recall of approximately 30,000 metal futon bunk beds. The boy apparently suffocated to death after becoming entrapped.

The CPSC also warned that the space between the last rung on the bunk bed's ladder and the futon mattress is too small and that a child's head might get trapped in the space. Article

 

 

 

GE recall

General Electric (GE) has issued a recall notice of  approximately 90,600 Zoneline air conditioning and heater units. According to the CPSC announcement, an electrical component may fail introducing a fire hazard.

Description: This recall involves GE Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners (PTAC) and packaged terminal heat pumps manufactured between January 2010 and March 2011, and are most often used in apartment buildings and commercial space. The GE logo is affixed to the control panel door. Serial and model are printed on the rating plate. Consumers will need to remove the front panel to locate the model and serial information. To see a list of recalled models, click here.

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Bunk Beds Recalled

The CPSC issued a recall notice of bunk beds made by Dorel Asia and sold at stores such as Wal-mart, Target, and Kmart online between September 2004 and September 2009.

The wooden side rails that run from the headboard to the footboard and hold the bunk bed’s mattress in place can split and cause the bunk bed to collapse, posing a fall hazard.

 

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Fuel Tank Problem with F-150

NHTSA is investigating if there is a problem with the fuel tanks on over 2.7 million Ford F-150 pick up trucks.

he National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday that the steel straps holding up the truck's gas tank can rust and break, possibly causing a fuel spill and fire. (story)

At this time NHTSA has not stated whether it will request that Ford issue a recall.

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Riding Lawmower Recall

About 750 Exmark Pioneer S-Series riding mowers have been recalled according to an announcement by the CPSC. Welding issues can cause the driver to lose control of the machine leading to serious injury.

 

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ATVs recalled

American Suzuki Motor Corp has issued a recall of approximately 29,000 ATVs due to a fire hazard. According to the article, some of the plastic fuel tanks were improperly constructed and can therefore lead to fuel leaks.

The recall involves all 2008-2010 LT-A450X model Suzuki KingQuad ATVs. It also includes all 2009-2010 LT-A500X, 2008-2010 LT-A750X, and 2011 LT-A500X and LT-A750X models made before Dec. 11, 2010.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Business_News/2011/03/12/Suzuki-ATVs-recalled/UPI-39171299968023/#ixzz1GbjkXyC8
(Read More)

 

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Police warn of defect in gun

This past week a little boy in Raleigh was accidentally shot by a pellet gun. The child's grandfather was checking to ensure the safety was on, and by accident hit the trigger. The pellet apparently went the the child's eye and lodged in his brain. He died from his injuries. Following his death the Raleigh Police are warning about a defect in the gun.

The boy's grandfather, Daniel Henry, was shooting at squirrels outside and placed his pellet gun at the foot of the stairs when he came back inside, the family said. As Ty-Rion was coming downstairs, Henry checked to make sure the gun's safety latch was on, and he accidentally hit the trigger, shooting the boy.
Lt. Andy Murr of the Raleigh Police Department said the safety on the pellet gun is immediately in front of the trigger. Several manufacturers have a similar design, Murr said, and police want to make the public aware of the issue. Other guns have safety latches in different places, he said. (Read the story here)

 

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$14 million award in tire case

A jury awarded  a multi-million dollar verdict to 3 sons of a San Diego couple who were killed in an accident in 2006 in Arizona. The three boys were the plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit against Mossy Ford and others.

Casey and Melanie Barber’s three young sons were plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed against Mossy Ford and other defendants. Barber was driving his Ford E350 Sportsmobile van on Highway 98 near Page, Ariz., on July 31, 2006, when a tire-tread separation caused him to lose control of the vehicle, according to the plaintiffs’ lawyers.

They contended in trial that Mossy Ford performed a faulty tire repair — instead of taking the tire out of service — that led to the rollover accident. (article)

 

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Toyota to Face Class Action

District Judge James Selna of Santa Ana, CA made the tentative ruling from Nov 19, final allowing class action suits against Toyota to continue. Toyota and its attorneys tried to have the cases dismissed stating the plaintiffs failed to precisely plead specific losses or identify an actual defect. Judge Selna stated,

“It is true that plaintiffs do not generally allege the precise dollar value of their losses, but that level of specificity is not required at the pleadings state,” Selna said in yesterday’s ruling. “The court is convinced that a safety consideration as fundamental as whether a car is able to stop when the brakes are applied is material to consumers.”
Selna rejected Toyota’s request to dismiss a claim that the company knew of a defect in the vehicles’ electronic throttle- control system and concealed it from consumers.

‘Sufficiently Alleged’

“Plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged that Toyota had exclusive knowledge of material facts not known to plaintiffs and actively concealed those facts,” Selna wrote. (More)

 

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Nissan - Another recall

Japan's third largest automaker, Nissan, has issued a recall of approximately 605,000 vehicles because of flaws in the steering-column shaft and batteries.

The recalls include about 303,000 Frontier pickup trucks, 283,000 Xterra sport-utility vehicles and 18,500 Sentra cars, primarily in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil

About 85 percent of the vehicles were sold in the U.S., the carmaker said. Read more

 

 

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CPSC Database?

According to Safety Research & Strategies, Inc., the CPSC is getting ready to vote on a Final Rule to establish a consumer complaint database.SRS President Sean Kane, recently testified in front of the CPSC and urged them to produce a database that provided enough information on the product, date and incident.

Like the NHTSA consumer complaint database, the consumer product database will add to the tools available for surveillance and for educating consumers who often have little viable information on the potential hazards associated with products they purchase,” Kane said in comments to the commission. (Read more- SRS Blog)

 

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Hyundai recall

Hyundai is recalling over 139,000 Sonata sedans

because of a manufacturing defect that could cause drivers to lose steering control.

The recall affects 2011 models built between Dec. 11, 2009 and Sept. 10, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted on its website Sunday.(article)

An investigation had been opened in August. In February, Hyundai had recalled about 47,000 Sonatas because of faulty front door latches.

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ECU Bleacher Collapse

The CPSC said it is investigating possible structural defects that may have caused the bleachers to collapse during East Carolina's first home game this month. According to reports severl people were injured when three to four rows gave way.

Three to four rows of seating gave way, injuring several spectators. Officials removed about 30 other bleachers that showed signs of failing. (Story)


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Hip Recall by J & J

Johnson and Johnson has issued a recall of 93,000 hip implant systems. It has been found people with these hip systems required additional surgery as they suffered additional pain.

DePuy, which has sold about 93,000 units of its ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System, said recent data received by the company showed an increase in the number of people who have had a second hip replacement surgery, also called a "revision surgery."

 

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Kawasaki Recall

About 1,161 model year 2010, ZR100DAF/L Kawasakis are being recalled by Kawasaki Motors. The left front brake hose may come in contact with the front brake rotor during certain riding conditions causing and increased potential for injury and/or death. NHTSA Notice

If you or someone you know has been injured due to a product defect or any other reason, please contact the Law Office of D. Hardison Wood  at 1-877-829-7211 to discuss your potential legal claim.

And even more Toyota news...

Toyota said on Friday that it was planning to recall approximately 138,000 Lexus vehicles due to faulty engine issues.

The company said flaws in valve springs, a crucial engine component, could make the vehicle stall while in motion. Toyota said in a statement that it plans to file paperwork with the U.S. government on the recall next week. Washington Post

 

Johnson & Jonson Recall More Medicine

A few weeks ago J & J had to recall thousands of children's medication. Now they are recalling some Benedryl lots and Tylenol Gel lots.

McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the Johnson & Johnson unit, said that it was recalling four lots of certain Benadryl allergy tablets and one lot of Extra Strength Tylenol gel pills. McNeil did not respond to a reporter’s query about how many bottles those lots amounted to.

The company said in a statement that “the products were inadvertently omitted” from an earlier recall — one preceding the children’s drug recall — involving medicines made at a company plant in Puerto Rico.

Read the article
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ATV Riding Season

The CPSC recently published a release for the Memorial Day weekend warning ATV riders to take precaution this riding season. According to the CPSC ATV-related deaths jump on average 30 % from March to April for children under the age of 16. From the period of 2003-2005, ATV related deaths rose each month during the spring and into the summer, peaking in July, when 23 children and 76 adults were killed in ATV related incidents on average.

Earlier this year the CPSC published the 2008 Annual Report of ATV-Related deaths & Injuries. The reports findings showed that in 2008, 28% of the 135,100 estimated ATV related emergency department-treated injuries, involved children 16 years of age or younger. That’s over 37,000 children. Statistical data calculated by state showed North Carolina ranking 9th (tied with Michigan) in most number of ATV-related deaths reported from 1982-2005. If you or someone you know has had an ATV-related personal injury contact our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers to discuss your legal rights.
 

