8th Circuit Upholds Summary Judgment for Pain Pump Injury Defendant

May 19, 2014

orroomlights1.jpgThe Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a summary judgment in favor of Stryker Corp. in relation to a lawsuit filed because of damage caused to a patient's shoulder following the implant of a post-surgery pain pump.

The device was designed and marketed as a way to help alleviate patient pain following surgical procedures by injecting a set dosage of drugs (here, bupivacaine) at various intervals directly at the surgical site. However, in this case, Mack, et al. v. Stryker Corp., et al.,, and several others, the pain pumps ended up reportedly causing more harm than good.

Defective medical device attorneys know this is not the first time Stryker has come under fire for its products. Its knee replacement devices were the subject of a Class 1 recall by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in April last year. These products have also been the subject of extensive litigation.

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Product Liability Watch: Appliance Fires an Ongoing Problem

May 12, 2014

muginmicrowave.jpgMicrowave ovens are in almost every home, and even in a lot of workplaces. Food preparation has been made a lot easier with the use of these devices. The problem is, it also appears they are a serious fire hazard.

Last year, Consumer Reports launched an investigation into appliance fires throughout the country. Our product liability attorneys note that, following a series of records requests to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the investigation revealed some 70 reported fires just involving KitchenAid microwave ovens alone. In 41 of those cases, the appliances reportedly caught fire while not in use.

Investigators were particularly interested in GE and KitchenAid/Whirlpool appliances, as they had the most consumer complaints when it came to fires. Most instances reportedly occurred in 2009 and 2010, though some went as far back as 2002.

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Defective Lawnmowers Can Cause Serious Injuries

April 22, 2014

lawnmower.jpgSpring is in full swing, which means many homeowners will be working to maintain their lawn and landscaping.

With all the various tools available for this purpose, there is a potential for injury, particularly if the tools prove defective. Product liability lawyers in Florida recognize that one of the most dangerous tools used commonly by homeowners is a lawnmower.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reported that in 2010, some 253,000 people were treated for lawnmower-related injuries in the U.S. Of those, about 17,000 were children. What's more, the rate of lawnmower injuries has increased by 3 percent over the course of just a couple years.

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GM Recall Highlights Risk of Defective Vehicles

April 7, 2014

vehicle.jpgVehicle manufacturer General Motors has been facing intense scrutiny over the fact that administrators within the company were aware that a faulty ignition switch had deadly consequences, and yet did not inform the public for nearly a decade.

The recall initiated in recent weeks encompasses some 2.6 million vehicles, and has been associated with at least 13 deaths and many more injuries. More broadly, hundreds of deaths have been associated with GM vehicle airbags that failed to deploy - one of the issues reportedly caused by the faulty ignition switch.

Our defective vehicle attorneys know that disproportionate among those were young drivers. In a federal court in Texas, a possible class action against dealerships lists eight possible victims - seven of whom were under the age of 25. That the victims skew younger is due to a number of factors, including that the vehicles associated with the recall - Saturn Ions and Chevy Cobalts - were primarily marketed to entry-level drivers. Another issue is that, when faced with handling a vehicle that was suddenly hard-to-muscle as brakes and steering became unresponsive (both issued also suspected to be caused by the faulty switch), younger drivers were less likely to know what to do.

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Zohydro ER Concerns Heightened As Drug Hits the Market

March 24, 2014

whitepills.jpgLate last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration shocked the medical community when it approved Zohydro ER, a long-lasting and potent form of the opiod drug hydrocodone. The reason it came as a surprise to many was because the decision was made in direct opposition to the disapproval by the agency's Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Advisory Committee, comprised of independent experts who raised concerns about both the drug's safety and potential for abuse.

Now, as Zohydro hits the market, even more voices are joining the fray, urging the FDA to halt sales of the drug until more research can be conducted. Opponents include 28 attorneys general and legislators who have introduced bills in both the Senate and House seeking to have FDA approval of the drug withdrawn. Additionally, an open letter signed by a coalition of more than 40 health care, addiction treatment and consumer groups strongly urges the FDA commissioner to revoke approval.

However, our product liability lawyers understand that as of this writing, those efforts have been unsuccessful.

