We have earned an enviable reputation nationwide because we have proven we can fight and win against negligent companies, no matter how big they are.
The Ferraro Law Firm focuses on and has the resources to handle the most challenging cases with efficiency and professionalism.
There are plenty of attorneys who won’t take major case because it costs major dollars to work it up. That doesn’t happen here. We’re willing to take risks because that’s how you become successful.

DSC05181.JPGGenerally, for a manufacturer to be liable for product liability, the product must have been defective at the time of the first sale. If the defect resulted from a modification that occurred after the original sale of the product, the manufacturer will generally not be held liable. The U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals recently considered the application of this rule in a case in which a product had been repaired with unused original parts that were designed to be used with a previous version of the product.

Birch v. Polaris Industries, Inc., arose from the death of a man in an off-road vehicle accident. The vehicle flipped over and pinned the man.

Less than two weeks after the man purchased the vehicle in 2011, the roll-over protection structure was destroyed when the vehicle flipped in an accident. The man received an estimate that indicated it would cost more than $6,000 to repair the roll cage and other damage. He asked the technician who provided the estimate to perform the repairs on the side. The technician, who was certified by the manufacturer as a master service dealer technician, agreed to repair the vehicle. He bought a new roll-over protection structure off Craigslist.com, but it was designed for use with a 2008 model of the vehicle. There were several changes to the roll-over protection structure between 2008 and 2009, and the technician had to grind tabs off the mainframe to make it work.

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Thumbnail image for dangerous-goods-labels-1245644.jpgMany states have codified at least part of the state law regarding product liability, often based on a version of the Restatement of Torts. These statutes set forth who may recover and who is liable for a defective product. The South Carolina statute is based on the Second Restatement and provides for liability for injuries to the “ultimate user or consumer.” S.C. Code Ann. § 15-73-10. In Lawing v. Univar USA, Inc., the South Carolina Supreme Court recently considered when an employee qualifies as a “user” for the purposes of the state’s product liability statute and whether the sophisticated user defense is available in a case based on the inadequate labeling of a product.

Three employees of a manufacturing plant were severely injured in a fire that occurred while the plant was shut down for maintenance. The employees were using an oxyacetylene torch to cut some pipe when a piece of hot slag landed on or near a pallet of sodium bromate. The pallet erupted into a ball of fire. The three employees, along with the wife of one of them, filed suit against Univar USA, Inc., Trinity Manufacturing, Inc., and Matrix Outsourcing, LLC, all of whom were in the distribution chain for the sodium bromate purchased by the employer. The employer bought the sodium bromate from Univar, which sourced it through Trinity, which obtained it through Matrix from a Chinese manufacturer. The product was shipped from the manufacturer to the employer, and none of the defendants ever had it in its possession.

The lawsuits included claims for strict liability, negligence, and breach of the implied warranty of merchantability. One employee and his wife also had a breach of express warranty claim against Univar, as well as a loss of consortium claim for the wife against all of the defendants.
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car-door-handle-1428910.jpgIn some states, trial courts have the power to increase an inadequate jury verdict or reduce an excessive verdict. The law varies somewhat by state, but generally the court may not change the jury’s verdict without a strong reason to do so.

The South Carolina Supreme Court recently reviewed a product liability case in which the trial judge had added $600,000 to the amount awarded by the jury. In Riley v. Ford Motor Company, a county sheriff was killed in an automobile accident when a 16-year-old driver pulled out in front of him. The sheriff swerved the Ford F-150 in an effort to avoid hitting the other vehicle but was unable to avoid a collision. The Ford’s door swung open, and the sheriff was ejected from the truck. He died from his injuries.

The sheriff’s widow filed suit against both the other driver and Ford. She alleged a design defect in the door-latch system. She settled with the other driver, agreeing to allocate $5,000 to the wrongful death claim and $20,000 to the survival claim. The court approved the settlement, and the claims against the driver were dismissed.
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heartdoctor.jpgA product intended to prevent blood clots for those at high risk may in fact be extremely dangerous, and questions are being raised about manufacturers’ knowledge of those risks. We’re talking about IVC filters – short for inferior vena cava blood clot filters.

A recent report by NBC News has shed light on problems with the devices, which have reportedly been connected to 27 deaths and more than 300 adverse effects, some of which were life-threatening.

That’s according to government data on just one of these devices, known as the “Recovery” model, sold by C.R. Bard, a medical products firm.
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hunting1.jpgAs we approach deer hunting season, many hunters are preparing by setting up tree stands. These are elevated platforms – usually 10 to 30 feet – that give hunters a greater vantage point and make it tougher for deer to pick up on human scent.