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New Toyota Recalls

Toyota has announced a recall of approximately 4,500 Lexus vehicles in Japan and said it would extend that recall into the US and other countries soon.

The recall affects Toyota's luxury Lexus "LS" line and involves a computerized system that oversees how the steering wheel controls the tires. Read more

It appears the vehicles involved may have been manufactured from late August through May.The estimate for affected US cars is said to be about 4,000. Toyota has already recalled over 8 million vehicles worldwide.

Trampoline Dangers

Now that spring has sprung and we find ourselves outdoors more, one very popular activity is "jumping on a trampoline". While it is fun, it can be very dangerous.

In 2009, an estimated 98,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for trampoline-related injuries. Eight-two percent of the injured were children under age 15.

"I call them quad machines," trampoline safety expert Marc Rabinoff said of trampolines. "It can turn you into a quadriplegic in four seconds."

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Nissan Issues New Recall

Nissan has issued a recall involving Infiniti G35 sedans and coupes. The recall involves approximately 134,000 vehicles due to a faulty connection that may keep airbags from deploying during a crash. NHTSA is reporting that a wire harness could be worn down to the point whereby a signal interruption may occur keeping an airbag from deploying.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said as many as 134,215 Infiniti G35 sedans from model years 2005-2006 and G35 coupes from model years 2005-2007 are subject to the recall. Read full story

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Toyota Legal Evasion?

An interesting news report by the assoicated press investigates how Toyota seems to engage in evasion and other deceptive tactics in legal proceedings.

Toyota has routinely engaged in questionable, evasive and deceptive legal tactics when sued, frequently claiming it does not have information it is required to turn over and sometimes even ignoring court orders to produce key documents, an Associated Press investigation shows.

For example, in a Colorado product liability lawsuit filed by a man whose young daughter was killed in a 4Runner rollover crash, Toyota withheld documents about internal roof strength tests despite a federal judge's order that such information be produced, according to court records. The attorneys for Jon Kurylowicz now say such documents might have changed the outcome of the case, which ended in a 2005 jury verdict for Toyota. Read More

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Flammable Fabrics - Still a Danger?

Throughout a typical day, the fears and worries a parent must encounter can become innumerable. Once the kids have been settled into bed for the night, parents should be able to have some sense of relief that their children are sleeping safely and soundly in their beds. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Sometimes the very fabrics our children are sleeping in have the potential to endanger their lives.

In the 1970s, and prior, the number of children dying from their pajamas catching on fire was a major problem. Legislation was then passed to make fire standards mandatory for children’s sleepwear. These standards are supposed to keep flammable sleepwear for children off the market. However, there are still cases that slip through from time to time, such as the recent recall of about 7,000 pajamas from Little Miss Matched Girls Pajama Sets in December of last year.

 

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SUV Rollovers...Still a Serious Risk

Though it has faded from the spotlight in breaking news stories, the risk of SUV rollover remains a serious threat. Drivers and passengers of these vehicles, as well as those of vans and mini-vans, are all potential victims of rollover accidents. These accidents have been and continue to be responsible for loss and damages to property, as well as thousands of deaths and injuries each year. All this, despite efforts to push car manufacturers to make these vehicles safer.

In 2002, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that “rollover crashes constitute about one-fifth of all fatal crashes”, and that “the number of fatal SUV rollovers has more than doubled since 1991”. Many times blame tends to shift from the lack of safety in the vehicle to the carelessness of the driver or passenger for neglecting to wear a seat belt. However, data also shows that “22,000 people who were wearing a safety belt died in rollover crashes in the U.S. between 1992 and 2002”. Clearly, this is not a problem that can be resolved simply by telling people to wear their seat belts.
 

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Toyota Tacomas - Part of Recall

And yet another Toyota recall....Toyota announced that approximately 8,000 Tacoma pick up trucks (MY 2010)are being recalled. This recall is a result of a problem with the front propellar shaft, once again, a problem that can cause the vehicle to lose control.

The automaker told dealers Friday that a crack could develop that could lead to the front driveshaft separating and falling from the truck, causing the vehicle to lose control. (Read the story)

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More Toyota Recalls

Toyota is facing a mounting pile of problems to mend in 2010. Due to the rising number of recalls, and the dangerous nature of these defective products, Toyota customers are wise to stay informed and up-to-date as to the status of their vehicle.

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Elliptical Trainers Recalled

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued another recall for elliptical trainers. These exercise machines have become a common item in many American homes. Please check to be sure this recall does not affect you.

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Honda Fit Recall Due to Fire Hazard

On January 29, 2010, Honda announced a worldwide recall for 646,000 of their Honda Fit (Jazz if sold outside the U.S.) models. Of these, 141,000 were purchased in the U.S. The models included in this recall are the first generation Honda Fit, sold in 2007-2008.

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Toyota Recalls More Vehicles

Another 1.09 million Toyota vehilces have been added to the massive recall. The Toyota recall is also now reaching beyond the US. Toyota announced recalls in China and Europe.

Additionally, lawmakers have now said that they want to review consumer complaints of unintended acceleration as reported in the Toyota vehicles. They plan on having his hearing on Feb. 25th.

House lawmakers, meanwhile, said they intend to hold a Feb. 25 hearing to review the complaints of sudden unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles. "Like many consumers, I am concerned by the seriousness and scope of Toyota's recent recall announcements," said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif. (msnbc)

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Toyota Suspends Sale of Certain Models

Toyota announced today that it was suspending the sale and production of certain Toyota models in the US resulting from the stemming issues Toyota is having with the unintended accleration in their vehicles. 

As part of the plan, Toyota said it was halting production at five manufacturing facilities for the week of Feb. 1 "to assess and coordinate activities." There are 2.3 million vehicles involved in the recall, which was announced last week.

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Breaking News: Toyota's Latest Recall

 

Yesterday, Toyota announced a voluntary recall  of an additional 2.3 million vehicles due to “isolated reports of sticking accelerator pedal mechanisms…”.

This announcement follows on the heels of Toyota’s recall of 3.8 million Lexus and Toyota vehicles for floor mat design that interferes with accelerator pedals and can result in stuck throttles.

 

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Window Shade Recall

The CPSC issued ten recalls today involving window shades/roman shades/roll up shades. These recalls were prompted by the risk of strangulation to children. A repair kit is supposed to be available to those who have these products in their homes and you should request one immediately. The CPSC is recommending that you inspect your home and ensure that you do not have accesible cords from these shades in the front, on the side or back. DO NOT place a crib,child's bed or other furniture near these blinds. Make all loose cords completely inaccesible. Install devices to keep the cord taut. There have been 5 deaths and 16 near stranglations of children from these Roman shades since 2006 and 3 deaths from from roll-up blinds since 2001.

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Maclaren Strollers Recalled

Approximately one million Maclaren strollers have been recalled after 12 reports of children's finger tips being amputated on a hinge found on the strollers. The recall involves both the single and double umbrella strollers sold between 1999 and 2009.

The models involved are Volo, Triumph, Quest Sport, Quest Mod, Techno XT, TechnoXLR, Twin Triumph, Twin Techno, and Easy Traveller.

Should you have been injured by a product such as this, please contact our firm immediately to discuss your potential claim at 1-877-829-7211.

 

 

CPSC Recalls Wooden Playsets, Travel Mugs, Microwaves

The CPSC issued several recalls on November 5th.

Adventure Playsets recalled about 275,000 (n the US) wooden playsets. The plastic coated lumbar on the horizontal ladder (aka. the monkey bar/swing beam) can weaken over time due to the rotting whitewood thus resulting in a serious fall hazard.

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Nissan Sentra Recall

Nissan announced that it is recalling approximately 10,586 Nissan Sentras from the 2009 model year which are equipped with Bosch master cylinders. Brake fluid may leak causing the brakes to function improperly.

NISSAN IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2009 PASSENGER VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH BOSCH MASTER CYLINDERS. BRAKE FLUID MAY LEAK FROM THE MASTER CYLINDER. IF THE AMOUNT OF BRAKE FLUID IN THE MASTER CYLINDER RESERVOIR DECREASES TO BELOW THE MINIMUM LEVEL, THE BRAKE SYSTEM WARNING INDICATOR WILL ILLUMINATE AS DESIGNED AND THE BRAKES WILL NOT FUNCTION PROPERLY.

