Products Liability

June 2016

The dangers of furniture tip-overs to children

By | June 29th, 2016|Products Liability|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Products Liability on Wednesday, June 29, 2016. If you have children, you know that once they start walking, there's no keeping up with them. They love to explore. That includes opening drawers and climbing on top of furniture. Unfortunately, that can lead to serious injuries and death. On average, every two weeks a child is killed by a falling piece of furniture, a television or an appliance. Even furniture intended for children's bedrooms can be dangerous. Just this week, IKEA announced that it was recalling about 29 million of its "Malm" series chests and dressers after they were linked to the deaths of three children in less than three years. The furniture giant's USA president is telling customers to "take them out of the room" until or unless they properly anchor them to the wall. The company is providing free kits to anchor the furniture. The mother of a two-year-old boy who was crushed to death when an IKEA dresser fell over on him has sued the company. Anchoring furniture in order to prevent injuries and deaths has been a focus of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Its "Anchor It!" public education campaign warns parents of the dangers of unsecured furniture, televisions and appliances, which can cause catastrophic injuries in seconds. Besides properly securing furniture to the wall, the CPSC advises mounting your flat screen televisions to the wall instead of placing them on a table or other piece of furniture. If you still have one of the older CRT televisions in your home, anchor it to a TV stand or wall. Don't place it on a surface not designed to hold a TV. New furniture is often sold with anti-tip brackets. If you have young children in your house, you should secure the furniture as soon as you move it in or set it up, carefully following the directions. Another piece of advice from the CPSC is to minimize the temptation for children to climb on tall furniture by not placing objects on top. Of course, toys are tempting, but a remote control can be fascinating to a toddler as well. When a child is injured or killed in a tip-over accident, it may be wise to find out what your legal options are. While no legal action can bring back a child, it can help hold the manufacturer accountable and call attention to a [...]

May 2016

E-cigarettes are attractive — and dangerous — to children

By | May 20th, 2016|Products Liability|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Products Liability on Friday, May 20, 2016. Electronic cigarettes, more popularly known as e-cigarettes, have become an increasingly popular alternative to traditional cigarettes. However, they are not without their own dangers -- particularly when young children get ahold of them. E-cigarettes convert liquid nicotine into an inhalable vapor. The nicotine in the battery-operated devices can harm children if they touch, inhale or swallow it. The nicotine, which is flavored, can be attractive to young children, as can the colorful packaging. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that adults call a local poison center if their child has been exposed to an e-cigarette. Indeed, calls to poison centers involving such exposure have increased in recent years. The effects on children generally involve jittery behavior and vomiting and usually these symptoms subside within a couple of hours. However, in rare cases, children have had to be hospitalized with more severe complications such as breathing problems, seizures and comas. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is looking at increasing restrictions on e-cigarettes. Proposed regulations include making the packaging more child-resistant and adding nicotine exposure warnings. Pediatricians have also expressed concern about the dangers of e-cigarettes in the hands of children. They have called for more warnings to parents about keeping them where children can't see or reach them. One doctor at Texas Children's Hospital says, "If you use these products, you need to treat them as medication or toxins and keep them closed, locked and out of reach of children." A physician at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio called the problem of e-cigarette poisoning in children "an epidemic by any definition." If your child has been harmed by exposure to an e-cigarette, it may be worthwhile to find out what your legal options are. Source: Peoria Journal-Star, "E-cigarette poisonings surge in young children, study says," Lindsey Tanner, AP, May 09, 2016

April 2016

U.S. consumer product safety laws apply to U.S. and non-U.S. companies alike

By | April 4th, 2016|Products Liability|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Products Liability on Monday, April 4, 2016. U.S. consumers expect that the products they purchase have been tested and deemed safe by manufacturers and federal regulatory agencies. In the event that a product is found by a maker or manufacturer to be defective or dangerous in any way, the problem must be reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission which then takes steps to investigate the claims. The safety and very lives of U.S. consumers depend upon adherence to and compliance with this process and U.S. consumer product safety laws. These same safety regulations must be followed by foreign product makers and manufacturers that wish to market and sell their products in the U.S. either directly or via U.S. retailers. This issue is one that is central to a $15 million civil penalty that was recently issued by the CPSC against the Chinese company Gree Electric Appliances Inc. According to ABC News story, from 2005 to 2013, Gree Electric Appliances Inc. sold its appliance products "under 13 different brands" at popular online and in-store retailers. During this time period, the company received reports from consumers that the dehumidifiers were smoking, sparking and even catching fire. According to the CPSC, an estimated $4.5 million in property damage resulted from the faulty dehumidifiers. Equally, if not more, troubling was Gree's response to the complaints. According to the CPSC, the Chinese company failed to notify the agency of any complaints or potential defects and instead "continued to sell the dehumidifiers with the known defect." What's more, after the CPSC got wind of and began investigating the consumer complaints, Gree attempted to downplay the product's dangers and "also then quietly changed the product to make it safer, again without notifying U.S. safety officials." Recalls for the dehumidifiers were finally issued in 2013 and 2014. The sizable civil fine issued by CPSC is meant in part to send a message to both U.S. and non-U.S. makers of consumer products that there will be serious repercussions for companies that fail to comply with U.S. consumer safety regulations. Source: ABC News, "US: Appliance Co. Lied About Dangerous, Fiery Defect," Cindy Galli, March 25, 2016

