Articles Posted in Defective Products

You might remember a product liability case when talked about back in August concerning the fatal acceleration of a Toyota Camry. The victim, Noriko Uno, 66, died after her 2006 Toyota Camry suddenly accelerated to speeds of more than 100 miles per hour and struck a tree and a telephone pole, according to an article in CNN News. Uno’s family filed a claim against Toyota, arguing that there was a defect in the Camry’s design and that the company should have installed a brake override system. News agencies quickly picked up the story and deemed the lawsuit a “bellwether” case that was likely to influence similar claims arising throughout the country. However, in mid-October, a California jury in the Los Angeles Superior Court returned a verdict in favor of Toyota.

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At the time, Toyota too emphasized that Uno’s suit was a “bellwether,” explaining that the verdict in the company’s favor would “set a significant benchmark that its vehicles are safe with or without a brake override system,” according to CNN News. In a statement on Toyota’s website, the company highlighted its win: “We are gratified that the jury concluded the design of the 2006 Camry did not contribute to this unfortunate accident.” Toyota went on to depict the verdict as an affirmation “that there was nothing wrong with the vehicle at issue in this case.”

As you might remember from our previous post, consumers began complaining about a problem with the Toyota Camry model that caused sudden acceleration. The problem, according to the Los Angeles Times, concerned an electronic throttle system in the vehicles. Despite the loss in California, however, a recent jury verdict in favor of two Oklahoma plaintiffs suggests that Toyota might have to pay more settlements than it initially thought.

Do you own a Honda? You’ll want to know about the Honda recalls for many of the automaker’s popular vehicle models this year. Earlier this year, Honda recalled about 44,000 of its 2012-13 Honda Fit Sport models when the company discovered that the electronic stability control in these cars “may not stop a skid as quickly as it should,” reported the New York Times. Honda calls this defective system the Vehicle Stability Assist, and as of this summer, the automaker recalled an additional 48,000 2012-13 models of the car. As a result, this product liability issue now involves the recall of nearly 100,000 Honda Fit vehicles.

While the company hasn’t reported any injuries as a result of the problems with the Vehicle Stability Assist, a defect in any automobile can cause serious consequences on the road. When we buy products such as motor vehicles, we expect them to be safe and free of defects. Under product liability law in California, victims who have been injured as the result of a defective product, such a specific system in a car, may be eligible for compensation. The injury attorneys at the Walton Law Firm have extensive experience dealing with product liability claims. If you have been injured as a result of the Honda recall or any other motor vehicle recall, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney today.

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What is Electronic Stability Control?

Should Toyota Motor Corporation be held liable for the sudden acceleration that drivers experienced in its vehicles? Drivers across the United States claimed that sudden acceleration in Toyota motor vehicles was a serious problem. As a result, Toyota issued a massive recall, and it dealt with significant settlements and lawsuits across the country. Now, a case is set to begin in southern California, according to NBC Los Angeles.

When consumers buy a product, they expect it to be safe. Consumers should never have to worry about product defects. When a motor vehicle is defective, however, it can cause serious harm to the driver and to other passengers. Toyota is one of many vehicle manufacturers who has faced product liability lawsuits over the past several years and has been forced to issue vehicle recalls as a result of defective parts.

Toyota Product Defect Litigation in California Court

Are you currently driving a BMW along the highways of Southern California? If so, you will want to read the following closely. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times reported that BMW is issuing a recall for over 500,000 vehicles in the United States for an issue that can result in car accidents.

Who is Affected By the Recall?

If you currently drive a BMW, it’s important to know which models have been recalled. At the top of the recall list is the company’s most popular vehicle, the 3 Series Sedan. Last year, this model “dominated the small luxury car market,” with nearly 100,000 purchased in the U.S. in 2012 alone. In addition to the 3 Series Sedans, the recall also includes wagons, convertibles, and coupes from 2007-2011 model years, 1 Series coupes and convertibles from 2008-2012 model years, and the Z4 from 2009-2011 model years.

Backyard%20fire.jpgA backyard Fourth of July party on 24th Street in Del Mar turned tragic yesterday when three party-goers suffered serious burn injuries in an incident involving a what is being described as a sterno-style lamp or lantern. The details are currently sketchy, but firefighters are reporting that the lamp fell on a woman, dousing her with a flammable material, which was set aflame. Two friends and/or relatives standing nearby attempted to help, and also suffered burns.

One news outlet is reporting that one victim suffered burns from “head to toe,” but that has not been confirmed. It is currently being reported, however, that two of the victims are in critical condition at UCSD Medical Center.

While there has been no reporting of what kind of lamp or lantern caused this unfortunate accident, it’s difficult to imagine how a standard store bought outdoor Sterno or kerosene lamp could cause such serious harm. If the lamp was defective in anyway (even if used incorrectly) it could expose the lamp’s manufacturer to a product liability lawsuit.

A California products liability case against the manufacturer of a popular hair product came to a close in a settlement with the California Attorney General’s office this week. GIB, LLC is a California-based company that manufactures Brazilian Blowout, a hair salon product that straightens and smoothes otherwise curly hair. According to report in Fox News, Brazilian Blowout has been one of the top choices for many women seeking to straighten their hair quickly and efficiently, without the long process of daily straightening with a flat iron or hair dryer. The Brazilian Blowout solution is applied and, when combined with heat, smoothes and straightens the hair.

