Articles Tagged with “Boston product liability lawyers”

Kidde Smoke Alarm Recall 2018

Kidde recalled nearly a half million smoke alarms which may have a dangerous yellow cap left inside. (Recall date: March 21, 2018; Photo: CPSC website)

Please check your smoke alarms when you get home. Kidde has recalled nearly half a million smoke alarms, urging consumers to check devices for yellow caps potentially left on during the manufacturing process. According to the company’s recall notice, the cap would be on one of two sensors inside the smoke detector, compromising the device. Consumers have to do this inspection carefully. You will be looking for the yellow cap through the opening on the side of the device, as shown in the photo. Be careful not to open the smoke alarm or take it apart.

Because Kidde is one of the largest manufacturers, every consumer should check their smoke alarm.  If you have a Kidde device, you will need to take it off the wall or ceiling to check the date code on the back. The recalled smoke alarms were dated September 10, 2016 through October 13, 2017. They were sold through January 2018 at Home Depot, Walmart and other retailers. They were manufactured in China, by Fyrnetics Limited, of Hong Kong.

20141027_airbagThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has expanded the Takata airbag recall by 3.3 million vehicles. The question now is how many more recalls are ahead?

So many drivers have been impacted. To date, 34 million vehicles have been recalled, according to the NHTSA website. USA Today reports the airbags are now responsible for at least 20 deaths, while injuring 180 others. Millions of other drivers have had to wait out a slow replacement process.

The U.S. Department of Justice fined Takata $1 billion early last year. Because there are so many defective airbags, the NHTSA plans to issue phased recalls through December 31, 2019. Older vehicles and those in hot and humid states have received the highest priority. The schedule is designed to repair vehicles before the chemical in the inflator starts to break down.

20150112_honda.jpgLast week we learned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued Honda Motor Co. two safety fines totaling $70 million. The fines were announced last week but had been issued before the New Year. These are the largest penalties the NHTSA could impose. With them, automakers finish the year paying $126 million in civil penalties, the most ever for one year. The amount also exceeds the total amount collected in all 43 years of the NHTSA’s operation.

Honda’s Fines

  • Honda was fined $35 million for failure to report submit early warning reports (EWR reports) identifying potential or actually safety issues. The company failed to report 1,729 death and injury claims between 2003 and 2014.
  • Honda was fined a second $35 million for failure to report certain warranty claims and claims related to its customer satisfaction campaigns, in which a manufacturer quietly agrees to fix defects on cars even beyond the normal warranty period.

Honda was ordered to submit injury reports as part of the NHTSA’s investigation on defective Takata airbags last year. Some of the drivers who died as a result of the Takata airbag defects were driving Honda vehicles. The airbag defects are linked to at least five deaths and dozens of injuries in the U.S. Automakers have recalled nearly 14 million cars with these airbags worldwide. Takata, a Japanese company, has limited its recalls to Florida, Hawaii and other warm weather states, despite pressure from the NHTSA to expand the recall nationwide.

Other Companies Which Were Fined
Among the companies the NHTSA fined last year: Gwinnett Place Nissan, Ferrari S.p.A. and Ferrari North America, Chapman Chevrolet LLC, Hyundai Motor America, General Motors Company and Prevost and Southern Honda Powersports.

Then of course there was General Motors, which was fined $35 million for how it handled a recall of more than 2 million vehicles with ignition switch problems. It also paid a separate $441,000 fine for failure to fully respond to a special order by a specified due date.

Toyota is not on the list of companies which paid civil penalties in 2014. But it paid the U.S. government a $1.2 billion criminal fine for it actions during a safety investigation.

Proposed Safety Changes for 2015
In the New Year, the U.S. Department of Transportation and NHTSA are proposing to increase the maximum fine for auto safety violations from $35 million to $300 million. The agencies also want the NHTSA to have additional authority to compel companies to recall unsafe products.

