Product Liability LawyerHandling Cases Involving Defective Products in Texas and Nationwide There are rules and standards that apply to all products–those sold to consumers and those to which consumers are exposed in the workplace, homes, businesses, resorts, hospitals, recreation, boats, vehicles, travel, schools, and wherever else they might be. Products must be designed so that they are not unreasonably dangerous. Products must be manufactured as intended so that there is not some danger created by a mistake in manufacturing. If a product cannot be designed or manufactured so that it is not unreasonably dangerous and still has a utility that is greater than its danger, the manufacturer must provide a warning that reaches the user and warns the user of the danger and how to avoid or minimize the danger if the user chooses to use the dangerous product after learning of the danger. Yet serious injuries and fatalities continue to occur daily from product defects. Commercial trade is product driven and the United States is a nation of consumers. As consumers, we assume products are safe. We are sometimes stunned by the high percentages of new products flooding the marketplace that are actually dangerous. The Risk and Safety Management Alert System (RASMAS) reported that between January and June 2010, product safety notices and alerts increased 10 percent over the same period in 2009, which was already at a four percent increase from 2008 to 2009. The main contributors to the latest statistical increase in dangerous products were pharmaceutical product recalls and tainted food. Dangerous or defective products that cause serious personal injury or death are subject to legal action called products liability lawsuits, which hold manufacturers accountable for damages. Our products liability attorneys at Bush Lewis put decades of experience to work on behalf of our clients, vigorously litigating cases or settling with manufacturers. We never hesitate to take on large corporations and represent clients nationwide in product liability lawsuits.
Defective Products and Product RecallsWhen the jobs of more than one government agency overlap in dealing with defective products, you know that the dangers to consumers are significant. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is a federal regulatory agency that oversees thousands of consumer products to ensure safety and prevent unreasonable consumer injury and death resulting from defective products. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) recalls unsafe drugs, cosmetics and medical devices, along with inspecting and requiring approval before drugs are mass manufactured and marketed. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) oversees the safety of motor vehicles. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) works in coordination with the FDA to test alcoholic beverages and manage recalls. Every year thousands of products are recalled. RASMAS reported that major recalls in 2010 included:
- Toys and cribs. Recalls of a Fisher Price “Little People” toy manufactured in 1991 that resulted in a child’s death and Drop Side and Fixed Side Cribs.
- Salmonella. Products contaminated by Salmonella, such as pepper from Mincing Overseas Company and HVP (Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein) supplied by Food Flavors of Las Vegas, Nevada.
- Certain drugs made overseas. Claris Lifesciences recalled intravenous products and an Indian manufacturer Aurobindo Pharma Limited recalled HCL (hydrochloride) tablets due to packaging problems of finding Zolpiderm Tratrate Tablets in a bottle.
- Undeclared ingredients, out of specification. Products with ingredients that were not declared were recalled, such as JTM Foods, Inc. of PA for marshmallow treats with undeclared colors ingredients and PL Developments of NY for 1.4 million bottles of Kettering eye drops out of specification for pH.
- Market withdrawals. Pfizer pulled the drug Military (a drug used for a type of leukemia) off the market after trial tests raised concerns about safety.
- Tylenol (1982 for capsules poisoned with cyanide)
- Excedrin (1986 tampering with cyanide poison)
- Pentium processors by Intel (1996)
- Chevrolet Malibu (1998-1999 recall based on fatal accidents)
- Burger King Pokémon ball (1998, child died playing with the toy)
- Ford Motor Company recall of Firestone tires (2000, defective tires resulted in fatal accidents)
- Playstation2 recalled for electrical shock (2002)
- Ford Super Duty, Excursion and Economize models recalled for engine stalls (2004-2005)
- Computer notebook battery recalls by Dell, Apple Computer, Matsushita, Toshiba, IBM/Renovo, Hitachi, Fujitsu and Sharp for overheating or catching fire (2006)
- Menu Foods pet food recalls (2007)
- Peanut Butter Corporation of America recalled peanut butter products for salmonella contamination, one of the most extensive U.S. food recalls to date (2009)
- Toyota recalls due to faulty accelerator pedals (2010)
- Maytag dishwashers for fire hazard (2010)
- Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa’s egg recall of 228 million eggs with salmonella contamination (2010)
Products Liability LawNegligence law, strict product liability and breach of warranty are all laws that deal with defective products.
