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Posts Tagged ‘ Product Liability ’

$1.2M Verdict to Trucker Hurt in Crash Caused by Defective Tire

Image credit © iStockphoto.com/courtneyk

A truck driver who was injured when a tire tread separated on a gravel truck he was driving in 2010 has been awarded $1.2 million in damages by a state jury in Arkansas following a trial in connection with his product liability lawsuit.

The trucker, Elmer Philpot, now 76, was operating the gravel truck in Arkansas in 2010 “when the tread of his right front tire separated” and caused his truck to crash, according to a Sept. 9 story by Law360. Philpot received leg fractures in the crash and later required hip replacement surgery in connection with the incident, the story reported.

Hankook Tire Co. Ltd., the manufacturer of the tire and the defendant in the case, was ordered by the jury to pay $1.2 million in damages as part of its product liability verdict, the story reported. Hankook was “negligent in its design, testing, construction and manufacture” of the 22.5-inch tire and “failed to inspect the tire or warn of its defects,” Philpot’s attorney said in the trial. The defect that led to the crash “originated at the Hankook plant in South Korea,” the story reported.

Hankook also “had to pay $43,000 after a judge found that it obstructed discovery,” according to court documents, said the report. “In discovery, Hankook originally only turned over documents related to the same model that was on Philpot’s dump truck, and only at the plant where they were manufactured, according to records of an unsuccessful appeal of the $43,000 sanction,” the story reported.

“The judge didn’t buy it, saying that Hankook’s ‘conduct in obstructing discovery has been egregious,’” the story continued.

Additional lawsuits involving more Hankook tire problems are still possible, the plaintiff’s attorneys said, according to Law360.  “These 22.5-inch tires have been coming off around the country,” one of the attorneys said.

The plaintiff was also awarded $1 million in damages for pain and suffering. The case was heard in the Circuit Court of Conway County, Arkansas.

These kinds of tragic legal cases occur every day when innocent victims are severely hurt or killed in vehicle crashes through no fault of their own due to the actions, inattentiveness or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

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$72M Jury Verdict in Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Cancer Case

A Missouri jury has ordered consumer products company Johnson & Johnson to pay $72 million in damages to the family of a 62-year-old woman who died in 2015 from ovarian cancer after using the company’s baby powder and body powder products for some 35 years.

The verdict was awarded to the family of Jacqueline Fox., who believed that the company’s talcum powders led to her death after her long-term use of the products, according to a Feb. 24 story in The Washington Post.

“In an audio deposition, the Birmingham, Ala., native who died at age 62 recounted 35 years of using Johnson & Johnson products containing talcum powder, including the manufacturing giant’s trademark baby powder and its Shower to Shower body powder,” the story reported.

Fox was diagnosed with ovarian cancer more than three years ago and “was one of more than 1,200 women from across the country who were suing Johnson & Johnson for failing to warn consumers of the dangers associated with talc, the mineral used in baby powder,” according to the story.

Research studies “have associated regular talc use with ovarian cancer for decades,” but the American Cancer Society “notes that there is no definitive research on whether asbestos-free talc — the kind widely used in consumer products — causes ovarian cancer,” the story reported.

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/courtneyk

In Fox’s case, a pathologist “found that Fox’s ovaries were inflamed from talc, which then turned into cancer,” according to the story.

Internal Johnson & Johnson corporate memos presented at the trial were seen by some jurors as showing that the company knew the potential dangers of the products but didn’t advise consumers or regulators or add warnings labels to the products, the story reported. Additional lawsuits related to talc and cancer cases are pending against the company.

In the Fox case, the jury awarded the family $10 million in compensatory damages and $62 million in punitive damages, which could eventually be reduced by a lower court, the report continued.

Johnson & Johnson said it will appeal the verdict. “We have no higher responsibility than the health and safety of consumers and we are disappointed with the outcome of the trial,” told the Post in a statement. “We sympathize with the plaintiff’s family but firmly believe the safety the cosmetic talc is supported by decades of scientific evidence.”

These kinds of tragic legal cases occur every day when innocent victims are severely hurt or die from the use of a wide range of consumer products due to the actions, inattentiveness or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured due to medical malpractice, a vehicle crash, a construction accident or any other incident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

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$25M Fine Paid by Johnson & Johnson in Children’s Tylenol Case

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/courtneyk

Consumer products company Johnson & Johnson has pleaded guilty and will pay a $25 million fine for failing to maintain safe manufacturing processes in the production of Infants’ and Children’s Tylenol and Children’s Motrin liquids from 2009 to 2010 at a manufacturing plant in Fort Washington in Montgomery County, Pa.

