Articles Posted in Defective Products

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A $7 safety device on a truck’s dump-bed kit made by Heil Co. would have prevented a man’s death, but the company didn’t include it on the product and failed to warn of the dangers of the product despite the fact that the safety device had been in use on similar products for 60 years. These facts led a jury to conclude that the widow of an Ohio man killed by the product should receive $6 Million. The accident occurred when the man accidentally hit a control valve on the outside of his 1978 Ford truck, causing the dump-bed to silently lower and trap him against the frame of the truck within 4 seconds.

Heil Company alleged that the dead man was at fault for the accident because he failed to brace the bed while performing maintenance on the truck. After the jury verdict was received, Heil Co. appealed the case arguing that the evidence in the case didn’t support the verdict. The appeals court rejected the appeal and upheld the verdict, in part because the company waived many of the objections raised in the appeal by not making them at trial.

This case is consistent with many cases involving defective products in that too often a very cheap addition to the product would have prevented serious injury and even death. Moreover, it is frequently learned during the litigation that companies were aware of the risks, but failed to pass that knowledge on to consumers so that they could protect themselves. While time-consuming and expensive, product liability lawsuits can prevent future injuries and deaths.

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Medtronic, the nation’s largest electronic heart device maker, has agreed to pay $75 million in settlement of 2,000 claims that it hid defects in its defibrillators. A defibrillator is a medical device that is surgically implanted in the chest and, after sensing an abnormal heart rhythm, will send an electrical jolt to correct the abnormal heart beats, which can be life threatening. Defects in the medical device, including battery defects and other glitches, cause the defibrillator to fail and can result in death. There remains time for potential claimants to recover under this settlement and if you have an implanted defibrillatror you should immediately contact an attorney to protect your rights.

Approximately one million Americans have heart conditions that place them at risk for fatal heart rhythms and sudden death. Several studies have concluded that using an implantable defibrillator can reduce the chance of sudden death by around 7%. Medtronic has already recalled around 87,000 defibrilators and surgery was done to replace approximately 19,000 more. There are claims that Medtronic attempted to hide the defects in its product, which it became aware of as early as September 2003. Another company, Guidant, has also recalled over 100,000 defibrillators and documents indicate that Guidant also knew of the problems in 2002. Guidant previously settled its claims for $195 million.

If you know someone who died while they had a implantable defibrillator in place, it is critical that you immediely contact an attorney because your time to file a lawsuit is very limited. Additionally, if you currently have an implanted Medtronic defibrillator, you should contact an attorney to learn if you are eligible to participate in this recent settlement.

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A defective Sesame Beginnings Travel Play Yard caused the death of a 10 month old boy, leading manufacturer Kolcraft Enterprises, Inc. to recall more than 400,000 playpens (often called a “pack and play” by modern parents). Each year, dangerous products cause injury and death to hundreds of thousands of Americans. For instance, in 2005, toys alone caused injury to more than 200,000 children and led to the death of 20 children. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is a government agency that monitors dangerous products and recalls products when necessary. Unfortunately, by the time the Commission is aware of the dangerousness of a product and issues a recall, the product has already caused injury or death to one or more people.

For instance, the Kolcraft playpens were recalled after a 10 month old baby died from being strangled by a strap that hangs from a changing table that fits on top of the play yard. In this instance, the recall applies not only to the Sesame Beginnings model in which the baby died, but to 12 other playpen models sold in the United States between January 2001 and September, 2007 at a cost of $50 – $130. One of the recalled models, the Contours 3-in-1 Play Yard, poses a risk of suffocation in that a raised rocking cradel in the device can trap a baby if the cradle rolls over.

About 2500 products are recalled each year. If you want to receive warnings about products and recall notices, you can subscribe to receive emails from the Commission when a recall is placed on a product. In my opinion, one of the best features of the subscription service is that you can specify what types of product recalls you want to be notified about. I, for instance, only receive recalls that involve infant and children’s products, but there are about a half-dozen categories from which you can choose.

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