Related:
U.S. Department of Transportation Fines Honda $70 Million for Failing to Comply with Laws That Safeguard the Public, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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More than two million bean bag chairs have been recalled after heartbreaking accidents in which children suffocated and died.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced last week that Ace Bayou Corp. of New Orleans, Louisiana has voluntary recalled 2.2 million bean bag chairs, including both traditional and L-shaped bean bag chairs.

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The bean bag chairs have zippers which can easily be opened, a violation of the CPSC’s voluntary standard. Children can crawl inside, become entrapped and suffocate from lack of air or choke on the chair’s foam beads.

Prompting the recall were the deaths of a 12-year-old boy from Texas and a 3-year-old girl from Kentucky. The children were found inside bean bag chairs after suffocating. The boy’s mother told the media that the bean bag chair had been in her son’s room for years and she never thought he would climb inside.

The CPSC instructs consumers to check for these bean bag chairs in their homes. For the full list of recalled models, see the end of this blog.

The chairs have two zippers. Consumers can contact Ace Bayou for a free repair kit to permanently disable the zippers. Consumers should take chairs which can be unzipped away from children.

The defective products were sold at Bon-Ton, Meijer, Pamida, School Speciality, Wayfair and Walmart and online at Amazon.com, Meijer.com and Walmart.com. They were sold prior to July 2013 for $30-$100.

Another option is to simply remove these products from your home altogether. Call Ace Bayou and ask them how to safely dispose the product. (Remember, you should never give someone a recalled product or resell it to anyone. Reselling a recalled product is against federal law.)

Bean bag chairs have a history of injuring children. In the 1990s, the CPSC received reports that 5 children died from suffocation inside bean bag chairs and 27 were injured but recovered. It then launched an industry investigation and recalled 12 million bean bag chairs. More than a dozen manufacturers were involved in that recall effort.

More Recall Information

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General Motors (GM) has been fined $35 million for waiting a decade to recall vehicles with faulty ignition switches. The defects have now been linked to 13 deaths.

Attorney David White of Breakstone, White & Gluck appeared on Fox 25 TV in Boston last week to discuss the fine, GM’s recent bankruptcy proceedings and his thoughts about handling recall notices.

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This is an important topic because we have seen many auto recalls in recent years, but 2014 may set the record, according to this Los Angeles Times article.

White said the fine is the first step in a long process ahead.

“Really this is just a slap on the wrist for the corporation,” White said. “It’s a civil fine. It’s the maximum civil fine that they could be exposed to at this point, but GM is looking at years of investigation and probably… maybe even billions of dollars of fines down the road.”

The federal government is sending a strong message that companies need to act within 5 days of learning of safety defects, as required by law, White said.

“Hopefully other automakers get this message and they tune into the need for greater safety, greater attention to safety,” he said. “When they do find a defect, they come right out and say here’s our defect, here’s our concern so consumers can get notice of it promptly and get it fixed.”
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Surge7seriesLARGE.jpgNow, as we head into winter, is a good time to test your home’s smoke alarms, check your appliances and inspect your electrical outlets and cords.

First, a good resource is the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website, where you can search for recall news about products you may own. Recently, there have been several recalls involving products posing serious fire hazards.

One example is Schneider Electric IT Corp. recalled 15 million APC Surge Arrest surge protectors in early October. This followed 700 reports of property damage, including $916,000 in fire damage to a home and $750,000 to a medical facility. Another 13 reports were injuries, including smoke inhalation and contact burns. Another example is Gree Electric Dehumidifiers, which recalled 2.2 million dehumidifiers in the U.S. last month, after its products caused 46 fires and $2.15 million in property damage.

You can review the CPSC website to make sure you have no recalled products in your home. You can also take a look around your home for faulty cords or products.

Preventing Home Fires in the Winter
During a typical year, there are over 26,000 home electrical fires in this country, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. December and January see the most electrical fires. We share a few tips for preventing these fires:

1) Check your smoke alarms before the season.

2) Regularly check your electrical appliances and wiring. Replace any old or damaged cords; do not try to repair them.

3) Replace any appliance you feel may not work properly. If you do not want to replace it, call a repair service or visit the store where you purchased the product. Check electric space heaters every year as a rule.