According to the listing on NHTSA's site, the brake circuit may fail and therefore increase the likelihood of a crash. If your vehicle is defective and you would like to discuss your situation with us, contact us immediately at 919-233-0520.

 

New Toyota Investigation

The Office of Defects Investigation has launched and opened a new investigation on October 6, 2009 invovling the Toyota Tundra, model years 2000-2001 as posted on their website. ODI has received 20 reports regarding spare tire seperation and brake failures. The summary follows:

THE OFFICE OF DEFECTS INVESTIGATION HAS RECEIVED 20 REPORTS ON THE SUBJECT VEHICLES THAT RELATE TO SPARE TIRE SEPARATION AND BRAKE SYSTEM FAILURES AS A RESULT OF SEVERE FRAME CORROSION. THERE HAVE BEEN 15 REPORTS ALLEGING THE UNDER BODY MOUNTED SPARE TIRE SEPARATED FROM THE REAR CROSSMEMBER AND FIVE REPORTS ALLEGING BROKEN BRAKE LINES AT THE PROPORTIONING VALVE LOCATED ON THE DRIVER'S SIDE OF THE REAR CROSSMEMBER AT THE UPPER SHOCK MOUNT.

 

Chrysler Product Defect Cases

When Chrysler filed for bankruptcy, individuals who has products claims against the manufacturer were barred from bringing their claim if it involved a product that was manufactured prior to the bankruptcy filing. This barred many people from recovering for their injuries. Now Chrysler has agreed to allow claims for products manufactured prior to the bankruptcy filing. However, they are only accepting claims that occurred Chrysler emerged form bankruptcy.

The automaker said it will now consider product-related lawsuits from consumers involved in accidents that occurred after Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy protection in June that involve vehicles manufactured by the old company.

Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy, said Chrysler had "responded to pressure from injured victims and consumer groups and we commend them for taking this important step to protect public safety."

Doroshow said that "while this decision is a victory for consumers, there are still hundreds of people who were injured before the bankruptcies by defective Chrysler and GM vehicles that still have no recourse because the companies continue to take no responsibility for pre-bankruptcy deaths and injuries."

To read the entire article click here. If you have been injured by a product defect contact us.

New Auto Recalls

There have been some new recalls and defect investigations by NHTSA involving auto manufacturers. With these recalls, the auto manufacturers are required to make the repairs at their own cost. Some of the latest recalls involve Subaru. Approximately 15,000 model year 2005 - 2006 Baja vehicles have been recalled due to fuel pump issues which could cause a fuel leak.

Honda has recalled recalled about 440,000 vehicles including certain Accords, Civics, and Acura TLs because the air inflator on the driver's side could producr too much pressure possibly ending metal shards through the air bag.

In Japan, Honda recalled 1,532 Saber and Inspire vehicles due to a fatal incident in the United States. There have been reports of seven incidents where metal fragments flew through air bags in certain Hinda vehicles. The seven incidents included Accords and Civics. Honda recalled the inspire and Sabre models in Japan because they use the same type of air bag that is used on the Civic and Accord.

And, NHTSA is taking a second look at a previous recall of 2005 Chryselr and Dodge minivans to determine if the recall worked. They had previously been recalled due to corrosion on the air bag sensors casuing the sensors to stop working.

Honda Air Bag Recall

Honda has recalled 2001 civic and honda accord models due to air bag hazards. The following announcement is from the NHTSA website:

Summary:
HONDA IS RECALLING MY 2001 CIVIC AND ACCORD VEHICLES. THE DRIVER'S AIRBAG INFLATOR COULD PRODUCE EXCESSIVE INTERNAL PRESSURE. IF AN AFFECTED AIRBAG DEPLOYS, THE INCREASED INTERNAL PRESSURE MAY CAUSE THE INFLATOR TO RUPTURE.


Consequence:
METAL FRAGMENTS COULD PASS THROUGH THE AIR BAG CUSHION MATERIAL POSSIBLY CAUSING INJURY TO VEHICLE OCCUPANTS.


Remedy:
DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE AIRBAG INFLATOR FREE OF CHARGE. THE MANUFACTURER HAS NOT YET PROVIDED AN OWNER NOTIFICATION SCHEDULE. OWNERS MAY CONTACT HONDA AT 1-800-999-1009.

 

Bike Helmet Safety

Bike Noob, a blog written by a "biking newbie", has an interesting article on helmet safety and effectiveness over here entitled "Helmets - not as safe as they're cracked up to be?"

The article discusses a study by Dr. Keatinge, who is a member of the editorial board of the Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation.  Apparently in Dr. Keatinge's review of the available literature on the efficacy of bike helmets, there is "[n]o clear evidence from countries that have enforced the wearing of helmets" showing they do any real good to the wearer in an accident.

In our course of representing numerous bicycle riders who have been injured in a motor vehicle accident while riding their bike, we have found that a good number of these riders have come across the same studies and usually have a done a good deal of research into the question of whether or not wearing a helmet is even worth the trouble.  Some of them, unfortunately, have chosen not to wear a helmet, and because the literature is inconclusive, one can hardly blame them.  We've even reviewed studies suggesting that the wearing of a bike helmet makes the rider statistically more likely to be involved in an accident with a motor vehicle.

Bike Noob ends the article with sage advice:

I’ve fallen three times in the last nine months. No serious injuries, but all three crashes were my fault. That’s a pretty good indicator that I’m likely to fall again. A helmet won’t save me from my own stupidity, carelessness, or inattention while riding, but it will improve the odds that my noggin won’t be damaged if I do go down.

We agree.  Though we don't have a statiscally significant sample of bike wrecks to draw from, in our experience, riders who have worn helmets walk away from crashes that riders who do not wear helmets never get up from.  On the flip, we'll look at the standard a little more closely.

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Statute of Repose Reform

The prospect of real Statute of Repose reform in North Carolina is now tangible.  Today the House Commerce Committee voted unanimously to extend North Carolina's Statute of Repose from 6 years to 12 years.  This means if you are injured by a car manufactured in Japan as a result of a defect in the automobile, and the car is less than 12 years old, you will be able to bring your claim in North Carolina's courts.  Previously, your car could only be six years old.  With average vehicles lasting longer, many North Carolinians who were injured as a result of a defective product were unfairly barred from bringing their case with the most stringent statute of repose in the country.  A harrowing tale of this unfair result can be found here.  Please note this story is from 2007 and relates to a prior bill, not today's bill.

The measure changes no other aspects of North Carolina's products liability law and will become effective on October 1, 2009. 

 

Air Bag Recalls

Several air bags have been recalled involving different car manufacturers. Many of these recalls have to with sensor problems causing the air bag either to fail in its deployment, or to go off causing serious injury to the passenger.

• GM: 12,662 2009 Cadillac CTS sedans over a software problem that may disable the front-passenger air bag when it should be enabled or vice versa.

• Nissan: more than 200,000 2007-08 Altima, 350Z, Murano and Rogue and Infiniti EX35, G35 and G37 vehicles to fix a sensor for the passenger-side air bag. Nissan is also recalling 16,365 2006 Murano and 2008 Infiniti EX35 SUVs to fix incorrectly programmed software that may lead passenger-side air bags to fail.

• BMW: 200,000 2006 3 Series and 2004-06 5 Series cars and 2004-06 X3 SUVs over concerns that the front-passenger air bag may not deploy in a crash. Small cracks could develop in a seat detection mat and deactivate the bags but activate the warning light.

• Hyundai: is recalling 393,714 2006-08 Sonata sedans to fix a problem with the air-bag system in the front passenger seat. The affected cars have an advanced system that disables the passenger front bag when it detects a child-restraint system or small child in the seat.

• Ford: is recalling 470,000 2005-08 Mustangs to update passenger-side front-air-bag software. Ford says internal testing showed the air bag could injure a small, unbelted passenger.

Read the article on chicagotribune.com

If you or someone you know has been injured due to an airbag or an airbag failure please contact our office at 919-677-0144.

MADD CEO tapped to head NHTSA

President Obama has asked Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) CEO, Charles Hurley to be the next administrator of NHTSA. The White House said that in addition to is work on drunk driving issues, Hurley has also an extensive background working on air bag, seat belt teen driving and child passenger safety  issues. All of which are very near and dear to our law firm. We focus on all areas of products liability, including child safety, air bag non deployment, car fires, roof crush, roll overs, and more.

The American Association for Justice (AAJ) has already is looking to the new administrator and NHTSA to address roof crush issues sooner rather than later.

The current roof standard has been in place since 1973, before SUVs were a common mode of consumer transportation. The roof crush standard addresses the safety of vehicles’ roofs to withstand pressure when involved in rollover accidents.

