Articles Posted in Defective Products

An Indiana woman suing the manufacturer of a medical device for product liability lost when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled in favor of the device manufacturer because the plaintiff failed to produce expert witness testimony on causation, as required by Indiana law in such claims. Legal News Gavel

It was a disappointing outcome, but as Indiana product liability attorneys, we recognize it’s important for attorneys  – and plaintiffs too – to understand what went wrong so that we can formulate a smart strategy moving forward in similar cases. Appellate court opinions on the state and federal levels are especially important to consider because they help us gauge how courts are likely to interpret other cases in the future.

Here, according to court records, the plaintiff’s physician implanted an intrauterine device called ParaGard, made by a company named Teva. About five years after the device was implanted, the plaintiff decided she was dissatisfied with it and asked her physician to remove it. The physician did so by grasping the strings of the IUD with a ring forceps and pulling down. However, in so doing, only a piece of the device was removed. Another piece broke off either prior to or during removal, and it became lodged in her uterus. The only way to remove it, her doctors opine, is for her to undergo a hysterectomy.

An Indiana man who lost an eye and suffered a number of other serious facial injuries when a power tool he was using malfunctioned and struck him in the face may proceed with his Indiana product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of that tool, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. In so doing, the appellate court reversed the trial judge’s earlier grant of summary judgment to the defense. Legal News Gavel

The plaintiff’s original claim to the trial court was that the product’s faulty instructions, inadequate warnings, and lack of a safety guard (or any explicit information regarding a proper safety guard) made the air-compressor tool unreasonably dangerous as manufactured. The defense countered that no reasonable jury could find the plaintiff less than 51 percent at fault for his injuries (the standard under Indiana’s comparative fault law), given each of the three defenses presented:  misuse, alteration, and incurred risk. Specifically, the defense argued the plaintiff misused the product and altered the product, and there was an incurred risk for the use of the product.

The trial court ruled the plaintiff misused the grinder as a matter of law because he did not wear safety glasses. In the plaintiff’s appeal, he noted that the power tool was defective because it was sold without a safety guard, and the company gave no instruction on how to obtain or use such a guard, which was not and is not available for purchase by the company. Furthermore, the plaintiff argued the instructions didn’t warn users of the possible danger of using the tool with a cut-off wheel absent a safety guard.

We want to do everything we can to keep our loved ones safe. One of the best ways to do this is to frequently check the latest product recalls from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Our Highland personal injury attorneys are asking all residents to take a glance at the latest recalls to help identify any dangerous products that might be in your home. Every year, thousands are injured by defective products — and hundreds of consumers are recalled by the manufacturer or the federal government. Many of these products are marketed for use by children.

Stay up to date with these recalls to help to reduce the risks of injuries.
Kolcraft Strollers:

Nearly 40,000 of these products have been recalled in the U.S. and another 300 in Canada because the strollers pose serious fingertip amputation and laceration dangers. What can happen is a kid’s finger can get caught in the opening that is formed when locking and unlocking the hinge used to adjust the handlebars on the strollers. There have already been three child fingertip amputations and a number of adult injuries reported. If you have one of these strollers, you should call the company to get more information on a free repair kit. Call (800) 453-7673.

Black & Decker Coffeemakers

Nearly 160,000 Spacemaker™ 12-Cup Programmable Under-the-Cabinet Coffeemakers have been recalled by Black & Decker. What can happen is the coffee pot handle can break. When this happens, users are subject to serious cut and burn injuries. There have already been nearly 1,300 reports of the handle breaking and another 70 injury reports. If you have one of these pots, contact the company at (866) 708-7846 for a free replacement.

Downeast Concepts’ Beach Chairs:

There are nearly 15,500 folding beach chairs that are being recalled because they pose serious laceration dangers to children. The metal rivets on the chairs are exposed and can cut young ones. There have already been injuries reported to the company. If you have one of these chairs, please discontinue use and call the company for a full refund. Call (800) 343-2424.