4) Buy appliances which have the label of a recognized testing laboratory, such as UL.

5) Avoid using extension cords.

6) Use only surge protectors or power strips that have internal overload protection and have been tested by a national laboratory.

7) Keep clothes and flammables at least three feet away from all portable electric space heaters.

8) Use light bulbs that match recommended wattages for lamps.

9) Bring in an electrician if you are experiencing flickering lights or other problems.

Related:
Electrical Home Fire Safety, U.S. Fire Administration
Schneider Electric Recalls APC Surge Protectors Due to Fire Hazard, Consumer Product Safety Commission.
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xray-heart-200.jpgThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered St. Jude’s Medical to expand studies into Durata defibrillator leads, saying the heart devices are sufficiently similar to Riata leads, which were recalled last year. The agency is also seeking new data on Riata.

Defibrillators are implanted in patients with abnormal heart rhythms to regulate the heart beat. The medical devices are connected to the heart with leads. Riata was recalled because in some cases, wires were breaking through the insulation, which can potentially lead to a life-threatening abnormal heart rhythm.

A recent St. Jude study of 700 Riata patients found the defective wire broke through the insulation in about 19 percent of cases. A study led by a Minneapolis Heart Institute cardiologist has linked Riata leads to 20 deaths.

St. Jude, of St. Paul, Minnesota, pulled the defective Riata leads off the market in December 2010 and the FDA issued a medical device recall in late 2011. A 2011 count found 79,000 patients were still implanted with the Riata leads.

Responding to the FDA order, St. Jude said it is already collecting data on both Riata and Durata. The company stated the medical devices are different in design and a new coating meant to protect the insulation.

The FDA’s orders include routine X-rays for patients enrolled in post-market Durata studies to identify any insulation problems. St. Jude must also perform X-rays in a three-year post-market study on the defective Riata leads. The goal is to detect extruded leads which are floating loose in the heart.

Surgery to remove extruded leads can be dangerous. St. Jude says many patients live with the loose wires and continue to function normally. The FDA has advised doctors to closely monitor patients.

Related:

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Johnson & Johnson, one of the largest manufacturers of surgical mesh, has announced plans to stop selling the medical implants, as it faces hundreds of lawsuits from injured women and increasing oversight from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Surgical mesh is used to strengthen the pelvic wall in cases of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Last year, approximately 75,000 women had a transvaginal procedure using surgical mesh.

Johnson & Johnson disclosed it will phase out surgical mesh in a recent letter sent to New Jersey and West Virginia judges overseeing patient lawsuits against them. The company said it plans to discontinue four mesh products over the next three to nine months.

On July 13, 2011, the FDA issued a public safety advisory stating traditional POP repair with mesh has no advantage over traditional non-mesh repair. Between 2005 and 2010, more than 3,800 women had reported complications and injuries following transvaginal mesh surgery, according to the FDA.

Many more women have stepped forward since the FDA advisory, many of whom have suffered painful, long-term injuries. Some injuries cannot be corrected through surgery. Hundreds of women have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers, which include Johnson & Johnson and Boston Scientific.

In September 2011, an FDA panel heard arguments from advocacy groups, surgeons and consumer organizations. Many wanted to see a surgical mesh recall, others wanted the FDA to implement more oversight. Some sought a reclassification while others said the surgical mesh problem made another case for overhauling the 510(k) system, which allows manufacturers to sell new products without a new review so long as they are “substantially equivalent” to an already legally marketed device.

The FDA did not require a surgical mesh recall. But in January 2012, it ordered Johnson & Johnson and the other companies to conduct studies to track surgical mesh complication rates over time. Johnson & Johnson has been collecting data to comply, but said it expects the FDA will waive the requirement.

Complaints from transvaginal surgical included mesh erosion with in the body, bleeding, pain during sexual intercourse, organ perforation, vaginal scarring, muscular and emotional problems. While corrective surgery is an option, it is not always successful.