NHTSA was required to deliver a roof crush standard to Congress by July 1, 2008, but was ordered by Congress to strengthen their proposed rule because it did not significantly reduce loss of life and prevent injury.  NHTSA asked for an extension until December 15, 2008, and then revised the date for issuing the final rule to April 30, 2009.

 

Peanut Corp and its tainted product

It was revealed yesterday that emails indicated the owner of Peanut Corp,, the company at the center of the salmonella outbreak involving peanuts, urged the sale of tainted paenut product because he was worried about losing money.

The owner of a peanut company urged his workers to ship tainted products after receiving test results identifying salmonella, imploring employees to "turn the raw peanuts on our floor into money," according to internal company e-mails disclosed Wednesday by a House committee.

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Peanut Recalls and Salmonella

The fall out from the peanut and peanut product recalls seems to keep growing each day. Apparently there has been a link found between the Georgia company involved with the nationwide salmonella outbreak and schools in three states.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Agriculture Department shipped possibly contaminated peanut butter and other foods to schools in at least three states under a contract with the Georgia company blamed for a nationwide salmonella outbreak.

The government abruptly suspended all business with the company Thursday, as officials defended their efforts to halt the outbreak that has sickened at least 575 people in 43 states. At least eight have died. It's become one of the largest food recalls ever, including more than 1,300 products.

The potentially contaminated products went to school free lunch programs in California, Minnesota and Idaho in 2007, the Department of Agriculture said Friday. Peanut butter and roasted peanuts processed by the Peanut Corp. of America were sent to the schools.

 

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Used Car Database

A new database will be launched Friday allowing consumers a place to search out whether a used car they are thinking of purchasing has been in a wreck and rebuil, had fire and been repaired, been stolen or other information.

 A federal database that will allow car buyers to learn whether a vehicle has been stolen or rebuilt after a wreck will be launched on Friday – more than 16 years after Congress passed a law requiring its creation, and a year after three safety groups sued the federal government to force it to act.

This database goes online January 30 in large part to a lawsuit brought by Public Citizen and two other consumer groups. However, it appears there are still more than a dozen states that are refusing to comply which leaves the database incomplete.

Last year, Public Citizen, joined by Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS) and Consumer Action, sued the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in federal court in San Francisco, asking the court to order the government to implement the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. In September, the court told the DOJ it had until Jan. 30 to make the information available on the Internet and to issue a rule requiring states, insurance companies and junk yards to report safety information.

 

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Diet Pill Warning

So its the holidays- a time when some of us may put on a few extra pounds - or others may start thinking about a new year's resolution which includes shedding some extra weight. Before you chose a diet pill, make sure you do some research. The FDA has issued a warning for 28 diet drugs.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Food and Drug Administration is warning
against 28 weight-loss products you might be tempted to try after
the holidays. The FDA says they contain unlisted ingredients, including
powerful appetite-suppressing drugs and a suspected carcinogen. A
spokeswoman says in some cases, they have prescription drugs in
amounts that greatly exceed their maximum recommended dosages.
The FDA says none of the supplements lists the dangerous
ingredients on the label. The pills are advertised as "natural" fat busters, and have
names like Imelda Perfect Slim. Some suggest they are innovative
"herbal" remedies from Asia. The FDA is considering criminal charges against some of the companies because they have not responded to requests for recalls.

If you have been injured by a faulty product and would like to discuss your matter, please contact our firm.

ATV Lawsuits Filed

Two suits have been filed recently bringing into the question design flaws in the Yamaham Rhino ATV.

On June 10, 2005, the Mitchells' daughter was riding as a passenger in Rhino ATV when during normal operation the vehicle tipped over onto the passenger side. She suffered severe injuries to her knee, arm, foot and ankle, requiring surgery and the amputation of four toes on her right foot.

Jeffrey Lambert, a 47-year old physician's assistant and former captain in U.S. Air Force, filed a personal injury lawsuit against Yamaha for the catastrophic injuries he suffered. On August 17, 2007, the Rhino Lambert was driving tipped over at a low rate of speed. Read the Article here

Stability seems to be a common question and common design flaw in ATVs that we have been hearing and seeing lately in our own practice. Manufacturers must be held accountable when they do not make changes to their dangeorusly designed products especially  when they have inexpensive alternative designs and modfications available.

Mattress Recall

When you think of a product liability case you may think of automobiles, air bags, and other big items failing.  Or you may think of child safety issues such as recalls involving cribs and toys. Not often do you think of furniture and mattresses. However, these products do fail. And when these dangerous items  make it into the marketplace  they pose risks to the public. In the past we have heard of furniture catching on fire when it should not have, and today the CPSC announced a recall of 6,100 Serta mattresses because they fail to meet mandatory federal safety standards for mattresses.

Name of Product: Serta Zipper-Covered Foam Core Mattresses

Units: About 6,100

Manufacturer: Serta International Mattress Co., of Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Hazard: The mattresses fail to meet the mandatory federal open flame standard for mattresses, posing a fire hazard to consumers.


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Dodge Challenger Recalled

All vehicles have federal safety standards they must meet. It turns out that Chrysler has to recall 6,636 2008-2009 Doge Challengers which have automatic transmissions and the "keyless go" option. Why? According to edmunds.com inside line it may

fail to meet a federal safety standard for theft prevention which could result in accidental rollaway.

It appears that when the stop/start button can be pressed and in postions other than Park. That would to me,  definitely seem to pose a problem.

According to the National HighwayTraffic Saftey Administration, this safety standard exists to reduce crashes due to theft or rollaway vehicles.

Potential Car Fire Leads to Recall

It seems lately we have been hearing more and more form victims of car fires. GM has announced that they are recalling 42,408 Saturn Vues. The recall is due to

a potential leak of power steering fluid that could cause a fire

Apparently this recall affects model year vehicles from 2008-2009 with 6 cylinders.

The recall covers a group of Saturn Vues from the 2008 and 2009 model years that are equipped with six-cylinder engines. GM said dealers would inspect and tighten the nut and check the fluid level as needed.

The report says there have been no reported injuries from this product defect, which brings up another very important point. Should you ever have a product defect you should always report it. Even if there are no injuries, it is important the defects are reported so that investigations can take place, and if a product proves to be unsafe, the public is made aware. If you need to report a defect, the link to the Office of Defects Investigation is:http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/index.cfm

GM Settles Class Action Lawsuit

General Motors (GM) announced last week that they were settling a class action lawsuit involving approximately 90,000 Saturn vehicles resulting from the VTi transmissions which seem to fail prematurely.

Owners of the aforementioned vehicles will be given a percentage of their expenses, based on vehicle mileage when the transmission failed and whether the car was purchased new or used. Read the Story

GM had touted that this transmission was more efficient that others. What we have been seeing lately in our practice is with the "more efficient" cars - there appears to be a bending of the federal standards for vehicles in this attempt to become more efficient. And that seems to be leading to many products liability issues due to injuries from these vehicles. 

 

More Potential Car Fires Leads to Recall

Car fires are much more common that some may think. And frankly, quite often, there is truly a defect in the automobile that caused them. This time the recall involves more GM cars. According to the report GM is recalling 857,735 vehicles, including

2007-2008 model year Chevrolet Silverado, Tahoe, Avalanche and Suburban, Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV and Escalade EXT, GMC Acadia, Sierra, Yukon, Yukon XL and Saturn Outlook; 2006-2008 Hummer H2, Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne; and the 2008 Buick Enclave

According to the report, federal safety regulators said there was a potential for a short circuit in the wiper system which could lead to electrical malfunctions, smoke or raise the potential for a car fire.


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Umbrella Kills Man

A North Carolina man was killed last week after a pool side umbrella fell on top of him while he lounged near his apartment's pool. The umbrella or one of its parts appears to have pierced through his brain.

According to police the umbrella stand pierced Ward's head like an ice pick. "Doctors say the umbrella traveled through the brain stem and caused his brain to swell," said Detective John Keel with the Leland Police.

It has been reported that the apartment complex has removed the umbrellas and has replaced them with a safer design. Which of course begs the question, why are the "unsafer" types of umbrellas out there considering the likelihood they will topple over quite high?

Read the entire story here.

 

Bicycle Recall

With gas prices as high as they are, many people have begun riding bicycles. However, today the US Product Safety Commission announced a recall of 9,500 electra bicycles.

Hazard: The interior alignment tabs of the bicycle’s chainguard can be pushed against the chain causing it to derail, which poses a risk of injury to riders.

Incidents/Injuries: Electra has received four reports of the chainguard derailing the chain, including one report of minor cuts and abrasion from a fall.

The entire recall notice can be read here.