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Car Seat Recall: Defective Buckle May Lead to Child Injury, Death

February 17, 2014

babyhand3.jpgThere are few products that parents use more or place greater trust in than child car seats.

These restraint systems save hundreds of thousands of lives annually, and according to a new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have helped to reduced child motor vehicle fatalities by 43 percent just in the last decade.

However, when child car seats are defective or flawed, our product liability attorneys know the result may be serious injury or even death.

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Ferraro Law Firm Wins $12.5M Tobacco Verdict in Miami

January 29, 2014

smokingandmoving.jpgA jury in Miami-Dade awarded a $12.5 million verdict to a Ferraro Law Firm client who had filed an Engle progeny lawsuit against tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds.

The case, CuCulino v. R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., does not represent the largest amount every awarded to those pursuing a Florida tobacco lawsuit, but it does show how plaintiffs in these cases can be successful in this sort of complex litigation.

In this case, the 69-year-old plaintiff, from the Florida Keys, was diagnosed in 1994 at age 49 with coronary heart disease. Represented by attorneys Allan Kaiser and Jeffrey Sloman of the Ferraro Law Firm, it was revealed that the plaintiff's pack-and-a-half habit had contributed to his condition.

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Child Injury Prevention Goal of New CPSC Infant Bedside Sleeper Standards

January 20, 2014

sleepingbaby.jpgNew mandatory safety standards have been handed down by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission regarding infant bedside sleepers.

New parents will recognize these products as bassinet-like cribs that are made for the purpose of being secured to an adult mattress to allow a safe co-sleeping experience for babies up to about 5 months of age.

Florida child injury attorneys note the CPSC has received 40 product safety complaints related to infant sleepers in the last 12 years, with four of those incidents involving the death of a child. Those fatalities all occurred between 2007 and 2009, and they involved fabric-sided openings at the side of the sleepers.

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Eighth Circuit Favors Levaquin Plaintiff Who Alleged Tendon Damage

January 18, 2014

magicpills.jpgA subsidiary of drug manufacturing giant Johnson & Johnson lost its appeal recently in the case of a man who alleged the company failed to warn about the dangers of an antibiotic known as Levaquin, or generically, levoflaxacin.

According to the product liability lawsuit, he was never told of the increased risk of tendon damage he might incur as a result of consuming this drug.

Court records reveal the man was prescribed the drug after suffering a lung infection. Typically, the drug is prescribed on a 10-day schedule. Several days after beginning this course, the man suffered serious and permanent damages to his Achilles tendon.

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NuvaRing Lawsuits Expected to Reach Trial Phase in 2014

January 4, 2014

alliance.jpgWhen it was first introduced in 2002, NuvaRing was hailed as a one-of-a-kind, easy contraceptive.

The once-monthly insertion of a low-dose hormonal, vaginal ring had the manufacturer touting the fact that users didn't have to remember a daily pill. It quickly became wildly popular, with sales last year topping $620 million and 2014 sales expected to reach somewhere around $644 million. There is even a generic drug maker scrambling to produce a knock-off prior to the 2018 expiration of the original patent.

But there is a darker side to the drug, as more than 3,500 NuvaRing lawsuits as of August 2013 reveal.

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New Safety Standards Announced for Bassinets and Cradles

November 20, 2013

There are no products more important to parents than the products they buy for their children. For infants especially, bassinets and cradles must provide a safe sleeping environment to ensure that a child does not experience injury or fall victim to a fatal accident because of an unsafe product. the-birth-of-the-world-1114312-m.jpg

Our Florida product liability lawyers know that the Consumer Product Safety Commission sets standards for bassinets and cradles to protect children by ensuring these products meet minimum safety standards. In late September, the CPSC approved new federal safety standards designed to clarify existing rules and add new requirements.

New Standards on Bassinets and Cradles
The CPSC has likely been prompted to act after receiving notice of 426 incidents involving bassinets and cradles. A total of 132 of the incidents between November 2007 and March 2013 resulted in the death of the infant.

