Articles Posted in Product Liability

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141002-self-driving-car-02f124b0329691bfb4519f2108e0a10427-300x176Toyota, Tesla, Google, and other automakers have promised that driverless cars will revolutionize the personal transportation industry within the next five to ten years. They cannot promise, however, that driverless cars will be immune from accidents.

The death of Joshua Brown, a technology consultant whose autonomous car failed to apply the brakes before colliding with a semitrailer truck, is tragic evidence of these cars’ limitations. In the aftermath of his death, lawmakers are left to answer: Who is responsible when a driverless vehicle accident occurs?
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https://blog.caesarnapoli.com/files/2016/12/102026290-coca-cola-pepsi-soda.1910x1000-300x157.jpgCristin Kearns, a fellow at University of California, San Francisco, recently uncovered documents that reveal decades of deception and bribery in the sugar industry that implicates elite professors and the United States government. These revelations not only shed light on the way corporations wield power in American politics and culture; they also have significant legal ramifications.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys have struggled for years to hold the sugar and sugar-sweetened beverage industries accountable for their misleading advertising, targeting of children, and disproportionate effect on the United States’ obesity epidemic. In case after case, Big Sugar has successfully argued that consumers need to take responsibility for their own nutritional choices, even bad ones.

This report by Ms. Kearns adds a new element to the story: deception.
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trend-gas-tank-fire-300x169Remington Walden, a 4-year-old boy from Georgia, was driving with his aunt on a spring day in 2012 when a pickup truck rammed into the back of their 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Though the pickup truck caused only minor exterior damage to the Jeep, it punctured the vehicle’s fuel tank. Within seconds, Remington Walden, who was fully conscious, was engulfed in flames. He died about a minute later.

Walden’s death was many things: a tragedy, a life taken too soon, and every parent’s worst nightmare. It was not, however, unavoidable. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which manages the Jeep brand, was officially warned on at least three separate occasions that 1993–2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees had a substantial design defect. The fuel tanks were mounted behind the rear axle, an anomaly in the car industry, making them extremely vulnerable in rear-end collisions. When hit even at low speeds, the tanks produced deadly fires.
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airbag-recall-300x169What do BMW, Daimler AG, Fiat, Ford, GM, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Saab, Subaru, Tata Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen have in common?

Aside from comprising some of the most popular and successful automakers in the world, these companies all opted to equip their cars with deadly airbags in order to cut costs.

At least 14 Americans are dead and more than 100 are injured as a result of the defective airbags produced by Japanese automotive supplier Takata Corporation. Over 100 million Takata airbags have been installed in American cars over the last two decades, resulting in what is now the largest auto safety recall in history.
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ap_151005_duodenoscope_800x600-300x225In the five years between January 2010 and October 2015, roughly 350 patients have undergone gastrointestinal procedures with contaminated scopes produced by the Tokyo-based company Olympus Corp. Dozens have died as a result.

The product, called the duodenoscope, is used in 700,000 procedures every year in America alone. Doctors insert the scope into patients’ throats in order to identify and treat health problems in the digestive tract. A design flaw makes the duodenoscope difficult to clean between procedures, allowing the transfer of bacteria from patient to patient. So far, we have seen outbreaks in Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and Denver among other American cities.

The worst part about this story is that Olympus has been aware of its design flaw for years. They chose to ignore it.
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baby-powder-shower-shower-crop-300x270-300x270Jacqueline Fox used Johnson & Johnson products as part of her feminine hygiene routine for 35 years. It wasn’t until her cancer diagnosis 3 years ago that Jacqueline learned of the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer.

Unfortunately, Jacqueline didn’t live long enough to see the result of her lawsuit against the world’s biggest seller of health care products. Her trial ended last week, but Jacqueline passed away from her cancer back in October.

During the trial, Jacqueline’s attorneys produced internal documents proving that Johnson & Johnson executives were aware of the deadly side effects of baby powder and Shower to Shower body powder as early as the 1980s. One memo written by a Johnson & Johnson medical consultant compared the link between the hygienic use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer to the link between smoking cigarettes and cancer.
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Chipotle_Steak_Burrito_2x-300x192It started last July in Seattle, when 5 Chipotle customers reported symptoms of the bacterial infection E. coli.

The following month, 234 people contracted norovirus after eating Chipotle in Simi Valley, California.

Then it was salmonella in Minnesota. 64 infections. 9 hospitalizations.

Then again in Boston. 140 cases of norovirus recorded in December.
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2015-09-23T152148Z_01_SIN71_RTRIDSP_3_USA-VOLKSWAGEN-MANAGEMENTCHANGES-1522-300x200Last fall, Volkswagen admitted to installing illegal software on its diesel vehicles in order to cheat pollution emissions tests, defrauding the purchasers of up to 11 million vehicles worldwide.

CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned in the immediate wake of the scandal, and 9 VW executives were suspended.

The US Justice Department has since launched a lawsuit against the company seeking up to $46 billion under the Clean Air Act, and 47 state attorneys general have opened their own investigations. The Justice Department has not ruled out criminal charges against VW. Continue reading →

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2014-honda-accord-plug-in-hybrid-and-2013-ford-fusion-energi-titanium-inline-1-1-photo-519559-s-original-300x183Buying a car is the second largest purchase most of us will ever make. We choose our cars based on safety ratings, fuel economy, and estimated rates of depreciation—all of which are based on data provided by the manufacturers. We entrust our cars with our lives and the lives of our loved ones every time we pull onto the road.

Last week, that trust was broken by the biggest auto manufacturer in the world.
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140828183919-04-pb-trial-story-top-300x182For over 30 years, the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) marketed itself as “the Processor of the World’s Finest Peanut Products.” However, a salmonella outbreak at the peanut plant in 2008 and 2009 infected 714 people across the United States, killing 9.
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