If you have been a victim of a products defect, and believe we may be able to assist you, please do not hesitate to contact our firm.

Pool Drain Issues

Awhile ago we had blogged about pool drains and the serious safety issues involving the drains and children. There are new safety standards regarding these drains. According to an article today, the president, David Lionetti, of Shoreline Pools in Connecticut has been charged with manslaughter after a 6 year-old boy drowned following being sucked into the drain. The police state that he:
"recklessly caused the death" of Zachary Cohn by failing to have his company install mandated safety devices in the pool the company built for the boy's family. Police alleged the safety devices would have prevented the boy's death.
In addition, the child's family has filed their own civil suit, alleges that
the pool violated safety code requirements designed in response to the rash of similar cases around the country.
The article can be read here. Pool drains can be a serious hazard. If you have been adversely affected and would like to speak about your matter, please do not hesitate to contact our firm.

E. Coli in Beef - Affected Areas Expanded

According to a report e. coli found in recalled beef in Michigan and Ohio has now been expanded to three other states to include New York, Kentucky and Indiana.
The outbreak has been traced to beef sold in Kroger supermarkets in Michigan and Ohio. The Kroger Co. last month recalled ground beef sold in Michigan and Ohio stores, then this month expanded it to include other states. Nebraska Beef Ltd. supplied the meat, ultimately recalling 5.3 million pounds of beef.
According to the report, this e. coli can cause deadly infections. So far, the CDC says that 21 people have been hospitalized, one person developed kidney failure, however, no one has died.

Article

CDC'S E. Coli site

Tire Valve Recall

Tech International, a distributor based in Ohio, has announced that it is recalling 6 million tire valves. These tire valves were manufactured by China based, Shanghai Baolong Industries Co. The recall notice stated that stems could crack and cause a gradual reduction in tire pressure. Of course it is very difficult to figure out who has these types of valves on their tires.
"Tech International does not know the identity of any end-users of the TR413 valves and has no realistic method of determining the identity of such individuals. Furthermore, there is no realistic method for Tech International to identify the production dates of any specific TR413 valves," the company said in its letter to NHTSA.

There is a push for people to inspect their tires, valves for any cracks, and to check the tire  pressure.
  "Air loss at highway speeds may result in a tire failure and loss-of-control crash," said Sean Kane, president of Safety Research and Strategies.

Read the entire article found in the Detroit News.

Vehicle Recalls

Below are a few  safety defect and non compliance notices received in the month of May 2008. The entire report may be accessed here.
False Park:
    GM IS RECALLING 26 MY 2008 SATURN VUE VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH A 6T70 6-SPEED AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION. SOME OF THESE VEHICLES HAVE A CONDITION IN WHICH THE TRANSMISSION CASE SIDE BORE THAT HOLDS THE PARK PAWL PIVOT PIN MAY HAVE A CASTING POROSITY. THIS CONDITION, COUPLED WITH NORMAL OPERATING STRESSES, COULD LEAD TO FAILURE, ELIMINATING THE ABILITY TO SECURE THE TRANSMISSION IN 'PARK' POSITION.

Brake Failure:
   
CHRYSLER IS RECALLING 1,585 MY 2007-2008 JEEP WRANGLER, RIGHT HAND DRIVE ONLY, VEHICLES. SOME VEHICLES MAY HAVE INSUFFICIENT CLEARANCE BETWEEN THE STEERING INTERMEDIATE SHAFT AND REAR BRAKE TUBES. Consequence:
 PROLONGED BRAKE TUBE CONTACT COULD WEAR A HOLE IN THE TUBE AND CAUSE A PARTIAL BRAKE SYSTEM LOSS. THIS COULD CAUSE A CRASH WITHOUT WARNING.


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Pool and Spa Drains

I was recently watching a television segment on the news regarding pool and spa drains. The story discussed how children can become entrapped in the drains, causing their intestines to essentially be sucked out due to the force of the drains. It is absolutely shocking the enormous injuries these old-styled drains can cause and the enormous strength they have.

Tje CPSC released a report and statement on May 21, 2008.
A new federal pool and spa safety law was signed by the President on December 19, 2007. The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act requires that by December 19, 2008, all public pools and spas have safety drain covers, and in certain circumstances, an anti-entrapment system. The goal of the law is to improve the safety of all pools and spas by increasing the use of layers of protection and promoting uninterrupted supervision to prevent child drownings and entrapments.
The entire report may be read here.

Toyota Highlander Recall

Seat belts can save your life if they work. 90,000 2008 Toyota Highlanders and Toyota Highlander hybrids are being recalled due to the fact that the seat belts' locking mechanisms failing.
The locking mechanism on the seat belts apparently cannot secure properly when certain rear-facing child safety seats are used, which could cause the child seats to move, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported on Friday. Read More
If you have been affected by a seat belt failure or any other mechanism defect, please report it the NHTSA. If our law firm can be of  any assistance please do not hesitate to  contact us.



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Toyota - Unintended Acceleration

The Office of Defect Investigation (ODI) at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is looking into a report that a Toyota Sienna accelerated without explanation.

 According to the report,
Safety regulators said that field data “indicates that when a retainer pin is missing from the driver's side center stack/console trim panel, the panel can detach from the console and the accelerator pedal can become entrapped under the trim panel causing unwanted acceleration.”
The ODI is launching this  investigation to determine if  more vehicles are affected. It is so  vital that consumer report such defects and problems to the  ODI so investigations such as this may be conducted.
Read the story

Magnet Ingestion

The CPSC put out a safety alert on the  harmful  results form ingesting magnets. Through  our child safety litigation work, we have learned of the many hazards of magnetic toys. Magnets, not just those  found in  toys, can be a real danger. Read the  safety alert here.

Ford Rollover Lawsuit

Ford has recently lost a lawsuit in New York. This case gives value to the argument that the roof standards in our vehicles need to be reexamined. And more importantly manufacturers must ensure that they selling a product that is within the standard. In addition, this case raises yet another defect that we have been seeing lately in various cars: cruise control issues.  Ed Bell and his law firm in Georgetown, SC represented plaintiffs in this action on liability.  We congratulate Ed and his team and hope this verdict sends a message to Ford: safety is job one.
Ford must pay $6.5 million to the family of a 60-year-old man who died in a 2000 rollover accident involving an Explorer, a New York jury said Thursday.

The family of Steven Motelson claimed a cruise-control defect caused him to lose control of the Explorer and that an inadequate roof failed to protect him in the subsequent rollover.

Read the Article

GM recalls- Fires

There has been yet another car recall because of a threat of fire. This time it involves GM Buick Regals and Pontiacs.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — General Motors has recalled 207,542 1997-2003 Buick Regal GS and Pontiac Grand Prix GTP models with 3.8-liter supercharged V6 engines over a risk that they could catch fire. The recall includes a strong warning not to park the vehicles "in a garage, carport or other structure" to avoid the risk of fire.

"Certain underhood fires may be caused by drops of engine oil being deposited on the exhaust manifold through hard braking," says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the recalls summary on its Web site. "If the manifold is hot enough and the oil runs below the heat shield, it may ignite into a small flame and, in some instances, spread to the plastic spark plug wire channel." Other documentation adds that "most cases have occurred five to 10 minutes after the vehicle has been turned off."

The NHTSA reports that the problem has caused 267 fires to date and six injuries, five of which are minor. There are no fatalities associated with the problem. Read more

Air Bags: Mustangs

Ford has issued a recall involving 2005-2008 Mustangs due to air bag non complaince issue.
Make / Models :         Model/Build Years:    
     FORD / MUSTANG     2005-2008
 
FORD IS RECALLING 434,593 MY 2008 MUSTANG VEHICLES FOR FAILING TO COMPLY WITH ONE OF THE NECK INJURY REQUIREMENTS OF FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208, "OCCUPANT CRASH PROTECTION," FOR AN UNBELTED 5TH PERCENTILE FEMALE SITTING IN THE PASSENGER SEAT WHILE IT IS IN THE FULL FORWARD POSITION.
 
DURING AN AIR BAG DEPLOYMENT, IF A SMALL FEMALE IN THE FRONT PASSENGER SEAT IS NOT WEARING THE SAFETY BELT, AND HAS THE SEAT IN THE FULL FORWARD POSITION, THERE MAY BE AN INCREASED POTENTIAL FOR A NECK INJURY.
 
DEALERS WILL REPROGRAM THE RESTRAINT CONTROL MODULE FREE OF CHARGE. THE RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN ON OR ABOUT FEBRUARY 28, 2008. OWNERS MAY CONTACT FORD AT 1-866-436-7332 OR THROUGH EMAIL TO WWW.OWNERCONNECTION.COM.
 