Some surgeons are now recommending women consider whether they really need POP surgery and if they do, request a procedure without mesh, according to a Consumer Reports article. Click here for a recent article.

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bicycle-recall-bridgeway-200.jpgEach spring, cyclists throughout Massachusetts say goodbye to winter and put their bikes back on the road. But whether you cycle every day or just occasionally, now is the time to make sure your bike and equipment meets the latest safety regulations.

It is good practice to test and inspect key parts of your bike, such as the quick release wheels, brakes and pedals.Then check with the manufacturer of your bicycle. Look online and see if if offers an owners’ manual. If you have not done so, register your bike so you may receive recall notices.

You can also check the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website for recent bicycle recalls. Each year, the CPSC recalls hundreds of thousands of bicycles and parts after receiving reports of defects and injuries.

Here are a few recent bicycle and equipment recalls from the CPSC:

Recalled Bicycles. Some 91,000 Bridgeway Bicycles were recalled in September 2011 because of a defective bicycle chain which can break, causing the rider to lose control and fall. The CPSC received 11 incident reports, including injuries, lacerations and contusions. Read more.

Children Bicycle Seats and Trailers. Two of the largest bicycle-related recalls involve defective children’s equipment. Topeak Babyseat II Bicycle Carrier Seats were recalled in April 2012 after two reports of near amputations and crushed fingers. When a child is lifted out of the seat, their fingers can get caught in a defective hinge mechanism. The product recall affected 30,400 consumers. Read more.

In January 2012, 44,000 Chariot bicycle trailers and 70,000 trailer conversion kits were recalled after 24 incident reports around the world, including three in the U.S. The trailer’s hitch mechanism can crack and break, causing the trailer to detach from the bicycle. Read more.

Helmets. Little Tricky Bicycle Helmets recalled 30,400 bicycle helmets in January 2012. Product testing demonstrated the helmets did not comply with CPSC safety standards for impact resistance. Read more.

Click for a full list of recent bicycle-related recalls from the CPSC.
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knee-xray-200.jpgConsumer Reports is stepping into the debate about the medical device approval process, recommending that the Food and Drug Administration require more rigorous testing to prevent defective medical devices from going to market.

The magazine and its advocacy arm Consumers Union wants the FDA to require implants and other medical devices undergo testing to prove they are safe and effective. The FDA began classifying medical devices into three categories in 1976 and stated manufacturers would be required to show clinical data before approval of Class III products, the most at-risk category.

But the FDA routinely clears new medical devices under a process known as 510, in which manufacturers are required to bypass clinical testing if they can show a device is “substantially equivalent” to another device already on the market.

Consumers Reports is calling on Congress to require testing as part of the FDA’s approval process for medical devices. Next, it wants the practice of “grandfathering” high-risk implants stopped. Finally, the organizations seek an improvement to the system for notifying patients of medical device failures.

Currently, the system largely relies on physicians who are supposed to notify patients, but this is a problem when doctors stop practicing.

Without changes to the system, Consumer Reports said patients cannot properly protect themselves.

The magazine highlighted three types of defective medical devices which have caused injuries in recent years:

Surgical Mesh: This device was approved several years ago based on its relationship to a product used in the 1950s, even though the two products were inserted differently and treated different areas of the body. The FDA refused calls to recall surgical mesh, but in January ordered 33 companies to conduct the first-ever post-market safety studies of the product. The FDA is also considering reclassifying surgical mesh into a Class III category.

The Consumer Reports article shares the story of a 54-year-old woman who has undergone eight surgeries to correct her transvaginal mesh complications.

Artificial All-Metal Hips: DePuy Orthopedics recalled its ASR XL all-metal hip implant in 2010 after the FDA received about 400 complaints in two years from patients. The two metal parts were rubbing against each other, breaking and spreading metal particles into the blood stream. Injury reports about all-metal hip implants grew after that, with the FDA receiving more than 5,000 reports about hip implants in the first six months of 2011, according to a New York Times article. DePuy hip implants was estimated to account for 75 percent of those injury reports.

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