Articles Tagged with defective product

Washington residents may be interested to learn that Graco, a major manufacturer of car seats, was hit with a $10 million fine for delaying the issuance of a recall for defective child car seats, potentially placing millions of children in danger. The fine follows the conclusion of the company’s completing the largest car seat recall in U.S. history.

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, the first $3 million is due from the company immediately. The remaining $7 million must either be paid in over the next five years or the company must spend an equal amount on safety improvements. The recall involved four million child and booster seats and two million rear-facing infant carrier seats, all of which had defective safety buckles.

Reportedly, the company had delayed the recall despite numerous parent complaints about defective safety buckles on the car seats. The recall was not conducted until NHTSA pressured the company into proceeding with it. A part of what the company will be required to do is come up with a strategy to encourage the return of a greater percentage of recalled seats. Although 75 percent of recalled vehicles are subsequently repaired, the agency indicated only 40 percent of the defective car seats have been.

Washington residents may be interested in learning more about the FDA’s limited ability to reduce the amount of powdered caffeine available for sale. The FDA claims that the consumption of caffeine powder has already resulted in two deaths. According to the Federal Substance Abuse Administration, almost 21,000 individuals attend the emergency room every year due to complications caused by the effects of caffeine. Recently, there have been consumer advocates claiming that caffeine in its pure powder form could be a cause of death that goes undetected.

Even though the FDA governs the amount of caffeine available in foods, beverages and medicine, the federal agency does not have jurisdiction over the substance in powder form when it’s considered to be a supplement, according to sources. The only recourse the FDA may have would be petitioning the U.S. Justice Department to remove the product from the market, but the process could take years. The FDA has already published a blog post online urging consumers to avoid powdered caffeine when possible.

One of the caffeine deaths reported involved an 18-year-old male in Ohio. The state has already admitted more than 200 individuals into healthcare facilities due to overdoses of caffeine. Specific numbers in Washington were not reported. The FDA is reportedly considering taking regulatory action that could result in banning the product outright or simply issuing warning letters to anyone distributing the product.

Motorists in Washington may be interested in a letter sent by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to a manufacturer on Oct. 29. So far, two deaths have been attributed to defective airbags manufactured by Takata, an automotive supplier. In the letter, NHTSA officials issue orders and inquire about the company’s ability to expedite the current recall involving airbags in 7.78 million vehicles. The NHTSA has already contacted auto manufacturers and expressed interest in enlisting other suppliers to expedite the process.

The pace of the recall depends on having enough replacement parts available. There have been reports of defective airbags propelling metal and plastic shrapnel at passengers as they deploy during a collision. In the letter, the NHTSA Deputy Administrator inquires about the number of replacement canisters Takata can produce, how much the rate of production can be increased and the quality of controls in place. The NHTSA also ordered Takata to improve their testing procedures for identifying defective airbags.

The NHTSA has already requested that auto manufacturers expedite their own recall notification campaigns. The NHTSA is requesting these manufactures develop innovative strategies for getting their customers to bring their vehicles into local dealers to get the defective airbag component replaced.

Residents of Washington may not be aware of the large number of lawsuits that have been filed recently against pharmaceutical company Pfizer. The suits claim that the statin drug Lipitor causes type 2 diabetes; the increase likely follows an FDA warning that the drugs may cause a small increase in risk of type 2 diabetes. Pfizer has reportedly denied the accusations and maintains that it plans to fight the cases.

Lipitor, a cholesterol-reducing drug, is reportedly the biggest-selling pharmaceutical in the United States. Statins typically decrease production of cholesterol which in turn lowers the risk of heart disease. The FDA has encouraged people to continue taking the drug, insisting that the benefits outweigh the risks. Nevertheless, enough suits have been filed for a federal court to consolidate cases. The first trial is expected to take place in July 2015. Pfizer will allegedly use the outcome of this case to plan for the other claims against the company.

Reports indicate that there are nearly 1,000 suits pending against Pfizer; the company has complied with the FDA’s mandate that they add a warning label. The company did not comment on whether funds had been put aside for future litigation.

In our last post, we discussed several ways that our readers can better ensure that they remain safe while having fun this summer. One key ingredient for a safe summer that we have yet to mention is sunscreen. Failure to liberally apply sunscreen when you are out of doors can lead to otherwise preventable burns and a heightened risk of developing skin cancer.

It is therefore important to have a bottle of sunscreen at the ready any time you venture out of doors for more than a few moments during the summer months. It is worth noting that harmful UV rays can even penetrate dense Washington cloud cover. However, not all sunscreens are created equal and not all sunscreens will properly protect you from these rays.

You may be asking, “If certain sunscreens are ineffective, why are they not recalled as defective products?” This is an excellent question. The short answer is that while the Food and Drug Administration does have regulations in place in regards to sunscreen manufacturing, these regulations are sparse and very loosely enforced.

As one Seattle attorney has discovered, pursuing compensation from manufacturers of defective products can become especially difficult when these companies claim to be cash strapped. Companies sometimes file for bankruptcy. This may mean injured individuals and their attorneys will have to find other parties that they can hold accountable in products liability matters.

We’re seeing this right now concerning the east coast New England Compounding Center said to be responsible for the distribution of tainted steroids. Allegedly as a result of the taking of these steroids, around 750 people have suffered fungal meningitis or other serious maladies and 64 people have died. While damages could be in the amount of hundreds of millions of dollars, the compounding company has since filed for bankruptcy.

The process for recovery under such circumstances can take years. Because of New England Compounding’s pending bankruptcy, attorneys are now considering filing lawsuits against the owners of the pharmacy and other companies belonging to these same owners. At the same time, there may still be profits made by New England Compounding that can be recovered by victims of the steroid vaccinations as well.