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Fire Risk Prompts Recall of 2.2 Million Dehumidifiers

September 16, 2013

fire.jpgMore than 2 million dehumidifiers are being recalled after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission received dozens of complaints that the machines were overheating, smoking and catching fire.

Our product liability attorneys have learned that so far, some 165 adverse incidents have been reported with the dehumidifiers, with at least 46 fires causing an estimated $2.15 million in property damage.

The actual number of fires for which the dehumidifiers may be responsible - and potential injuries resulting - are likely much higher, as some of the fire investigations may be ongoing. In fires that are very severe, it may take fire investigators weeks or sometimes many months to definitively pinpoint the source of the blaze.

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Defective Home and Outdoor Products Can Lead to Serious Summertime Injury

July 15, 2013

backyardjump.jpgIt's the height of summer, and most people are focused on cooking out, camping, gardening or just relaxing.

Unfortunately, our product liability attorneys know that there are products involving almost all of these activities that have recently been recalled for the risk of serious injury posed to consumers.

Our hope is that people will read the recall warnings and seek a refund or whatever remedy is offered before anyone is hurt. However, in cases where someone does suffer injury, compensation may be an option. This is true regardless of whether the manufacturer issued a safety recall.

One of the most recent products to come under fire - literally - is the Cedar Lake Heater/Cooker, manufactured by Texsport. Several hundred of these portable, dual-use cookers, often used by campers or for outdoor cooking, were sold at Army/Navy and sporting goods stores. The problem, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, is that the regulator on the device malfunctions if the user switches from heating to cooking, or vice versa. The gas propane will turn to liquid, which in turns leads to a serious fire hazard.

How about relaxing on the front porch with a glass of iced tea? Sure, if you aren't using a Teavana Glass Tea Tumbler. About 500,000 of these have been sold in the U.S., all with varying designs. The problem is there have been more than 300 reports of the glass breaking or shattering unexpectedly. A number of those incidents resulted in lacerations to the fingers and legs, plus burns (the latter when users had been sipping hot tea from the mugs).

Thinking of getting some lawn work done? Just make sure you aren't using a Kubota Riding Mower. The USPSC said about 8,600 have been sold and warn that there have been nearly 60 reports of mowers' fuel tanks leaking, which poses a potential fire risk.

Similar problems have been reported with the Toro Z Master Riding Mower, where the idler pulley reportedly rubs up against the mower's fuel tank, creating the risk of a fire. So far, six incidents have been reported, however without injuries. Some 3,600 of these have been sold in the U.S., but another 2,600 were recalled last November for the same reason.

Kids playing in the back yard with remote-controlled toys? Check to make sure it's not a Fast Lane FA-005 Radio Control helicopter, sold at Toys-R-Us. The company has sold about 7,000 of these in the U.S., both online and in stores, since September 2012. The toys cost about $100, but the problem is the rechargeable battery inside. It's reportedly prone to overheating, which poses fire and burn hazards both to users and nearby objects. Eleven incidents have so far been reported.

And finally, even relaxing on a hammock might have you on edge, if the one on which you happen to be lounging is the Outdoor Solutions Hammock and Sunshade, manufactured in China and sold at H-E-B stores. The supplier has since learned that the seam in the lounge of the hammock has the potential to open and rip, which poses a fall hazard.Consumers can return the product for a full refund.

To learn more about recalled products, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's list of recalls at www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls.

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Child Drowning Hazard Cited in Baby Bath Seat Recall

June 22, 2013

bath.jpgInfant seats designed to be used in the bathtub have been recalled after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said they have the potential to tip over, posing a drowning risk to babies.

Our product liability attorneys understand that about 35,000 units of the Italian-made bath seats have so far been sold.

The seats are designed for infants between the ages of 5 months and 10 months. They are affixed with suction cups on the bottom of the seat. A circular arm rail connects both side posts.

Officials with the CPSC say the seats fail to meet federal safety standards for stability requirements. The seats have been shown to topple.

Obviously, infants should never be left in the bathtub unsupervised at any point - in a bath chair or not. But such devices could result in significant injury to a small child, even if a parent were seated nearby.

The products were sold at retail stores Buy Buy Baby and Bed Bath & Beyond between the fall of 2012 and the spring of 2013. They retailed for about $40.

