Articles Posted in Products Liability

As drivers and passengers, we count on airbags to protect us in the event of a collision. Few people would think that these airbags could actually be the source of trauma and pain. Unfortunately, this is exactly what’s happening with airbags produced by Takata. Typically found in Hondas, these airbags are incredibly dangerous and explosive. In one case, a 17-year-old girl lost her life due to this faulty product.

The Case

Huma Hanif was killed on March 31 after her Civic was in an accident. The airbag inflated like it was supposed to but not without a metal piece breaking apart and causing her fatal injuries. This is in-line with the reported explosions happening in the metal canisters that are part of the Takata airbag make up. Grieving for their loss, her family filed a lawsuit against Takata, the car dealer they purchased the Civic from, and Honda. All three have recently settled the case with her family outside of court. The settlements were for an undisclosed amount, as is common in these types of cases. Due to this incredibly tragic event her family will mourn their loss for the rest of their lives. Money can’t bring her back, but the settlement can ease any financial burdens caused by this loss.

The November 22 Tennessee bus accident which left 6 children dead and critically injured 23 more has impacted every family within the state. Now, families of the children who lost their lives have discovered they can receive no more than $750,000 in personal damages.

Modifications to the Tennessee tort reform law in 2011 limited payouts in any personal injury claim against doctors and other relevant businesses. This law, says Tennessee bus accident lawyers, will likely apply to the families considering a civil lawsuit against the Durham School Services and district. The driver of the bus, 24 year old Johnthony Walker, lost control crashing into a tree and telephone pole. Chattanooga police have said Mr. Walker has been charged with six counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving.

The recent bus crash in Tennessee has once again renewed the debate about whether or not school buses should be fitted with seat belts. Regardless of such accidents being uncommon, the U.S. government’s top safety regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has spoken out saying all school busses should have seat belts. California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas all have laws which mandate seat belts on school buses; Tennessee is not yet one of these. Furthermore, 17 states have introduced seat belt bills, but none has passed. This could be attributed to the price figure estimate of $7,000 – $10,000 per bus. With over 480,000 public school buses on the road, carrying over 25 million children, these costs could exceed the billion dollar mark. After the collision, many people are hoping for a federal mandate.

Most recently, NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind said “We know that seat belts will save lives if we put one for every kid on every school bus.”  However, in the past, the same association, along with the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) has said they’re not convinced seat belts would increase safety. Likewise, The National PTA and The American Academy of Pediatrics have remained in favor of all school buses being fitted with seat belts for children. Both have voiced concerns that the message of “buckle up for safety” should remain consistent across all vehicles both private and public. Donald Carnahan, NAPT President, counters the statement by saying “Seat belts in cars and lap belts on school buses are completely different safety issues.”

The National Coalition for Seatbelts on School Buses, an advocacy organization, has noted several reasons to take the precautionary measure; some of which may include:

Deborah Giannecchini, 62, had been using J&Js’ baby talcum powder as feminine hygiene for 4 decades. However, in 2012 she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and claimed the baby powder was the cause. After hiring a talcum powder lawyer, a lawsuit was filed for compensatory damages due to negligence, and a recommendation for the company to have to attach warnings onto the product.

Only recently, the jury sitting of Mrs. Giannecchinis’ case, ruled in her favor. Her award settlement totaled $70 million; $65 million in punitive damages from J&J with a further $2.5 million for medical costs, pain and suffering. J&Js co-defendant Imerys Talc America, and supplier of the talc, are also required to pay $2.5 million to her. Johnson & Johnson says they sympathize with Mrs. Giannecchini’s situation; however, they went on to say “We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”

Many people have started smoking electronic cigarettes because they are supposedly better for you and the environment. Although there is still controversy surrounding the issue of whether or not they are safer for you.  Now, some people have experienced serious injuries when the device has exploded while they were using it.

According to lawsuits in several different states, there are claims that allege device makers sold defective products. One attorney,Marc Freund,  told The Wall Street Journal that “It’s an issue of the batteries being unregulated and manufactured haphazardly with poor warnings that never get down to the consumer.” Freund represents a teenager who suffered partial blindness from an exploding e-cig and a woman who suffered third-degree burns when a device exploded in her pocket.

Nashville Attorneys, The Higgins Firm, are closely looking into Abilify lawsuits and claims which have raised concern amongst professionals after a number of people were said to have developed a gambling disorder, diabetes or other potentially harmful uncontrollable urges while taking the drug. These urges, the Abilify lawyers go on to say, appeared to have ceased once the medication was discontinued.

