Articles Posted in Product Liability

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A tortilla factory was closed by the New York State Workers’ Compensation board after an employee was caught in a mixing machine and died.

A surveillance video shows the employee reaching into the machine to push down dough before his arm got caught on one of the blades, pulling him in.

When officials from the state visited the factory after the accident, they found that the company’s workers’ comp policy had lapsed in March of last year. Although it’s not commonplace for the state to shut down a company when the insurance has lapsed, the death of the employee prompted the visit and subsequent closure by officials. A NY State Workers’ Compensation spokesman said, “The owner would need to get the insurance and pay fines before he is permitted to reopen.” Currently, the company owes $56,000 in penalties. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Department of Labor are also looking into the incident.

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This week the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled over 50 million Roman shades and roll-up blinds – one of the five largest recalls in the commission’s history. The recall was prompted by reports of 5 deaths and 16 near strangulations of young children since 2006. The cords on both styles of blinds and shades can get caught around a child’s neck.

The blinds and shades were sold at numerous retailers, including Walmart, JCPenney, Pottery Barn, Ace Hardware, Big Lots, Ross, and many other stores.

The CPSC made the announcement with the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) and has been working with the Council to ensure the safety of window coverings. Consumers with Roman or roll-up shades should contact the WCSC immediately at www.windowcoverings.org to receive a free repair kit.

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We posted a blog earlier this week about choosing safe toys for Christmas. Now we’d like to make you aware of three recalls that were announced this week for children’s products.

Amby Baby Motion Beds/Hammocks

On Dec. 8, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Amby Baby USA announced a recall of about 24,000 Amby Baby Motion Beds after 2 infant suffocation deaths. As a result of the side to side shifting of the hammock, babies can roll and become trapped against the hammock’s fabric or mattress pad, causing infants to be unable to breath. There is only one model of the hammock, identified by a sewn label that reads “Amby – Babies Love It, Naturally.” The hammock was sold through online retailers, as well as Ambybaby.com, from January 2003 to October 2009 for about $250. Parents are advised to stop using the hammock and to contact Amby Baby USA for a free repair kit.

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4085081401_e05bd95756.jpgAlthough Black Friday is now behind us, there is still a little more than two weeks of Christmas shopping time left. You may find yourself needing to fill the wishes of a little one, whether you’re buying for your own children, grandchildren, or family friends.

When choosing a toy for children, it’s important to choose one that’s safe. Here are just a few tips to aid your gift purchase:

Make sure the toy is age-appropriate. Read and follow the age guidelines on toy packaging. Even a toy for a 3-year-old could have parts too small for a 2-year-old to handle.

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41_22_7-Slow-Road-Traffic-Sign_webToyota Motor Company announced that it is recalling more than 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles due to sudden-acceleration problems. The company said that floor mats could get stuck under the accelerator pedal if not secured properly. Sudden-acceleration incidents involving Toyota-made cars and trucks has caused 19 fatalities since 2002, according to the LA Times (www.latimes.com).

Toyota is in the process of developing vehicle-based remedies that will include reconfiguring the shape of the accelerator pedal and redesigning driver- and front-passenger-side all-weather floor mats. Toyota will notify owners of the vehicles involved by mail by the end of the year.

Models include:

2007-2010 Camry
2005-2010 Avalon
2004-2009 Prius
2005-2010 Tacoma
2007-2010 Tundra
2007-2010 ES350
2006-2010 IS250
2006-2010 IS350

Federal regulators have called the defect a “very dangerous problem.” Auto industry experts feel it has taken Toyota too long to react, citing a review of over 1,000 consumer complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration along with various accidents, all stemming from unintended acceleration.

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Hunting season is in full-swing in Pennsylvania. Following safety measures when using a treestand can be just as important as safely using a rifle or muzzleloader. Remember:

  • Wear a safety belt. A safety belt will prevent you from falling if your stand collapses.
  • Before using your stand, check it for loose nuts and bolts and replace any worn chains or straps.
  • Secure your stand on a mature tree. Avoid trees that are rotting or have dead limbs.