- In a negligence case, the defective products lawyer must show that the manufacturer owed a duty of care, which is established by the fact of selling the product. Manufacturers have a duty to release safe products. The lawyer must prove that the product failed in the duty, which means showing the product’s danger to consumers and that the manufacturer knew or should have known about the danger. Lastly the attorney must prove that the plaintiff’s injury was caused by the dangerous product.
- Strict product liability cases only require evidence that the product is not safe and that it caused injury.
- Breach of warranty cases require evidence that the aspect of the product that is warranted by the manufacturer harmed the consumer.
Product Defects – Causes and Types of ProductsManufacturers produce defective products either through flawed product design, faulty manufacturing or a failure to warn about dangers or improper products labeling. While a complete list of all types of defective products is too long to cover, a general list of well known defective products that have been subject to products liability lawsuits includes:
- Household products (detergent, appliances, etc.)
- Exercise equipment
- Vehicle parts
- Motor vehicles
- All-terrain vehicles (ATVs)
- Medical devises
- Prescription drugs
Our ExperienceKen Lewis and Don Bush have over 35 years each of handling product liability cases. Don Bush tried to a successful federal court verdict a case against a soft drink manufacturer for an exploding bottle that put out the eye of a worker for a distributor. Ken Lewis had a burned out apartment rebuilt in a parking lot to prove that an unreasonably dangerous finger nail polish remover caused the fire that left a 9-year-old with widespread third degree burns over her face, arms, feet and trunk for life when unreasonably dangerous and highly flammable carpet, furniture and clothing caught fire. Ken Lewis and Don Bush successfully proved that a motor vehicle caught fire after a minor collision and burned its driver so severely that she died because the fuel system was unreasonably dangerous. In yet another motor vehicle crash, Ken Lewis and Don Bush proved that an unreasonably dangerous seat back broke and caused the driver to slide out of the seatbelt and shoulder harness and be ejected out the window on to the roadway causing severely disabling injuries. In the 1977 Port Arthur Texaco explosion case, Ken Lewis was instrumental in proving that the combustible hydrocarbons leaked from piping because the pipe thickness testing device was defective and could not adequately identify small piping defects but had no instructions or warnings to users about this defect. Recently, Ken Lewis proved that an Angleton worker’s death was caused by an unreasonably dangerous valve that was manufactured backwards so that it opened rather than closed when workers tried to use it to shut off chlorine in an emergency.
Experienced Product Liability Lawyers Are Crucial for Your CaseProving a product is defective requires specialized expert testimony, such as that of engineers, technology specialists, chemists, designers, human factor psychologists, or other highly trained professionals who can prove design, manufacturing or warning and instruction defects. Large companies and their insurers have unlimited financial resources for litigation and huge legal teams that aggressively defend against products liability claims. Building a strong case involves investigation, thorough analysis and evidence of damages, along with effective legal strategies. At Bush Lewis, our product liability lawyers have a successful track record of handling these types of cases. We offer a free case evaluation to discuss the prospects of pursuing a products liability lawsuit. Call 409-835-3521 or contact Bush Lewis online.
Know This Before An Accident
No one plans to have an accident and no one expects to sustain a serious injury or lose a loved one to death from someone else's actions or mistake. It helps to at least have heard what experienced lawyers say you can do to ease the situation. At Bush Lewis, we think there are some helpful guidelines that we recommend to you. Our lawyers suggest: Learn more.