Rigo’s Children’s Lounge Pants and Boxers:

More than 210,000 children’s Pull-On Lounge Pants and Girls Boxers have been recalled by Rigo International Inc., of Los Angeles because the clothing fails to meet the federal flammability standards for children’s sleepwear. These items pose a risk of burn injury to children. There has already been one report submitted to the company. The legs of a 9-year-old were burned in an accident. If you have any of these items, contact the company for a full refund. Call (888) 229-1292.

You’re urged to check the list of recalls from the CPSC frequently to make sure that there are no dangers lurking in your home. Share these recalls with your friends and family members to help to keep everyone safe!
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In society right now there is an ongoing discussion about “Main Street v. Wall Street.” So many innocent individuals are losing their rights because of the power of big business.

If you have been injured because of defective products in Highland, having your voice be heard is important not only to your family, but others like you.
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Our experienced Highland injury attorneys understand what it takes to fight big business to get you the award you deserve.

Gulf Underwriters Ins. Co. v. Burris is a Minnesota case between an injured plaintiff and an insurance company over injuries sustained due to a defective product. Burris (“plaintiff”) fell off a ladder manufactured by Versa and sustained serious injuries. Versa had a commercial general liability insurance policy and a “Self Insured Retention” (“SIR”) endorsement with Gulf Underwriters Insurance Company (“Gulf”). Because of this policy, Burris sued Gulf for the policy limits they had in coverage for Versa.

The problem in this case arose when Gulf filed a motion for summary judgment claiming that because Versa had not complied with their obligations under the SIR potion of the policy, the plaintiff was not entitled to any benefit as a third party.

Upon examining the evidence the court did find that Versa dissolved after expiration of the policy. However, the question was whether this was a material breach of the contract for coverage under this policy. Furthermore, the court was charged with analyzing how the effects of a material breach on the insurance coverage available to third parties.

Insurance policies are often extremely confusing and full of vague terms. And Gulf’s policy was not any different in this case. The court actually printed this policy in the decision to show the way key terms were used interchangeably to contradict each other. Also, the court noted that portions of this policy that were inconsistent with Gulf’s contentions were left out of their previous court briefs and memorandums.

In the policy involved in this case, there was a provision that stated that regardless of compliance with obligations of the SIR, all of the provisions of the general insurance policy apply. Therefore, the court found that the amount of the coverage could be affected by non-compliance with SIR, but not the fact that coverage was available would remain a constant.

A central concept in most cases is contract law. Establishing the type of contract at question is critical in determining what law applies. A contract consists of an offer and acceptance. In order to have acceptance, there needs to be a meeting of the minds. A contract is considered executory where a contract is created but not executed because further performance by one or both of the parties is still required. Gulf argued that because Versa was not up to date with payments, this policy was an executory contract and Gulf was released from coverage obligations in accidents associated with Versa’s defective products. The court here classified this as a “futile attempt” to avoid liability, and cited case law which is followed by “every court” in the county.

In Vandeveer, the court held that , “insurance policies for which the policy periods have expired and the premium has been paid are not executory contracts.” In re Vanderveer Estates Holding, LLC, 328 B.R. 18, 26 (Bankr. E.D.N.Y 2005).

For the reasons stated above, this court found that this policy was not an executory contract and Gulf did not provide the court with any evidence that the contract was breached by Versa. Therefore, the defendant motion for summary judgment was dismissed and the case was remanded to the lower court.

It is very important to understand that all attorneys are responsible for the work they submit to the court. There is an obligation for attorneys to present relevant state and federal statute as well as case law that supports and contradicts their contentions. In this case the court found that the attorney was withholding information that could be detrimental to their case and they found that an award of attorney fees for the plaintiff’s attorney was a proper punishment.
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Prescription drugs are often a target of litigation for a variety of reasons. In some cases, risks relating to prescription drugs are not disclosed to the patient through the drug label so patients cannot truly make an informed decision about the drug to weigh the risks against the benefits. In these cases, a lawsuit may be appropriate if the patient experiences a serious illness when the risk becomes a reality. In other cases, the drugs are not properly manufactured which may lead to an improper dosage that may pose a risk to a patient.   There are other several reasons why a lawsuit may be brought against the manufacturer of a drug when it relates to a life threatening illness that a patient encounters after taking the drug.     So, the following tips are designed to assist in in preventing the risk of a life threatening illness from a prescription medication.