As we are in the full swing of summer, the subject of infant and young child drownings is an appropriate one. While swimming pools are the number one site of child drownings, the CPSC notes there are a number of other locations and products that can contribute to such a tragedy.

In the four years between 1996 and 1999, the CPSC reported some 460 children had died in bathtubs, toilets, buckets, spas and other containers of water. Anything that holds more than 5 gallons of liquid should be considered a potential drowning hazard. This could include even fish tanks and landscape ponds.

In an effort to help prevent child drownings, the CPSC has compiled the following list of safety tips:

  • Never, ever leave an infant alone in the bathtub, even for a moment. You always want to have the infant within an arm's reach, and you never want to entrust the care of a young infant to the care of another young child. If you have to leave for any purpose, take the child with you.

  • As this recall shows, baby bath seats are no substitute for supervision. They are meant to serve as an aid to bathing, not a safety device. Even when there are no fundamental flaws in the design of the product, children have been known to slip or climb out of these seats and drown.

  • No buckets or other containers with liquid should be left unattended. All containers holding liquid should be emptied immediately after use.

  • Keep buckets where young children can't find them. Containers left outside have the potential to collect rainwater and therefore become a drowning hazard.

  • If you have a slip-resistant, non-skid tub, don't use a bath seat. The suction cups will fail to adhere to the surface or could even detach without warning.

  • Keep the lid of the toilet seat down. Consider using a clip on the toilet to prevent children from opening the lid.

  • With hot tubs or spas, use barriers and safety covers to prevent entry by small children.

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FDA: Recalled Knee Replacement Devices Cause Serious Health Problems

April 13, 2013

kneereplacement.jpgThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration has determined that a previously-recalled device used for surgical knee replacement is likely to cause serious health problems.

Our product liability lawyers understand that the manufacturer, Stryker Corp., had initially issued a voluntary recall in January, but now the FDA has reclassified it is a Class I recall.

A Class I recall is the most severe designation that can be given, purporting that use of the product is accompanied by a high risk potential for serious injury or death. Class I recalls are fairly uncommon in the U.S., reserved only for the most serious situations.

The ShapeMatch Cutting Guides were tools used by surgeons that were supposed to help surgeons with the positioning of the components of the knee replacement, as well as to guide the marking of the bone prior to cutting.

Back in November, the company sent a message to all surgeons registered with the company to cease their orders. A voluntary recall came three months later, with the firm explaining at that time that a number of the devices could have been improperly manufactured.

The firm admits that problems with the devices had been reported soon after the ShapeMatch Cutting Guides hit the market. Among problems identified was that patients who had been implanted with the device complained of failure, meaning they had to undergo a potentially risky revision surgery to have the situation corrected or the device replaced.

Stryker had initially advised only routine care for patient follow-ups. Now, patients whose surgeons used this product should contact their surgeon, especially if they have been experiencing pain, numbness or other adverse effects.

The recall won't affect other Stryker products, such as the Triathlon Knee System or the Triathlon standard instrumentation.

Still, we would advise anyone who has undergone a procedure with a Stryker product to keep a watchful eye on the overall condition. News of this development with ShapeMatch was somewhat unsurprising, given Stryker's history. In March, the FDA received a series of additional injury and death reports regarding the firm's surgical waste management system, called Neptune. The two different components of the system essentially act as a vacuum to suction fluid from patients in the midst of a procedure. However, these devices ended up being recalled last year, after the FDA received word that one patient died and another was injured after the suction was improperly applied.

Stryker is also the manufacturer of the Rejuvenate hip replacement device. As you may recall, this product has been found responsible for increased rates of metallosis in patients. This is a condition involving the build-up of metal debris in the body's soft tissue. The Rejuvenate product has also been linked to a high rate of early failure, meaning many patients have had to undergo additional corrective surgery to have the faulty device replaced.

Patients with questions about the ShapeMatch Class 1 recall may also call Stryker directly at 1-888-STRYKER from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EDT Monday through Friday. For those who have suffered ill effects, we would also advise contacting an experienced product liability law firm.

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