FORD RECALL NO. 08C02. CUSTOMERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION¿S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.

Cruise Control Issues

If you have a Ford please take note. The National Highway Safety Administration announced certain Ford vehicles pose a fire risk due to malfunctioning cruise controls.

WASHINGTON -- The National Highway Safety Administration today urged owners of more than 4 million unrepaired Ford Motor Co. vehicles that are at risk of fire because of a defective cruise control deactivation switch to "immediately" get it fixed.

The Detroit News reported Monday that Ford won't have an adequate supply of parts to repair trucks and vans until June.

Ford has urged owners to take vehicles into dealerships to get their cruise control deactivated as an interim fix until it has enough parts on hand to fix the cruise control.

Ford expanded its recall by 3.6 million vehicles last August, but NHTSA has continued to receive complaints of fires -- about 60 since then.

In a statement, NHTSA said: "Many dealers will perform this as a 'drive through' service so owners do not have to leave their vehicles at the dealership or schedule an appointment in advance. Failure to have the switch disconnected could lead to a vehicle fire at any time, whether or not the key is in the ignition, and whether or not owners use the cruise control system. The safety agency said the fire danger is present regardless of the age of the vehicle, and could even occur while the vehicle is parked and unattended."

Ford has had seven separate recalls since 1999 of a total of 9.6 million vehicles, including 220,000 vehicles re-recalled earlier this month.

Combined, the campaigns represent one of the largest recalls in U.S. history.

The $21 Texas Instruments switches were installed in 16 million Ford vehicles over a decade before the automaker stopped using them in 2002.


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GM Fires

We have been hearing about and have been contacted about  car fires. Now it appears the government is investigating fires in certain GM SUVs.
The government is investigating reports of engine fires in General Motors’ full-size sport utility vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has received two reports of fires on 2007 model year Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs.
Both reports allege that the vehicles were parked in a home garage with the engine shut off when the fires occurred, causing significant property damage.
The investigation, which also includes the 2007 GMC Yukon SUV, involves about 423,000 SUVs. Read the article

Nissan: Recalls

Nissan announced a recall involving the air bag component. If you believe your vehicle might be affected by the recall  make sure to contact your auto dealership. This recall involves the potential for an airbag to fail to deploy when involved in a crash.
Make / Models :         Model/Build Years:    
     INFINITI / EX35     2008
     NISSAN / MURANO     2009
Manufacturer : NISSAN NORTH AMERICA, INC. Mfr's Report Date : FEB 12, 2008
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number : 08V066000 NHTSA Action Number: N/A
Component: AIR BAGS
Potential Number Of Units Affected : 16365
Summary:
 NISSAN IS RECALLING 16,365 MY 2008 INFINITI EX35 AND MY 2009 NISSAN MURANO VEHICLES. DUE TO INCORRECT SOFTWARE PROGRAMMING, THE AIR BAG CONTROL UNIT (ACU) MAY CAUSE THE PASSENGER AIR BAG NOT TO OPERATE AS DESIGNED IF THE VEHICLE BATTERY BECOMES SIGNIFICANTLY DISCHARGED.
Consequence:
 THIS COULD RESULT IN THE PASSENGER AIR BAG NOT INFLATING IN A CRASH IN WHICH IT WAS DESIGNED TO DO SO, AND INCREASING THE RISK OF INJURY.
Remedy:
 DEALERS WILL REPROGRAM THE ACU IN AFFECTED VEHICLES. THE RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN DURING FEBRUARY 2008. OWNERS MAY CONTACT INFINITI AT 1-800-662-6200 OR NISSAN AT 1-800-647-7261.
Notes:
 CUSTOMERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.

Furniture Fires

Something we may not link commonly link together are upholstered furniture and home fires. However, home fires involving upholstered furniture can spread more quickly. The CPSC took action on this very fact and issued the following statement:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted unanimously (2-0) to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) on a new mandatory standard to address residential upholstered furniture fires.

The goal of the proposed standard is to prevent ignition or slow the spread and intensity of upholstered furniture fires. These fires cost the U.S. about $1.6 billion each year. CPSC staff estimates the proposed standard, once fully effective, would prevent an estimated 100 deaths and 130 injuries every year.

“Fires involving upholstered furniture are a leading cause of fire-related deaths in U.S. homes,” said CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. “Stopping a furniture fire in its tracks or slowing its spread would buy consumers precious time to get out of their homes.”

Under the proposal, manufacturers could meet the performance standard by using smolder-resistant cover fabrics or interior fire resistant barriers to protect the furniture’s internal filling material which is the primary fuel in an upholstered furniture fire.

The CPSC’s objective is to reduce the fire risk in upholstered furniture without requiring the use of fire retardant chemicals. Manufacturers will not be required to use chemicals to meet the proposed standard. In its environmental assessment, CPSC staff projects most manufacturers and importers would likely choose options that do not involve fire- retardants in fabrics or filling materials.

“CPSC is now on track to develop a mandatory safety rule that will save lives and protect consumers,” added Acting Chairman Nord.

An NPR is the second step in the agency’s three step rulemaking process.

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Trampoline Defect

Stamina Products are paying a civil penalty for  failing to report product defects with the mini  trampoline.  The following is the  release by the CPSC:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that a Missouri-based manufacturer of trampolines has agreed to pay the government a $105,000 civil penalty. The penalty settles allegations that Stamina Products, of Springfield, Mo., failed to report in a timely manner injuries from defective mini-trampolines. In April 2006, CPSC and Stamina Products announced the recall of about 668,000 mini-trampolines.

Between April 2002 and June 2005, Stamina Products received eight reports from consumers who alleged that the trampoline sprang back during the folding/unfolding process causing facial lacerations that required stitches, broken teeth, bruises, headaches, neck pain, broken facial bones, loss of mouth sensation, and blurred vision. Stamina Products failed to report these incidents to the CPSC in a timely manner. CPSC was finally informed of the incidents in July 2005.

Federal law requires firms to report to CPSC within 24 hours after obtaining information that a product contains a defect which could create a substantial product hazard, or creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death.

In agreeing to settle the matter, Stamina Products denies that it violated federal law.

Picture of Recalled Trampoline

Lead Paint and Board Games

Cranium board games have been recalled due to excessive lead paint in the die of certain lot numbers. The notice follows below. A note, this games is sold at  some  specialty children's  stores such  as Learning Express  in addition  to  the the  stores  listed in the  notice.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Cranium Cadoo Board Games

Units: About 38,000

Importer: Cranium Inc., of Seattle, Wash.

Hazard: The surface paint on the die contains excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: Only the die found in Cranium Cadoo board games with lot numbers 2007195 through 2007244 are included in the recall. The Cranium Cadoo game is packaged in a square cardboard box with an orange background. The seven digit lot number is printed under the plastic tray on the bottom half of the box.

Sold at: Fred Meyer, Kmart, Shopko, Wal-Mart and specialty game stores nationwide between October 2007 through January 2008 for about $20.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately dispose of the die and contact Cranium Inc. to receive a free replacement die.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Cranium Inc. at (877) 272- 6486 between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s Web site at www.cranium.com



Picture of Recalled Cranium Cadoo Board Game

Picture of Die and LAbel from Recalled Cranium Cadoo Board Game

CPSC Performance and Accountability

Over 2007 the list of  recalls seemed to be  endless, especially the   last  half  of  the  year with the numerous  recalls  involving children's products and  toys. We deal with unsafe products in our  products liability practice constantly. But we too, as a firm, look to  the CPSC to be a monitor for products and issue recalls when they are  proven to be  defective or unsafe. Here is there report for 2007  describe the commission and its structure.

HSN Pays Civil Penalty

HSN agreed to pay a civil penalty for failing to  report serious injuries and hazards, as is required by federal law.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that HSN LP (previously known as Home Shopping Network), of St. Petersburg, Fla., has agreed (pdf) to pay a civil penalty of $875,000. The civil penalty settles allegations that HSN LP failed to report in a timely manner, as required by federal law, serious injuries and hazards with the Welbilt Electronic Pressure Cookers.

CPSC alleged that from September 2001 through about October 2004, HSN received at least 25 reports from consumers indicating that the pressure cookers contained a defect that could create a substantial product hazard or that the pressure cookers created an unreasonable risk of serious injury. CPSC alleged that HSN failed to immediately report this information as required by federal law. HSN LP finally reported information to CPSC in February 2005. In June and October 2005, these pressure cookers were the subject of a recall.