The antipsychotic drug Abilify, also known as aripiprazole, is manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Lawsuits against these companies state that they failed to provide sufficient warnings on the label of the drug and neglected to properly educate the prescribing doctors of Abilify’s’ side effects.

In this case, Andrew Yount grew breasts after taking Risperdal since he was five. He was awarded 70 million in damages for physical disfigurement and emotional distress by a jury in Philadelphia. The award is 28 times greater than the highest jury verdict previously decided against Janssen, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, in Philadelphia-based Risperdal litigation. That former highest verdict award was $2.5 million.

Austin Pledger, who was prescribed Risperdal in 2002 as a teenager for treatment of mood swings related to his autism, developed size 46 DD breasts, allegedly as a result of taking the drug.

Like Yount, Pledger asserted Janssen did not disclose or properly warn of such side effects before he was prescribed Risperdal. A Philadelphia jury awarded Pledger $2.5 million in February of last year. Only one case thus far, featuring Pennsylvania plaintiff William Cirba, has ended with a ruling in Janssen’s favor.

Gloria Ristesund used Johnson & Johnson’s talc powder products on her genitals for years and she was later diagnosed with ovarian cancer as a result. She had to have a hysterectomy and several other surgeries because of the cancer. The cancer is now in remission. Ristesund was awarded awarded $5 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages for Johnson & Johnson’s failure to properly warn consumers about the cancer risks associated with talc powder.

J&J spokeswoman Carol Goodrich stated that the verdict contradicted 30 years of research supporting the safety of cosmetic talc. The company intends to appeal and will keep defending its products’ safety.  This is however, the second trial loss for Johnson & Johnson over their talc powder products. The company is facing one thousand two hundred lawsuits that allege the company failed to properly warn people about these cancer risks.

In this case, General Motors is recalling an estimated two hundred thousand Saab and Saturn cars in the U.S. and Canada to replace the Takata driver’s air bag inflators. The Takata air bag inflators have been known to explode with too much force in a crash and hurl metal shrapnel into drivers and passengers. So far at least ten people have died worldwide and one hundred and thirty-nine have been hurt due to the problem. The recall includes the Saab 9-3 from 2003 to 2011 and the Saab 9-5 from 2010 and 2011 as well as the Saturn Astra from 2008 and 2009. This recall is part of a bigger recall of about 5.4 million vehicles announced last month by U.S. safety regulators.

As of right now, General Motors has no plans to offer loaner cars to people who don’t want to drive their vehicles, according to their spokesman Tom Wilkinson . Tom Wikinason also stated that, “The type of Takata inflators in the GM cars ruptured only in testing and not in the field. Our position is you can continue to drive the cars as normal until repairs are made.” The spokesman for General Motors went on to state that, “The Saab models under recall were sold in other markets including Europe, while the Astra was sold as an Opel in Europe and elsewhere. General Motors global safety team is reviewing data on the inflators in other markets and will respond appropriately.”  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the most recent of Takata recalls on January 22nd after the death of a man when an inflator ruptured on a 2006 Ford Ranger, and when testing showed four ruptures on a different type of Takata inflator.

The latest round of recalls covers vehicles made by GM, Ford, BMW, Volkswagen, Honda,Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and Daimler Trucks. They bring to about 24.4 million the number of vehicles under recall in the U.S. for Takata air bag problems, affecting fourteen car and truck makers. It’s already the largest automotive recall in U.S. history, and the government expects it to grow. Worldwide, about fifty million inflators are under recall.

Deane Berg’s doctor called her the day after Christmas in 2006 to tell her the news of her cancer diagnosis. She had her ovaries removed and the results came back Deane Berg had stage three ovarian cancer and her prognosis was poor. She had twenty-five years of experience has a physician’s assistant but knew almost nothing about ovarian cancer. When she looked up the risks, she had only one; regular use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene.

Berg learned that since the early 1980s, several studies had discovered that women who regularly used talc powder for feminine hygiene had higher than average rates of ovarian cancer. Yet the evidence which fell short of proving that it caused the cancer, was mostly confined to medical journals and had barely been made known to the public. For millions of women including Berg using powder on the the genitals or underwear was a daily ritual, like brushing teeth. Since her teens, Berg had used Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, another Johnson & Johnson powder marketed to women. “A sprinkle a day keeps odor away,” the ads stated. “Your body perspires in more places than just under your arms.”

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