January 2016

Defective product: December crash causes 9th Takata fatality

By | January 25th, 2016|Products Liability|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Products Liability on Monday, January 25, 2016. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of Takata air bag inflators that had been recalled nationwide, including in Connecticut, is approximately 23 million. Now, following one more driver's death in another state, an additional five million vehicles are being recalled. NHTSA says it expects the number of recalls to continue increasing, as it believes many millions of cars on U.S. roads with Takata airbags have not yet been recalled. This is said to be the biggest recall of a defective product in U.S. history. The most recent fatality -- the ninth in the U.S. to be linked to Takata -- occurred when a driver in a 2006 Ford Ranger pickup truck ran off the road when he swerved to avoid an obstruction in the road. He then hit another obstacle, and the air bag inflator malfunctioned, causing the bag to explode. NHTSA investigators launched an investigation after learning about the accident from the attorney of the deceased man's family. It was determined that although the air bag inflator was a Takata product, it was different to those used in the other recalled vehicles. This is the reason for the additional five million vehicles that may now be recalled. However, an exact number cannot be provided, as the recalled models may overlap with some already recalled vehicles. NHTSA investigators said the December crash was similar to others that happened at relatively low speeds and that would not typically lead to fatalities. Connecticut residents who have lost a loved one in an accident in which a defective product caused the death of the person retain the right to take legal action against the responsible parties. They may pursue financial relief by filing a wrongful death claim in a civil court. Many people are hesitant to take on big businesses in litigation, but with the support and guidance of an experienced product liability attorney, a monetary judgment may be obtained. Once negligence is established, the court will consider all documented financial and emotional losses. Source: ctpost.com, "Gov't: 10th death linked to exploding Takata air bags", Joan Lowy, Jan. 22, 2016

October 2015

Are your child’s products and toys safe?

By | October 16th, 2015|Products Liability|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Products Liability on Friday, October 16, 2015. When most Connecticut residents look around their homes and think about the sheer number of products they own and use on a daily basis, it’s fairly amazing. From the shampoo you use to wash our hair with in the morning to the car you drive to work, all of the products we use have undergone extensive testing to ensure that they are effective and safe. U.S. consumer product safety laws exist to ensure that the products we purchase and use have been tested and declared safe for use. However, despite laws like the Consumer Product Safety Act and Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, annually thousands of U.S. products are recalled due to reported defects and safety concerns. While it's imperative that product manufacturers and regulatory agencies ensure that all products that are marketed and sold to U.S. consumers are safe, this is especially true of children's toys and products. Not only must a children's toy or product work as intended, but it must also be able to endure the varied and often unorthodox ways a baby or child uses them. For example, a toy rattle must not only live up to the products claims of being colorful and making stimulating sounds, but must also be safe for a baby to chew and slobber on and sturdy enough to endure a baby pounding it against a hard surface. Unfortunately, some products that are made for and marketed towards babies, children and parents prove to be unsafe and result in unintended injuries and deaths. From tainted baby food to defective baby slings, parents who have a child that suffers injury due to a defective product may choose to take legal action. Source: FindLaw.com, "Dangerous Baby & Kids' Products," Oct. 13, 2015

September 2015

When injuries result from a dangerous and defective product

By | September 1st, 2015|Products Liability|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Products Liability on Tuesday, September 1, 2015. When the average U.S. resident stops and thinks about the sheer number of products with which he or she interacts and engages on a daily basis, it can be mind-boggling. From the products we use to the foods we eat to the toys we give our children and the cars we drive; it's imperative that the products we purchase and use are safe and free of defects and hazards. Unfortunately, annually thousands of foods, drugs, motor vehicles and other products that millions of Americans purchase and use are deemed to be defective and recalled. In cases where an individual suffers harm or injury due to a defective product, it's important to contact an attorney who can help assess one's case and assist in the recovery of compensation and damages. Legally, a product that is sold must "meet the ordinary expectations of the consumer." If a product is deemed to be defective or dangerous, this expectation is not met. When the use of a dangerous or defective product causes an individual to suffer injury, legal action may be enacted based upon state laws as they relate to "negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty." Product liability cases are often complex in that various parties may be cited as contributing to a product being defective or dangerous. The product development cycle involves many steps, processes and parties including those responsible for a product's design, manufacture and marketing. For individuals who have suffered injuries due a product that is believed to be defective and dangerous, there are numerous factors that must be investigated and considered including the type of product, intended use and existence of disclaimers. In Connecticut, residents who wish to learn more about or pursue a product liability case can contact attorney Paul J. Ganim at Ganim Legal, P.C.

July 2015

Lawsuit asserts BMW knew about power loss auto defect

By | July 7th, 2015|Products Liability|

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Products Liability on Tuesday, July 7, 2015. The German automobile brand known as BMW is synonymous with luxury and speed. While BMW models frequently grace the lists of top motor vehicle performers, the auto maker is currently facing questions about the safety of potentially hundreds of thousands of its vehicles. Earlier this month, a Connecticut man filed a lawsuit against BMW in which he asserts that a defect in some BMW vehicles can cause the cars' electronics systems to short out, thereby rendering the vehicles without power. This most recent lawsuit follows numerous reports and complaints from BMW owners who unexpectedly experienced total loss of power while operating their BMW vehicles. The vehicles are said to lose power when moisture from the sunroof drainage system leaks into a vehicle’s trunk. In those models affected, the key electronics operating systems are located under the spare tire compartment in the trunk. When exposed to moisture, these poorly designed and defective auto parts and systems short out and stop working. In addition to calling upon BMW to assume financial responsibility to fix problems caused by this defective auto design, the Connecticut man is also calling upon the auto maker to admit it failed to inform BMW owners of the existence of and dangers caused by the defect. Auto makers and manufacturers who fail to take steps to address poorly designed and defective auto systems may be responsible for the injuries and deaths of numerous drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Individuals who believe they have been adversely impacted due to an auto defect can benefit from the advice and assistance of an attorney. Source: Forbes, "Will BMW Pay $800 Million To Fix Cause Of Sudden Engine Failure?," Peter Cohan, June 29, 2015