Under the Consumer Product Safety Act, manufacturers, distributors and retailers are required to immediately report to CPSC information about products that could create a substantial risk of injury to the public or that create an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death.

In agreeing to settle this matter, HSN denied CPSC’s allegations that it violated the CPSA.


Minivan Fender Benders are Costly

According to a new report published from new crash  tests conducted by the insurance industry, low speed collisions involving minivans could  prove to be costly to  repair.
Repairing damages to minivans involved in low-speed crashes of 3 to 6 miles per hour could range from $483 to more than $3,500, according to test results released Thursday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Nissan Quest had the most expensive bill for the minivans, costing $3,549 for a low-speed crash to the rear bumper. In the four tests, the Quest tallied $8,102 in combined damages.

The Dodge Grand Caravan had the lowest costs in one of the four tests, $483 for damage to the rear corner of the minivan. In all four tests, the Grand Caravan had a combined $5,495 in damages.

The Honda Odyssey had the lowest combined repair costs of $5,258 in the four tests. The Toyota Sienna cost $5,726 in repairs for all the tests, while the Chevrolet Uplander had $5,799 in expenses. The tests estimated $6,525 in damages to the Kia Sedona.

Tailgates on five of the six minivans -- except the Uplander -- had damage in the rear full-width test. Only the Quest and the Sienna required the tailgate to be replaced.


Read  more
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Nissan Recalls

We are currently investigating Nissan recalls involving 2005 and 2006 production years for the Altima and Sentra models. This recall is obviously very interesting.

TOKYO, Nov 22, 2007; Chang-Ran Kim writing for Reuters reported that Japan's Nissan Motor Co said on Thursday it will recall 713,986 Altima and Sentra cars in North America, mostly in the United States, because their engines may suddenly stop running.

Affected models are 2002 and 2005-2006 Altimas and Sentras with 2.5-litre engines. The crankshaft position sensor can overheat and briefly stop sending signals, possibly causing the engine to stop.

Nissan filed a recall of 622,634 Altimas and 28,373 Sentras in the United States, a spokeswoman in Tokyo said. The rest were sold in Canada and Mexico.

Anyone who may have had an issue with these automobiles, please feel free to contact us.

Chrysler Recalls Dodge Vans and Trucks

On Friday, almost 600,000 Dodge vans and trucks were recalled due to the cars shifting out of park without the  key in  the ignition. As the  following report states - use the parking brake at all times.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- -- Chrysler said Friday it is recalling nearly 600,000 Dodge trucks and vans to address concerns that the vehicles could shift out of park without the key in the ignition.

The recall affects 576,417 2001-2002 Dodge Dakota trucks, Dodge Durango sport utility vehicles and Dodge Ram vans and the 2002 Dodge Ram pickup. In some cases, long-term wear on the gearshift assembly could erode the height of the shift blocker, creating the potential for the vehicle to shift out of park.

Chrysler spokesman Max Gates said there have been nine incidents involving injuries connected to the issue. No fatalities have been reported, he said in an e-mail.

Owners will be notified beginning in January 2008 and dealers will replace the gearshift blocker and bracket assembly.

In the interim, vehicle owners are advised to use the parking brake at all times when the vehicle is not in use, Gates said.

Motorcycle Helmet Safety

Changes to the motorcycle helmet law go into  effect on  January 1, 2008 in North Carolina which offer better specification on the type of helmet that a motorcyclist should  wear.

The new law also clarifies that the helmet must be properly secured on the head using a strap so that it will stay on in the event of a crash.

Motorcycle helmets are considered legally compliant if they meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218, which requires helmets to have a firm inner liner of polystyrene foam that is about one-inch thick.

Compliant motorcycle safety helmets will also carry the symbol “DOT,” for U.S. Department of Transportation, permanently installed by the manufacturer on the back of the helmet, as well as a permanently attached manufacturer’s label on the interior of the helmet. Novelty-type helmets are not compliant with FMVSS-218.
To identify helmets that are compliant with FMVSS-218, motorcyclists can visit the following page for  more  information.

Boppy Covers Recalled

Like most parents of a newborn, we had a boppy pillow.  They are wonderful and very helpful to nursing mothers.  One would think the idea of pillow covers was great...seems more hygienic...you can wash  them just as you do a regular pillow cover...but wait...some have been recalled!
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Boppy® Slipcovers

Units: About 38,000

Importer: The Boppy Company, of Golden, Colo.

Hazard: The zipper pull on the slipcovers can break, posing a choking hazard to young children. In addition, paint on the zippers contains excess levels of lead, which violates the federal lead paint standard.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: This recall involves velvet and boa slipcovers intended for use with the Boppy® Bare Naked nursing and support pillow.

Slipcovers recalled due to a choking hazard were sold in three color combinations and have the following UPC and date codes found on the California Flammability Law tag. Slipcovers sold in clear vinyl packages are labeled Boppy® Luxe.

Color Combination UPC Code Date Code
Blue/Green Velvet 769662 30802 1 05/2006 and 06/2006
Pink/ Orange Velvet 769662 30801 4 05/2006 and 06/2006
Pastel Blue Velvet 769662 30705 5 05/2006
Picture of Recalled Slipcovers

Slipcovers recalled due excessive levels of lead paint were sold in four colors and have the following UPC and date codes found on the care instructions label and on the exterior of the packaging. Slipcovers sold in display boxes are labeled Boppy® Soothing.

Color UPC Code Date Code
Pastel Blue “Boa” 769662 32544 8 07030
Bright Pink Velvet 769662 32542 4 07030
Navy Blue Velvet 769662 32542 4 07030
Sage Green Velvet 769662 32709 1 07030
Picture of Recalled Slipcovers

Sold at: Slipcovers recalled due to choking hazard were sold at discount department stores nationwide from July 2006 through September 2007 for about $16. Slipcovers recalled due to lead paint were sold at discount department stores nationwide from February 2007 through September 2007 for between $15 and $17.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should stop using these products immediately and contact The Boppy Company for a free replacement product.

Consumer Contact: For information on identifying and/or exchanging the recalled slipcovers, call The Boppy Company at (888) 713-3916 anytime or visit the

Nike Football Helmet Chin Straps

Football players...a  recall involving helmet straps has been issued.  If you are using this product please take notice!
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Football Helmet Chin Straps

Units: About 235,000

Manufacturer: Nike Inc., of Beaverton, Ore.

Hazard: The chin strap’s plastic cup can break as a result of contact, exposing the player to facial or head injuries.


Continue Reading...

Toy recalls

Here we are  again discussing the numerous toy recalls and child items that have occurred over the past few  weeks.  The Family Dollar Store recalled Halloween pails due to  unsafe levels of lead paint. Jo-Ann stores recalled children's toy garden tools also due to the  unsafe levels of lead paint. Fisher Price  has now added the Go Diego Go boats to their recall list, again  due to the  unsafe levels of lead paint.  Dollar Tree stores recalled children's jewelry for....yes....lead paint hazards. Good grief...with the number of children's items that have been placed in the marketplace and have needed to be recalled due  to safety issues... it is just a  matter of time before we start to really  learn the number of children  affected whether through actual toy litigation or other means. But something  needs to be done.  It is nearly impossible to buy a child a toy without worrying if somehow the product you just purchased contains unsafe levels of lead, or  to fear that somehow it was a toy that was actually included in the recall but happened to somehow  miss being pulled from the shelf for some reason.  It is a terrible feeling as a parent to constantly  be  unsure if what you are giving your child could in fact hurt them. Brands that were once "trusted" aren't any longer. It is truly unnerving.

Lead in Products

This morning  on the  news I heard about home lead tests not working.  According to  the news report these tests were made so people could conduct their own lead tests at home to help determine if unsafe lead levels were present. However, the report indicated that these products do not  work  properly.  This comes after  all the  numerous reports about unsafe lead amounts in  everything from  children's toys to  lipstick. The US Products Safety Commission  has  a website containing links with information, regulations and  guidance about lead in  consumer products. 

Huffy Recalls Bikes

2007 Toyota Tacoma Under Investigation

There have been a number of cases where there has been unexplained acceleration when the drivers have said they had hit the brakes.  
A nationwide investigation by the Channel 4 I-team found complaints about the 2007 Toyota Tacoma that included mysterious acceleration even when drivers said they hit the brakes.

Channel 4 found a growing number of drivers who have had problems with the vehicle, which has prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to start conducting tests on the model.
Continue Reading...

Starbucks Cups Recalled

From toys to cups....
The US Consumer Product  Safety Commission  issued  a  press release today involving children's plastic cups form Starbucks.