But these stands are known to be dangerous. In 2010, a decade-long study by trauma centers in Ohio, published in The American Surgeon medical journal, revealed tree stand falls were a bigger problem for hunters than gun shots, element exposure or animal encounters. These falls, which accounted for 60 percent of all hunting accidents, resulted in severe injuries, often broken bones and sometimes paralysis, quadriplegia, and traumatic brain damage.

The stands were first commercialized in the 1970s, and within 20 years there were more than 100 manufacturers. It wasn’t until 2004 the stands came standard with harnesses, but emergency room doctors are finding many hunters aren’t using them – or aren’t using them correctly. In the case of Bradley v. Ameristep, Inc., however, it was alleged the ratchet straps were used properly by the hunter. The problem was they had degraded significantly from element exposure, rendering them unsafe.
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steeringwheel.jpgA reporter for Wired.com agreed to be the guinea pig for an experiment by two hackers who keyed in to the “infotainment” dashboard on his Jeep Cherokee.

The reporter was not told what the hackers would do once they gained access, but he was told not to panic and to know they would do nothing to endanger his life or the lives of others on the road. They didn’t exactly keep that promise.

At first, they tampered with the windshield wipers. Then, they blasted the radio. As the reporter cruised down the highway, his air conditioning went on full blast. He hadn’t once taken his hands off the steering wheel. But then they killed the transmission while the reporter was on the highway. The accelerator stopped immediately. He frantically stepped on the pedal, but there was nothing. He was stopped on the highway with no shoulder, cars backing up behind him. A semi-truck approached as a line of cars piled up behind him, horns honking. He called and begged them to turn the transmission back on immediately.
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atthewheel.jpgThe death of a four-year-old child in 2012 was caused by a vehicle defectively designed with a rear fuel tank, a jury in Georgia recently decided. For this, the manufacturer was ordered to pay $150 million in damages to the boy’s family.

At the conclusion of a two-week trial, jurors determined Chrysler Group LLC was liable for the child’s death and had failed in its duty to warn customers of the fire danger they faced in a rear-end collision as a result of the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s fuel tank being located at the back.

The company has recalled some 1.6 million Jeep vehicles specifically for the rear tank issue. However, the model involved in this case – the 1999 version – was not on that list. Jurors, finding the auto company had acted with reckless and wanton disregard for the well-being of consumers, apportioned 99 percent of damages to the firm. The remaining 1 percent is the responsibility of the driver who rear-ended the vehicle.
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fireworks.jpgThe Fourth of July is closely associated with celebratory explosions, also known as fireworks. Generally, those attending large-scale, public displays are safe from injury.

However, when individuals purchase these devices, there is a higher potential for danger. These is the possibility of misuse and failure to follow safe procedures. But beyond that, there is the risk of a product defect.

Defective fireworks are actually a bigger problem than many people realize. A 2009 report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission indicated half the imported fireworks shipments its workers had screened contained faulty fireworks.
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bicycle.jpgFlorida is the leading state for bicycle injuries and fatalities. Most of those incidents can be attributed to collisions with motor vehicles. But in some cases, injured cyclists should not overlook the possibility that defective design or manufacturing of the bicycle itself may be partially or solely to blame.

Recently, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall notice of hundreds of bicycles manufactured early this year by GT. The down hill mountain bicycle is a risk to riders because the front wheel hub has the potential to break and cause the disc brake system to fail. In turn, this poses a major crash and injury risk to riders. The recall involves all 2015 model year GT Fury Elite and GT Fury Expert downhill mountain bikes.

No injuries have thus far been reported in relation to the defect, but the Connecticut-based importer has received reports of two broken hubs. These bicycles, which were made in Taiwan, retail for between $3,200 and $4,400.
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ladder6.jpgFalls are a leading cause of death, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and nearly half of those fatal falls occur from ladders.

Such was the case for a man whose family later sued the ladder manufacturer for designing a defective product. The case, Coba v. Tricam Indus., Inc., asserted strict liability for the allegedly defective 13-foot ladder.

Jurors at trial sided with the plaintiffs, awarding $1.5 million in their product liability wrongful death case. But the jury’s verdict was technically inconsistent. They found there was not a design defect in the ladder, but they still found the defendant was negligent and that negligence resulted in the decedent’s death. They found the decedent 80 percent liable and the defendant 20 percent liable, thus awarding the estate $350,000.
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