It’s also important to keep up-to-date on any product recalls that may affect your hunting equipment. For instance, on Nov. 12, the U.S. Product Safety Commission and the Gander Mountain Company announced a recall of approx. 13,000 Hang-On Fixed Position Treestands. There have been two reports of consumers falling while using the treestand. If the strap is fastened incorrectly, the clasp may open unexpectedly, and both the user and the treestand can fall from the tree. The recall affects the 2008 model GMT101 and the 2008 model GMT103 Hang-On Fixed Position treestands. They have wire mesh on the base of the platform to the top of the footrest and a Gander Mountain logo on the front of the seat. The seat has a camouflage pattern that is branded “AP” and “REALTREE.” The treestands were sold only at Gander Mountain from July 2008 to July 2009. Consumers are advised to stop using the treestands immediately. They can be returned to Gander Mountain for a refund or exchange.

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Hernia surgery is a fairly common procedure, with approximately 750,000 performed each year in the United States. But for those patients who have had the Kugel Mesh patch implanted as part of their hernia repair, this simple procedure can be painful or even fatal.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) initiated a recall beginning in December 2005 of the Bard(r) Composix(r) Kugel(r) Mesh Patch, a device used to repair incisional (or ventral) hernias. The patch is manufactured by Davol, Inc., a subsidiary of C.R. Bard. The patch contains a “memory coil ring” that allows the patch to be folded so it can be surgically implanted through an incision. The ring then springs open and the patch lies flat once it is in place. However, the ring within the patch can break, causing pain, bowel perforations, bowel obstruction, and life-threatening injuries.

The Kugel Mesh patch is estimated to have been used in 100,000 patients. More than 80 injuries and several fatalities have been reported to the FDA as a result of the use of the patch. Because the manufacturer, Davol, does not have access to patient records, it only notified its customers, who are hospitals and doctors. Although Davol has relied on
these hospitals and doctors to get the word out to patients, many patients have not been contacted…and many more patients may still be at risk.

If the ring in the patch breaks, patients may experience symptoms including unexplained or persistent abdominal pain, fever, tenderness at the implant site, or other unusual symptoms. Patients who have been implanted with these patches and who have these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

The FDA issued three recalls for the Kugel Mesh patch from December 2005 to January 2007. Six different sizes of the patch have been recalled, including extra-large oval, large oval, and large circle. If you think you may have a Kugel Mesh patch as a result of hernia surgery, it is best to consult with your doctor or surgeon.

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On Nov. 2, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that labels for Byetta, an injectable, blood-sugar-lowering drug used to treat type 2 diabetes, would be updated to warn those taking the drug of an increased risk for kidney problems, including kidney failure.

Byetta was approved in 2005, and almost 7 million prescriptions were written for it between 2005 and 2008. Doctors and patients tend to like Byetta because it is easier to inject than insulin and had also been found to promote weight loss in some patients.

In an article on CNN.com on Nov. 4, Dr. Richard Hellman, the past president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, and a clinical professor at the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Medicine, said that side effects of Byetta can include diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, which may contribute to changes in kidney function.

“If someone starts vomiting, they can lower the volume of fluid in their body. If it gets to dangerously low levels, their kidneys could be damaged and kidney failure could take place,” said Dr. Hellman.

Between April 2005 and October 2008 the FDA received 78 reports of kidney problems related to Byetta. Although some patients already had kidney disease before they started using Byetta, others developed kidney problems after taking it.

Symptoms of kidney problems can include changes in urine color, swelling that starts in the feet and legs, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, and trouble sleeping. If left untreated, kidney damage can worsen and could turn into kidney failure. Patients with any of these symptoms are encouraged to report them to their doctor.

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Maclaren USA has recalled nearly 1 million of its strollers after 12 children had their fingers amputated after being caught in the strollers’ hinges.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on Nov. 9 announced that the voluntary recall concerns Chinese-made strollers sold in the U.S. from 1999 to November 2009 at Babies ‘R’ Us, Target, and other children’s product retailers.

Affected Maclaren models include Volo, Triumph, Quest Sport, Quest Mod, Techno XT, Techno XLR, Twin Triumph, Twin Techno, and Easy Traveller. When the stroller is opened or unfolded, the hinge can cause a “fingertip amputation or laceration hazard to the child.”

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A simple and cost-effective cure for the problem of ill-fitting dentures can be the application of denture cream adhesive. What many denture wearers do not know is that denture cream adhesives contain zinc. And exposure to excessive amounts of zinc through the over-use of denture cream adhesives can lead to serious neurological conditions. Since denture cream manufacturers are not required to add a warning label on their packages, many consumers are unaware of the potential dangers.

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