The fine and the guilty plea were announced on March 10 in federal court in Philadelphia, where the company was rebuked for failing to quickly take corrective action after small metal particles were found to have contaminated bottles of the medicines, according to a story in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The plea came after metal particles, including nickel and chromium, were found in children’s liquid medicine made at the McNeil Consumer Healthcare plant in Fort Washington from May 2009 through April 2010, the story reported. The fine was calculated as a percentage of the sales of those products during that time period, according to the paper. McNeil is a division of Johnson & Johnson.

“Prosecutors said McNeil knew about the problem for nearly a year but failed to take immediate steps to fix it,” according to a March 10 report by The Associated Press.

In a statement, acting Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer called McNeil’s failure to comply with current good manufacturing practices “seriously troubling,” the Inquirer reported.

The case unfurled in early May 2009 when a customer reported to McNeil that they had found “black specks” in the liquid on the bottom of a bottle of Infants’ Tylenol, according to documents filed in the case, the story reported. The customer returned the bottle to McNeil to provide evidence of the problem.

Some 30 batches of the medicines were found to have metal in them by April 2010, the story reported. The particles were later was found to be from a machine part that was “a composite metal that is mostly nickel, but also includes tin, iron, bismuth and chromium.”

No children were reported to have been injured by the metal particles, according to the company.

McNeil halted the production of the affected medicines five days after finding tainted medicine on its production lines in April 2010, and finally issued a recall notice at the end of that month, the story reported.

McNeil’s Fort Washington plant has not been producing medicine since the production lines were halted back in 2010. The plant cannot reopen until the company proves to the government that improvements have been made and that no more faulty medicines can be produced, the story reported.

Product liability, injury cases, vehicle crashes and property losses of all kinds occur every day involving innocent victims who are hurt or killed through no fault of their own due to the actions or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a product liability case or any other legal situation anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

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Paralyzed Victim Awarded $55.3M Jury Verdict in Acura Car Crash

As he drove his 1999 Acura Integra along a Maryland road in May 2010, a tire on Carlos Martinez’s car blew out after striking a nail, causing the car to veer off the road, go into a ditch and roll over multiple times.

The crash, which occurred at about 33 mph, caused catastrophic injuries to Martinez when his head struck the roof on the inside of the car as it rolled, leaving him a paraplegic, according to a July 8 story in The Legal Intelligencer.  After hearing testimony in the product liability case, a Philadelphia jury has rendered a verdict in Martinez’s favor, awarding him $55.3 million in damages from the car maker in connection with the case, the paper reported.

The jury found that the victim’s injuries were “caused by the Integra’s defective seat-belt design and that defendant American Honda Motor Co. was negligent for failing both to redesign the seat belt and to warn consumers that they were at risk of hitting their heads on the roof if the vehicle rolled,” the story reported, based on the jury’s decision. Acura is a division of American Honda Motor Co.

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/creatingmore

The defendant “blamed Martinez’s own negligence in its own pretrial memorandum,” but the jury rejected that view, according to the story.

Several experts testified for the plaintiff that the car’s restraint system and its body design contributed to the severity of the victim’s injuries in the crash. “The only reason Mr. Martinez sustained catastrophic and paralyzing injuries was because the defective design of the subject vehicle failed to keep him, a seat-belted occupant, from loading his neck during the rollover event, resulting in serious damage to his spine,” the plaintiffs’ memorandum said, according to the paper.

The victim’s legal team argued during the trial “that the seat belt should have been attached to the seat, rather than one of the ‘pillars’ separating the vehicle’s windows,” the story reported. The plaintiffs also argued “that Honda had performed rollover tests for the 1999 Integra in which the crash-test dummy repeatedly hit its head on the roof, but never corrected the problem before bringing the vehicle to market,” according to the story.

Since the crash, Martinez has had multiple urinary tract infections and gastroesophageal reflux disease, and he continues to suffer from chronic weakness, numbness, pain, spasticity, neurogenic bowel and neurogenic bladder as a result of his paralysis, the story reported.

The jury reached its verdict quickly after a nine-day trial, awarding $25 million to Martinez for past and future noneconomic damages, $15 million to his wife for loss of consortium, $14.6 million for future medical expenses and about $720,000 for past and future lost earnings, the story reported.