  • Ask your physician to describe the risks and benefits associated with the medications you are being prescribed.
  • View your prescription before you leave your physician’s office. If the names of the drug, dosage or directions are not legible to you, ask the physician to clarify and write it down for your own records.

Humira, manufactured by Abbott for the treatment of arthritis, has been known to cause a fungal infection, which may be life threatening in certain people who may be considered candidates for the medication. Since all medications have some level of risk,  this may not be a surprise. Yet, what is a surprise is that some suspect that Abbott did not disclose this risk to the public until after the company had distributed the medication nationwide.

In 2010, Abbott Laboratories filed a letter to make physicians aware of the risk of fungal infection associated with Humira use. However, some contend that Abbott knew about the risk of fungal infection for quite some time before the company issued the warning to physicians.   In 2008, the FDA required Abbott to warn physicians about several fatal risks associated with Humira, such as, Histoplasmosis.

Other side effects associated with Humira include: optic nerve damage, lymphoma, vision issues and other nerve damage.


The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Mizuno, today announced a voluntary recall of Mizuno Supreme Series and Ballpark Pro baseball and softball gloves.   Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.   It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Some gloves were found to contain a variety of molds that could cause respiratory or other infections in persons suffering with chronic health problems, or in individuals who have impaired immune systems.

Skippy® Reduced Fat Peanut Butter Spread By Unilever Recalled

Unilever recently announced that the company   recalled select packages of Skippy® Reduced Fat Peanut Butter Spread and Skippy® Reduced Fat Super Chunk Peanut Butter Spread because the company noticed that the identified packages may be contaminated with Salmonella.

Salmonella is an organism that has been linked to flu like symptoms. In rare cases, Salmonella may lead to a fatal infection. Seniors, children and people with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable.

Cheese is a wonderful source of calcium to support the strength of your bones. It is filled with lots of great vitamins, such as, thiamine, vitamin B6 and folic acid within the B-complex, and vitamin C. Yet, cheese made from raw milk that is not pasteurized is at risk of being contaminated with soil or animal feces, animal diseases, or bacteria on an animal’s skin.

This is because pasteurization allows for harmful bacteria contaminants and organism to be killed.  Since pasteurization is a process that has been used for decades, authorities have confirmed that it is a safe and effective process for eliminating contamination.

There are several cheese manufacturers that use pasteurized milk in their products, but there are other companies that use unpasteurized raw milk.  Furthermore, there is no scientific evidence that unpasteurized products are safe and effective. Since the pasteurizations process had been reviewed by the FDA, the FDA recommends that all milk products be pasteurized.

As more consumers have become interested in organic foods and drinks, there has been great number of boutique stores and farmer’s markets that have opened up across the U.S. It’s true, “natural” or organic foods and drink may be healthier than traditional “store bought” food and drink products. Yet, this is not always the case. There has been a growing concern about raw milk being distributed in some of these specialty stores.

Consumers need to be aware that Raw Milk products, such as milk and cheese,   that are not pasteurized, are not healthy to drink or eat. Locally produced and minimally processed foods may be more nutritious in some cases. However, foods and drink that are not pasteurized pose a risk for injury. Unpasteurized calcium sources like raw milk may be contaminated with unhealthy bacteria and organisms, such as, salmonella, E. coli, and listeria.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that pasteurization is recommended for all milk in the United States. When milk goes through the pasteurizing process, the milk is heated to 161 degrees and maintains this heating temperature for 15 seconds to eliminate harmful bacteria and organisms. . Pasteurization kills harmful bacteria-including salmonella, E. coli, and listeria-that can contaminate milk before it gets to your table.