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Product Liability Archives

Final Tally of Auto Recalls Announced

By June of last year, it became clear that the total number of vehicles recalled in 2014 would be an all-time record. The final tally is in and just shy of 64 million vehicles were recalled for safety defects, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The number of vehicles recalled last year was greater than the sum of 2013, 2012 and 2011 recalls. The massive increase led to calls from NHTSA leadership that more resources and more authority were needed to keep auto makers and the makers of automobile products in line.

New Child Car Seat Information Available to Parents

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children be placed in car seats until at least the age of 5. All children less than 57 inches tall should use a car seat or a booster seat. Having your child secured in the right seat, installed in the correct manner, is not always a simple matter. One study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 72 percent of car and booster seats are misused in a way that increases the chances that the child will die in a car accident. The NHTSA recently released a new tool that could help parents address their car seat concerns.

New Legislation Proposed Following Ignition Switch Defect Recall

The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee has announced his intention to propose new auto safety legislation later this year or early next year. The announcement joined several other proposals intended to combat the problems demonstrated by the General Motors ignition switch failures and subsequent recall. The proposal would overhaul the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act, passed in 2000. The TREAD act was originally passed as part of the response to nearly 300 fatalities linked to defective Firestone tires on Ford SUVs.

New Laws For Compounding Pharmacies Following Meningitis Outbreak

The contaminated syringes that led to more than 750 cases of fungal meningitis and 60 fatalities were produced by a compounding pharmacy. Such pharmacies existed largely outside of the regulatory authority of the Food and Drug Administration. The tragic outbreak and massive recall of the contaminated products caused legislators to seek ways of monitoring these types of drug manufacturers. President Barack Obama signed the Drug Quality and Security Act last Wednesday. The bill is intended to help prevent similar problems from occurring in the future.

New FDA Rules Could Protect Medical Device Recipients

For some, receiving a new medical device leads to a vastly improved quality of life. For those who receive defective medical devices, the results can be painful or even fatal. The problems involved with faulty medical devices have long been complicated by the difficulty in identifying which patients received devices that ended up failing. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released new rules that are intended to make it easier to track defective devices and get in touch with patients who have received potentially dangerous implants.

General Motors Recalls Thousands Of Vehicles For Safety Flaws

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that General Motors is recalling 15,575 cars this week. The recalls are based on safety issues that may increase the risk of injury to occupants in the event of a car accident, according to the NHTSA. The recalls include automobiles in the Cadillac, Buick and Chevrolet lines.

Federal Agency Posts Warning About Counterfeit Air Bags

After a crash in which the air bags deploy, vehicles that are still roadworthy require maintenance. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a warning to consumers who have had replacement air bags installed after car crashes over the past three years. The NHTSA has discovered that counterfeit air bags have been installed in some vehicles repaired during that time frame. These air bags may fail to deploy in the event of another accident. In addition, some counterfeit bags have been found to discharge metal shrapnel when they do deploy. The counterfeit air bags have not yet been tied to any injuries or fatalities.

Tort reform and the McDonald's hot coffee incident

Tonight on HBO, an important topic affecting the rights of injured people will receive a different kind of publicity. The documentary drama, Hot Coffee, covers the highly misunderstood product liability case against McDonald's, as well as several other noteworthy cases demonstrating how Americans' access to the civil justice system has changed over recent years. Tort reform is examined with an eye towards the role of the media and corporate America in mischaracterizing how juries and the civil justice system handle situations of personal injury and damage awards.

Supreme Court allows defective seat belt design lawsuit to proceed

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the family of a passenger that was killed in a car accident while wearing a lap-only seat belt could bring a lawsuit against the vehicle manufacturer. The plaintiffs argued that by manufacturing the vehicle without shoulder belts for all passengers, the manufacturer was negligent in its design of the vehicle. The manufacturer, Mazda, argued that the family was barred from bringing a lawsuit because the company had complied with federal seat belt regulations in place at the time the vehicle was made.

Consumer Wins Major Legal Battle Against Prosthetic Hip Manufacturer

In recent years medical device manufacturers have increasingly been using what is known in the industry as "federal preemption" defenses to defeat personal injury lawsuits soon after they are filed. In many of these cases dismissal comes so fast the manufacturer is not even required to produce a single document addressing whether the medical device was made as it should have been.

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