These kinds of injury cases occur every day when innocent victims are hurt or killed in vehicle crashes through no fault of their own due to the actions or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

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Soccer Injury Lawsuit Could Have Huge Implications: Maryland Residents Could Finally Gain Rights to Sue for Damages

After a 20-year-old man suffered serious facial injuries while warming up for a league soccer game in Maryland in 2008, he was not able to recover damages for his injuries. That’s because he lived in Maryland, one of only four states and the District of Columbia, where a plaintiff cannot recover any monetary damages at all if a judge or jury finds that they have contributed to their accident by as little as 1 percent.

One percent, that’s all. With such a tiny sliver of blame on victims of accidents, Maryland juries and judges regularly have blocked victims from receiving deserved damages in cases from car accidents to slip and fall cases to medical malpractice cases and everything in between. It’s been this way for more than 165 years in Maryland because of a legal precedent known as “contributory negligence,” where a victim who is found to contribute to their injuries in any amount is then barred from receiving a damage award.

Across the United States, only Alabama, Virginia, North Carolina and the District of Columbia also have such contributory negligence laws on their books. It’s an outdated, unfair, costly burden on victims who can’t receive damages for injuries that they sustain, even when they are partly to blame.

A soccer injury case in Maryland could change how personal injury cases have been handled in the state for more than 165 years. Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/mikkelwilliam

A soccer injury case in Maryland could change how personal injury cases have been handled in the state for more than 165 years. Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/mikkelwilliam

But in Maryland, the law is being reviewed by the state Court of Appeals after the victim in the soccer injury case, Kyle Coleman, won his claim against the group that held the practice, the Soccer Association of Columbia, then failed to receive damages because the jury found that he contributed to his injuries, according to a story in The Baltimore Sun. Coleman now has three titanium plates in his head as a result of his injuries, which happened as he took a few warm-up shots into an empty goal at the practice, according to The Sun. “He grabbed the goal’s crossbar as he passed underneath to retrieve a ball, and it fell over,” crushing bones around one of his eyes.

A jury ruled in Coleman’s favor, determining that the soccer association had not properly secured the goal, but because he grabbed the top bar and pulled himself up, he had contributed to his own injuries, the paper reported. Under Maryland law, he was prevented from receiving damages in the case, despite the negligence of the soccer association in securing and maintaining its equipment.

If this accident had happened in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Delaware, New Jersey, California or any of the other states that permit damage awards even when the victim contributed to the event, Coleman would have received money for his injuries to help him cope with his recovery, pain and suffering and financial losses. Those states allow judges and juries to assess the cases to determine how much a victim contributed to his own injuries, then deduct that amount from a damage award. To still receive an award, a victim must be found to contribute less than 50 percent to the accident in those 46 states.

In most of the U.S., this ability to sue and recover damages even if you have contributed to the accident in some way is a pillar of our system of law, says Larry Greenberg, an attorney with Greenberg Law Offices in Baltimore.

“In Maryland, if a judge or jury finds any amount of fault against the plaintiff, that person has no right to be compensated for the damages they suffered in the occurrence,” says Greenberg. “If a judge or jury finds you partially responsible, you are done. In other states, juries give awards and then deduct a percentage for your own negligence, giving you balance in the legal system.”

The Coleman soccer case could finally change this system in Maryland, says Greenberg, which would be the right thing to do for residents.

“For years we’ve been trying, through the Maryland Association for Justice and other groups, to look for  cases where this issue could be brought before a jury” to be able to change this unfair rule, he says. “We tried through the state legislature to change it and they wanted nothing to do with it.”

A state Court of Appeals panel looked at the issue earlier and found that the existing law could be challenged through the courts, he says. Legal arguments were conducted before the Court of Appeals on Sept. 10 and now all sides are waiting for the court’s decision. No deadline has been announced for the ruling.

“The implications are that it could give plaintiffs more access to the courts in Maryland” if the appeals court rules in favor of changing the law, says Greenberg. “It would give them the rights that would address the harm caused to them for injuries that they were never able to get justice for in the past. Nobody’s perfect and other states have seen fit to recognize that concept,” that even victims can contribute to their own injuries.

“Contributory negligence is a concept of the past,” says Greenberg. “It means you get nothing. You’re perfect or you’re done and that’s not the way life is.”

The case in Maryland “has drawn national attention, as Maryland’s unusual legal standard meets its first judicial test in decades,” according to The Sun.

“The standard was adopted in Maryland in an 1847 case called Irwin v. Spriggs,” The Sun reported. “The plaintiff fell through an opening by a cellar window, but the defendant successfully argued that had the plaintiff been more careful, he would not have been hurt, according to a review of the case for the state legislature.”

It’s time for Maryland to change this unfair and outdated law so that victims can finally have their rights to actually receive damages for serious injuries caused in large part by others. In 46 other states around the nation, that’s the law of the land.

