Articles Posted in Product Liability

If you are putting your infant to sleep in an inclined sleeper, you should stop using it and find an alternative.

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Photo courtesy of the Consumer Product Safety Commission

On April 12th, Fisher-Price recalled 4.7 million of their inclined Rock ‘N Play Sleepers, and advised parents to stop using the product immediately. The American Academy of Pediatrics had previously urged the Consumer Product Safety Commission to recall the Fisher-Price Sleeper after a Consumer Reports investigation revealed that it was tied to 32 infant deaths.

building-2560843_1920.jpgApparently, once a medical device gets approved by the FDA to go on the market, it is almost impossible to take it back off, even if the device has proven to be dangerous or even deadly, according to Michael Carome from the public watchdog group Public Citizen. In fact, the FDA has only withdrawn a total of two products from the market, ever.

This incomprehensible situation is proving injurious and even fatal for some women. One group of these women, known as E-Sisters, are women who have been implanted with the permanent contraceptive device called Essure. In 2017 alone, the FDA received 12,000 reports of adverse effects from women with Essure, ranging from bleeding, bloating, and pelvic pain to rashes, tooth loss, joint pain and fatigue associated with an allergic or autoimmune reaction. Madris Tomes, a former FDA analyst, tracked more than 26,000 total adverse reports about Essure, including eight deaths. In addition, there may be as many as 32,000 more complaints made to the manufacturer of Essure that were never officially reported to the FDA.

Shortly after Essure went on the market, independent research began challenging the safety and efficacy of the device. One study found that women who had Essure needed follow-up surgery ten times as often as women who had their tubes tied. And the surgery to fix the problem is not a simple one. In fact most surgeons recommend a hysterectomy as the best way to remove Essure.

Last week a jury in Philadelphia found Johnson & Johnson guilty of designing dangerous pelvic mesh and hit the company with a $20 million verdict for injuries blamed on the dangerous pelvic mesh implant. Transvaginal mesh has also been the subject of lawsuits across the country as these mesh implants have caused pain, bleeding and significant injuries.

What is Surgical Mesh?

Surgical mesh is a medical device that is used to provide extra support when repairing weakened or damaged tissue. Most surgical mesh devices are made from synthetic materials or animal tissue.

boy-1252771_1920.jpgIs your child mesmerized by the new “fidget spinners” being sold almost everywhere as a “stress reliever”?

I must admit that I don’t understand how these gadgets actually reduce stress, but a report out of Texas warns us that the fidget spinners may also be dangerous. More specifically, they may be a choking hazard for children.

Recently, the mother of 10 year old Britton noticed her daughter choking in the back seat of the family’s car. Mom’s quick work to help her daughter, plus the efforts of ER docs at the local hospital, identified the culprit as a bearing from the fidget spinner with which Britton had been playing. The bearing had lodged itself in young Britton’s esophagus.

A St. Louis jury just ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $120 million to a woman who claimed her ovarian cancer had been caused by her 40+ years of the company’s talcum powder products. The most significant part of the award is the $110 million in punitive damages the jury assessed. Obviously, the jury believed the plaintiff’s claims that J&J knew of the cancer risks of its products, but continued to make and sell them anyway, without warning to users.

Many in the public will focus on this part of the award, and decry the “runaway” jury system, believing this kind of money to be a “windfall” to the plaintiff. But a punitive damages award of this size says that the jury–which by law defines what is reasonable, and reckless, behavior in society–was mad at J&J, and wanted to tell the company, and other companies like it, that you cannot treat people this way. You cannot know that your products create serious health risks for your customers, but keep them in the dark about it. And so the jury sent its message in the only terms that J&J and companies like it understand: money. A lot of money.

Will J&J now think twice before it puts a dangerous product on the market? If so, then the jury and its huge punitive damages award has saved lives, and done its job.

Co-authored by Cassidy Carroll of The Collins Law Firm, P.C.

Recently, a Texas jury ordered Audi to pay $124.5 million to an 11-year-old boy who was left brain damaged, partially paralyzed and blinded in his right eye in a 2012 rear-end collision. The verdict is in response to Audi equipping their 2005 Audi A4 with a seat back that was too weak to withstand a rear-end crash.

At the trial, the parents of the boy argued that, despite wearing seatbelts, the inadequate seat back caused the front seat collapse resulting in the driver, the boy’s father, sliding backwards and hitting his head on his son’s head in the back seat. The accident occurred when their car was rear-ended after they stopped for a school bus.

Co-authored by Cassidy Carroll of The Collins Law Firm, P.C.

A little over a week ago, the Missouri Circuit Court announced that Johnson & Johnson-the world’s largest maker of health-care products-must pay $72 million to the family of a woman claiming the company’s talcum powder caused her fatal ovarian cancer. For the first time, monetary compensation was awarded in response to Johnson & Johnson’s failure to warn consumers of the cancer-causing potential of its talcum-based products decades ago.

Currently, Johnson & Johnson is facing 1,200 lawsuits claiming that studies on talcum-based products, such as Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products, have shown a link between talcum and ovarian cancer. In 2013, a North Dakota federal jury found that use of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-based body powder contributed to a woman’s developing ovarian cancer, but awarded no damages.

Co-authored by Jacob Exline of The Collins Law Firm, P.C.

On August 24, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported a recall of 13 different dietary supplements produced by Novacare, LLC due to an undeclared ingredient, salicylic acid, which is harmful to consumers if swallowed. The FDA performed a sample analysis, found the salicyclic acid, and subsequently marked the products as unapproved new drugs. The Novacare products are used to aid in weight loss and are taken orally in capsule form. While the products have not yet been reported to have caused any injuries, they should be immediately returned to the Utah-based company.

Salicylic acid is a drug used to treat skin problems such as pimples. However, if swallowed, it is toxic and harmful to consumers. Salicylic acid can cause nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal irritation, loss of hearing, and sweating as well as severe reactions of blurred vision, mental confusion, cerebral edema and cardiorespiratory arrest (which could be life-threatening). The FDA states that those who are allergic, elderly, have a history of stomach problems, or consume three or more alcoholic drinks a day have a higher risk of toxicity.

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