Hazard: If the cup is dropped, the colorful face on the cup can break off and leave small parts or sharp exposed edges that can pose a choking or laceration hazard to young children.

Incidents/Injuries: Starbucks has received seven reports of the cups breaking, including two reports in which a child began to choke on a broken piece. No injuries have been reported.

Read the  whole release here

Toaster Recall

It sounds  like something  out of a scary movie where the toaster is possessed, turns on  by itself and the house catches on fire.  Well, it seems  for approximately 5200 QVC toasters, that is exactly what has been happening.  These toasters have been recalled for ...

Hazard: The toaster can turn on without bread in the slots and ignite items placed on top of it, posing a fire hazard.

Incidents/Injuries: QVC has received information that ten toasters reportedly turned on spontaneously, including one incident of fire damage to kitchen cabinets and two incidents of toaster covers burned. No injuries have been reported.

The entire notice from  the Consumer Protection Safety Commission can be found here.

Kolcraft Recall-Play Yard

Today the US  Consumer  Product Safety Commission announced a recall  involving Kolcraft play yards after a 10 month old died.
CPSC received a report of a 10-month old boy who strangled on the changing table’s restraint strap that was hanging down into Kolcraft’s “Sesame Beginnings” Travel Play Yard where the child was located.
These play yards were sold from 2001 to 2007. What is terribly frightening is to speculate the number of households  that  have these play yards  since they have been on the market for  several years.  I  know our household has one, as do "the grandparents".  Please read the announcement here and make  sure if you have one,  you  remove the  changing  pad/cradle area when your child is  in the  play yard.

Crib Recall

Approximately 1 million simplicity  cribs were recalled earlier this week.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is announcing today a voluntary recall with Simplicity Inc., of Reading, Pa., of about 1 million cribs. The drop-side can detach from the crib, which can create a dangerous gap and lead to the entrapment and suffocation of infants. CPSC is aware of two deaths in Simplicity manufactured cribs with older style hardware, including a 9-month-old child and a 6-month-old child, where the drop-side was installed upside down. CPSC is also aware of seven infant entrapments and 55 incidents in these cribs.

What is most frustrating about this recall  to  me, is that the first death occurred over  two and a half years ago. It appears that two deaths occurred with older hardware, and a third death  has  now occurred with  the  newer hardware.  The question arises...what took so long to have this investigated? Read the announcement here.

Daimlerchrysler Recall

Daimlerchrysler issued a recall for certain 2007 Doge Rams.

Component: POWER TRAIN:DRIVELINE:DRIVESHAFT
Potential Number Of Units Affected : 1498
Summary:
 ON CERTAIN TWO WHEEL DRIVE TRUCKS EQUIPPED WITH MANUAL TRANSMISSIONS, THE FRONT DRIVESHAFT YOKE MAY BREAK UNDER CERTAIN DRIVING CONDITIONS.
Consequence:
 THIS COULD RESULT IN A LOSS OF VEHICLE CONTROL AND CAUSE A CRASH WITHOUT WARNING.
Remedy:
 DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE DRIVESHAFT FREE OF CHARGE. THE RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN DURING SEPTEMBER 2007. OWNERS MAY CONTACT DAIMLERCHRYSLER AT 1-800-853-1403.
Notes:
 DAIMLERCHRYSLER RECALL NO. G32. CUSTOMERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.

Crocs - Be aware

If your children  wear crocs, please keep an eye on them as they ride escalators.  There seem to be  numerous cases of  crocs  getting caught  in  the  "teeth" of the  escalator or in between the  moving stairs. 

According to reports appearing across the United States and as far away as Singapore and Japan, entrapments occur because of two of the biggest selling points of shoes like Crocs: their flexibility and grip. Some report the shoes get caught in the "teeth" at the bottom or top of the escalator, or in the crack between the steps and the side of the escalator.

The reports of serious injuries have all involved young children. Crocs are commonly worn by children as young as 2. The company introduced shoes in its smallest size, 4/5, this past spring.

Something to definitely be aware of as you and your children  ride escalators. Read the whole story here.

When Preemption becomes Intervention

Just read a good article over at the Washington Post on the rising tide of federal agency rules that include preemptive language.

One of the most difficult issues the plaintiff's bar faces in product liability actions is the mounting attacks on state sovereignty posed by the doctrine of federal preemption.  It isn't ideologically familiar ground for trial lawyers to fight on: that state law should be protected against federal regulations.  Yet, in today's climate, preemption rules declared by over eager executive agencies threaten the common law rights of state citizens across the nation.  What is especially alarming is the relationship between the increase in federal rule making and campaign contributions to the executive's party.  This can't be seen any longer as simply enforcing the constitutional standard that where federal law and state law conflict, federal law wins.  It isn't preemption in fact, the new game is now intervention. Continue Reading...

Motorcycle Recall

Big Dog Motorcycles, LLC issued a recall for the big dog/bull dog 2007 model. On certain models the tachometer may have been improperly installed which may cause the motorcycle to short circuit and shut down. This shut off may occur without prior warning resulting in a possible crash. The recall is expected to begin August 24, 2007. Dealers will isolate the tachometer board from housing.  Owners may call  Big Dog at 1-316-219-9129 OR email customer.service@bigdogmotorcycles.com. Continue Reading...

Not the iPhone!

Some of Apple's ads for the new iPhone were played so often during a recent vacation of mine that I actually considered buying one just in order to make the ads stop.  But then I realized, they don't play the ads to get you to buy just one!

All joking aside, apparently there's a failure to disclose a material fact about the iPhone (which were it not for the lawsuit, I probably would have never known).  You can't replace the battery unless you give the phone back because its welded shut to the phone.  Not good.  And according to this attorney, an unfair trade and deceptive practice.  Which seems fair when you consider they charge almost another $100 for the service needed to replace the battery!

So, even the blessed iPhone, and its miraculous powers, are not free from the world of products liability.  Oy vey.

Causation Queries & Pre-complaint Negotiation

We recently settled a case involving a product defect with a peculiar mechanism of injury.  I say peculiar because until our case, the defendant manufacturer purportedly had never received a complaint alleging a similar factual instance as our injury.

That's a tough place to be as a plaintiff in a product liability action: the first instance.  And undoubtedly you are going to have a hard time getting the defendant to be reasonable unless you go forward with a lawsuit.  The issue there is, as everyone in this area of law knows, going full steam ahead on a product liability suit can be very expensive... so expensive that unless your damages are severe you will have a hard time making he case cost effective for your client.  So what do you do then? Continue Reading...

Ford Recall - Cruise Control leading to fire

Ford recalls another 3.6 million vehicles due to engine fires resulting from faulty cruise controls.  They had recalled 6 million back in 2005 for what appears to be the same defect.  Apparently the issue is with vehicles primarily out of the Louisville plant.

More on this here.  Just hope they got them all this time.

Lexus Law Suit

An interesting class action suit has been filed against Lexus USA Inc., Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. and others.  The suit was filed on behalf of owners of the ES350.  These automobiles are supposed to be equipped with sensors in the passenger side seat.  When the sensor is activated by the weight of  the passenger, the passenger airbag should engage and therefore deploy if there is a collision. This suit alleges that these sensors do not  function properly.
The suit goes on to explain that the defective vehicles are fitted with a weight sensor that gauges the weight of the person in the front passenger seat, but that these sensors have been found to be faulty.
The owners want Toyota to recall and repurchase all ES350s, refunds for those that leased the cars, each car to be refitted with a working airbag system, and compensation for any loss of value and costs owners incurred during this process.
(more here)

Daimlerchysler- Electrical System Issue

On some cars, the Totally Integrated Power Module  (TIPM) was programmed with software that may allow the engine to stall under certain conditions.  This could cause a crash without prior warning. Dealers will reprogram the module. Their  number is 1-800-853-1403.  The recall began July 5, 2007.

Tire Recall

Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. recalled some of their  tires. It has been reported that certain Cooper Load Range E Dominator Sport A/T tires, size LT265/75R16E, manufactured between 7/2/02 and 3/20/05.  Apparently the tread can separate from the tire casing. This can lead to a vehicle crash.  Cooper will notify owners and replace the tires free of charge.  The recall was expected to start on 7/10/07.  cooper's customer relations  number is 800-774-6560.
 
 

Bike Rack Recalls

Thule, Inc. recalled certain bike racks with fold down arms.  apparently there exists a pinch  bolt between the bike arm bracket and the upright assembly of the hitch style rack.  This pinch  point can cause sever laceration or amputation of the hand or fingertips.  Thule will notify owners and provide a repair  kit and instructions free of charge. The phone number is 800-THULE91 (800-848-5391).