It’s about time that Maryland joins the modern era of legal fairness, for all of its citizens.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in an accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who are killed in serious accidents as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

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UPDATE: Another recall for Toyota owners — be informed about recent ’sudden acceleration’ cases

Jan. 26, 2010 UPDATE:  Toyota announced that it will immediately suspend production and sales of eight vehicle models bound for the U.S. market to further investigate and repair the cause of sudden acceleration that has been plaguing some Toyota vehicles since last year, according to The New York Times.

For the second time in less than four months, Toyota is recalling millions of their cars and trucks in response to incidents of sudden acceleration being reported by some drivers, which have resulted in loss of vehicle control, accidents, injuries and several fatalities.

This time, the company said the recall affects about 2.3 million vehicles to correct what is being called “sticking accelerator pedals on specific Toyota Division models.”

Last fall, about 4.2 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles were recalled in connection with similar concerns about sudden acceleration, but at that time the company said the problems appeared to come from apparent pedal entrapment by incorrect or out of place accessory floor mats.

According to Toyota, about 1.7 million of those Toyota vehicles are subject to both overlapping recalls.

The latest recall is finally beginning to at least acknowledge what many affected Toyota vehicle owners have said all along — that the sudden acceleration problems were likely caused by more than just improperly positioned floor mats in the past.

A typical vehicle speedometer in a modern automobile is shown here in this photograph. Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/fountain_of_useless_info

In several recent broadcasts, ABC News has interviewed owners of Toyota vehicles that have experienced sudden acceleration issues and they’ve directly described the problems as being unrelated, in their opinions, to floor mat issues. What they described instead were gas pedals that seemed to have lives of their own and accelerated the vehicles without being depressed manually, according to the reports.

“Safety expert Sean Kane tells ABC News that since last fall, when Toyota said it had solved the acceleration problem with proposed changes to gas pedals and a recall of 4.2 million cars with suspect floor mats, more than 60 new cases of runaway Toyotas have been reported,” ABC reported yesterday. “He believes this latest recall may still not be a complete fix of a problem that continues to be linked with serious accidents and deaths. In the most tragic incident, on the day after Christmas, four people died in Southlake, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, when a 2008 Toyota sped off the road, through a fence and landed upside down in a pond. The car’s floor mats were found in the trunk of the car, where owners had been advised to put them as part of the recall.”

It’s taken months for Toyota to accept the experiences of actual drivers who have experienced these problems in their vehicles, but it’s about time.

Now the company is finally looking at what many affected owners said all along — that the problem was caused by gas pedals that couldn’t be controlled.  “In recent months, Toyota has investigated isolated reports of sticking accelerator pedal mechanisms in certain vehicles without the presence of floor mats,”  Toyota Motor Sales  group vice president Irv Miller said in a statement. “Our investigation indicates that there is a possibility that certain accelerator pedal mechanisms may, in rare instances, mechanically stick in a partially depressed position or return slowly to the idle position.  Consistent with our commitment to the safety of our cars and our customers, we have initiated this voluntary recall action.”

Here is a list of vehicles affected by yesterday’s recall:

• 2009-2010 RAV4,

• 2009-2010 Corolla,

• 2009-2010 Matrix,

• 2005-2010 Avalon,

• 2007-2010 Camry,

• 2010 Highlander,

• 2007-2010 Tundra,

• 2008-2010 Sequoia

These recalls follow another alleged safety matter related to Toyota vehicles that occurred  last September.  In that case, the company  was sued by a former corporate attorney who alleged that Toyota illegally withheld critical information about hundreds of rollover crashes involving injuries and deaths. That case is still in its early stages.

If you own one of the affected vehicles in the recalls, be sure to contact your vehicle  dealer to schedule the required repairs as soon as possible.

And if your vehicle should be affected by a sudden acceleration episode, here’s what you need to know, based on an ABC News video report.  If your Toyota or any other vehicle should accelerate on its own, apply the brakes and shift the transmission into neutral. Then use the brakes and steering to stop and control the vehicle safely. The engine will be racing noisily, but you can shut it off safely with the ignition key once the vehicle is stopped.  Don’t shut the key off as you are still moving because that will cut off your power steering and power brakes, and will also lock your steering, which you don’t want to do.  After stopping the vehicle, have it towed to your vehicle dealer and have it repaired.

You also could have legal rights beyond the recalls and repairs for any injuries or damages that you suffer as a result of these vehicle issues.  Don’t sign anything or give up those legal rights until you have evaluated your situation and your options.

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