Unfortunately, San Diego injury lawyer has learned that the Attorney General’s case has exposed some major health concerns with the product. In particular, because of the chemical formaldehyde contained in Brazilian Blowout, there is a possibility of a carcinogenic effect, which essentially means that the product has the potential to cause cancer. This risk applies to both the person receiving the hair treatment and the hair stylist administering it. It is therefore very important to ensure that consumers have all the facts before they decide whether or not to use it. Formaldehyde emits a gas, which can also cause irritation of the skin, eyes, and lungs. Brazilian_Blowout.jpg

Among the allegations lodged against GBI by the state was a claim of deceptive advertising stemming from the fact that GBI had labeled its products as “formaldehyde-free” when certain formulations of Brazilian Blowout, in fact, did contain the chemical. As part of their consumer safety lawsuit settlement, GBI has agreed to remove the false claims that the product is formaldehyde-free from the labels and to add a warning regarding the possible cancer-causing effects. In addition to the label changes, GBI will pay $600,000 in civil money penalties for failing to properly warn consumers of the risks of irritation and cancer and for not having the products properly tested prior to marketing them in the United States. Brazilian Blowout had previously been sold in Brazil where labeling requirements are likely different than those imposed in the U.S. The company will also provide literature to salons that use Brazilian Blowout in order to educate them as to all the risks and how to protect against them.

It’s January, and many of us are hard at work making changes in our lives to kick off the new year. Of course, one of the time-tests favorite resolutions is to improve physical fitness and get in shape. Many different methods are often employed to lose weight and get fit. The most popular options are almost always those that seem both fun and easy. For example, one supposedly easy way to get in shape that has captured public attention over the last few years is a new kind of shoes called Shape-Ups. Shape-Ups are manufactured by Skechers. They are claimed to boast a revolutionary new design that works muscles all over the lower body, helping wearers tone up and get a real workout just by walking around. shape%20ups.jpg

However, a San Diego personal injury law firm has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of 37 people who claim that they were injured as a result of wearing the shoes. The types of injuries suffered vary, with some plaintiffs complaining of twisted or sprained ankles and torn ligaments, while others have suffered falls and broken hips while wearing the shoes. The design of the shoe differs from regular athletic shoes in that rather than being relatively flat on the bottom it has a bulging base that rolls the foot as the wearer walks.

The plaintiffs are alleging fraud, negligence, and other claims against Skechers. According to ABC 10 News out of San Diego, although the company did not comment on this lawsuit specifically, Skechers did previously release a statement in which the company said, “Millions of people wear Shape-Ups without experiencing (serious injuries).” However, according to the California personal injury lawyer who is representing the class of plaintiffs, there has been no indication thus far that Skechers conducted safety testing of the shoes prior to their release on the market.

San Diego surfing injuries occur with some frequency because of the large numbers of people who flock to the beach whenever there is a good opportunity to catch a few waves. Most of them will tell you that when it comes to riding a wave, “bigger is always better.” However, the higher the waves, the greater the chance of injury to the surfer. Common surfer injuries include back and neck injuries suffered as a result of “wiping out” and colliding with the ocean floor, muscle strains from the physical exertion of surfing, and minor cuts and bruises, which are usually caused by either the sharper ends of a surfboard or being carried forcefully along the ocean floor by waves and currents.

Although surfboard injuries can involve lacerations, including those caused by the sharp edges of a surfboard, these lacerations are typically not severe enough to cause long-term or permanent damage. However, according to an L.A. Times article, that was allegedly not the case for a surfer by the name of Tom Gregg. Mr. Gregg recently filed a California products liability lawsuit against Channel Islands Surfboards, a company that manufactures and markets surfboards. The lawsuit alleges that a Channel Islands surfboard caused a laceration to Gregg’s leg that was so severe it cut through several layers of tissue and muscle and resulted in permanent muscle damage. surfer.jpg

In a California products liability lawsuit such as this one, where the allegations point to a defect in design, the plaintiff must prove that the product’s manufacturer designed the product in such a way that it would be unreasonably dangerous when used in reasonably foreseeable ways. In Gregg’s case, his use of the surfboard was obviously foreseeable since he was using it as intended by the manufacturer, so the major question in his case will be whether the design of the surfboard, with its sharp edges, will be found to be unreasonably dangerous. Channel Islands will no doubt try to point to the fact that common surfing injuries do include lacerations from the sharp edges of surfboards, but Gregg will emphasize the unusual severity of his injury and the fact that the cut to his leg was so deep that it caused permanent damage to his muscles.

elevator.gifOn October 20, 2006, Andy Polakowski, a freshman at Ohio State, was in the dorm elevator with 23 other students when it stopped on the third floor. As Andy tried to step off the elevator, it suddenly descended, pinning him between the ceiling of the elevator and the third floor. Tragically, he was pinned in the torso area, and died almost immediately. He was only 18 and left behind his parents and three sisters.

As a result of his death, Andy’s parents brought a wrongful death lawsuit against Ohio State alleging that the school was negligent in the inspection and maintenance of the elevator, creating the conditions that allowed the brakes to fail, and killing Andy. The university, in turn, filed cross complaints against several companies involved in the installation and maintenance of the subject elevator. According to reports, inspection of the elevator revealed that it had a faulty brake, an inadequate counterweight, and no overloading alarm system. It also didn’t have a safety device to prevent sudden descents, something that is apparently required on modern elevators.

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Pogo.jpg It was announced yesterday by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission that a voluntary recall of Pogo Sticks made by Bravo Sports of Santa Fe Springs, California. According to the recall alert, the bottom of the pogo stick frame is prone to breaking apart; causing the pin that holds the bouncing spring to break off. When this happens, the pogo becomes a hazardous fall risk, and the spring a laceration hazard. Consumers should stop using the pogo sticks until it is confirmed that it is not involved in the recall.

Apparently Bravo Sports has received over 100 reports of breaking incidents involving the pogo sticks, nine of which apparently caused injury. One of the reported cases involved the facial laceration of a child, and two others who suffered facial injuries.

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