Articles Posted in Defective Products

Our nation’s veterans and active military members deserve our respect and appreciation for the tough job they do in protecting our country and our way of life. Unfortunately, veterans and active duty service members have not been treated with the type of respect we would hope when it comes to a brand of earplugs manufactured under the 3M umbrella, which has led to hearing loss and permanent hearing damage due to serious design flaws. If you or a loved one has suffered hearing loss as a result of the use of these earplugs, contact a personal injury attorney from Altman & Altman LLP today.

3M subject to many lawsuits over these common military earplugs

3M is a multinational conglomerate corporation which owns many subsidiary companies that manufacture any different type of medical and pharmaceutical products imaginable. One of these companies, Aearo Technologies, manufactured a type of protective earplug in 2000 that was intended to be useful when worn two different ways – one way would supposedly block out all loud sounds, while the other way would block out most loud sounds but still allow the wearer to hear soft sounds, like the instructions of a fellow soldier or commanding officer.

Aearo Technologies was bought by 3M in 2008, and since 3M won a bid to become the exclusive supplier of protective earplugs to the military between 2003 and 2012, they sought to continue selling these earplugs, which are called “Combat Arms.”

What is now the subject of many lawsuits is the fact that 3M allegedly knew from the moment they purchased the company that the Combat Arms earplugs had a crucial design flaw which essentially rendered them completely useless in a loud combat situation.

3M allegedly knew about this complaint because Aearo Technologies noted the presence design flaw during the earplug’s production in 2000 – when the technician testing the plugs took an extra step when inserting them to prevent the design flaw from affecting their sound blocking capabilities – a step that would not be immediately apparent to anybody unless they were made aware of it beforehand. There is good reason to suspect 3M would know about this flaw, because the technician that worked for Aearo Technologies was brought on board to work for 3M after they were acquired.

Lawsuits allege that both Aearo, and 3M after they acquired Aearo, knowingly misled the U.S. government and the thousands of U.S. military service members who relied on the faulty earplugs, which resulted in many cases of temporary and even permanent hearing damage.

These earplugs caused real damage, and Altman & Altman LLP can help

Research from complainants show that during the time interval in which 3M and Aearo was supplying Combat Arms earplugs to the military, cases of hearing loss and tinnitus in combat veterans spiked to a significant degree. This is simply unconscionable that a company trusted with the care of military service members could fail to protect one of their most crucial senses, despite having good reason to suspect there was a flaw in the design of one of their most highly sold products.

Selling defective products which are known to have a design flaw that renders them ineffective in their original purpose is unethical and it is also against the law. There is good evidence to suggest that 3M should have recognized the design flaw in these earplugs and accounted for that, but instead they chose to continue selling the earplugs to continue making a profit, allegedly at the expense of our brave men and women in uniform. Continue reading

Johnson & Johnson has recently had to pull over 33,000 bottles of baby powder off the shelves after the Food and Drug Administration discovered evidence of asbestos – which is known to cause cancer – in one of the bottles. It is not the first time Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder has been feared to introduce people to the risk of contracting cancer. If you have reason to believe you or a loved one has been exposed to cancer-causing elements via their baby powder, contact Altman & Altman LLP today.

More lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson contributes to long list

Pharmaceutical titan Johnson & Johnson is known throughout the world for being the corporate owner of widely-used products such as Tylenol and Motrin – in addition to hundreds of other products that span a wide range of industries. However, they may very well be more notorious for their long list of lawsuits that continues to grow with each passing year.

The company – which made nearly $82 billion in profit in 2018 – is embattled with over 100,000 lawsuits against it due to people claiming they have come into harm due to the use of their products. Over 15 percent of those are directly related to lawsuits coming from those who have used their talc-based baby powder products.

Users of their baby powder who have brought suit in the past have made claims that the baby powder contributed to their contracting of various cancers – from talcum powder contributing to ovarian cancer to the same powder causing mesothelioma, a form of respiratory cancer that is traditionally caused by asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that is confirmed to be an aggressive carcinogen.

As a result of the positive test for asbestos within the baby powder – which is manufactured in China – the FDA recommended that all users of Johnson & Johnson talc-based powders should cease using them immediately and indefinitely. Johnson & Johnson, meanwhile, has denied any wrongdoing and liability for the test, instead shifting an accusatory tone of defensiveness towards the FDA testing process.

This is not uncommon for large companies to do. Even in cases where Johnson & Johnson has been found to be negligent in their contributions to a victim’s pain and suffering, they have been unwilling to accept the verdicts set against them and take responsibility – like what occurred when they were hit with a monumental $8 billion jury verdict against them following a claim that their anti-psychotic drug Risperdal had caused the man taking it to develop female-like breasts. Continue reading

Pharmaceutical giant Bayer, who owns fellow agrochemical and agricultural biotechnical giant Monsanto, is reportedly seeking to settle over 18,000 lawsuits filed against it over claims that Monsanto’s wildly popular weed killer – Roundup – may cause cancer in individuals who have had prolonged exposure to the chemical over a long period of time. If you have any reason to believe your health was negatively impacted by use of Roundup weed killer, it is imperative you contact an attorney from Altman & Altman LLP immediately to potentially be eligible for a piece of this settlement.

Bayer is now looking to settle this large pile of lawsuits for a reported $8 billion, despite insisting throughout the increasing number of lawsuits filed that there is no credible evidence linking Roundup – or its primary ingredient, glyphosate – with an increased risk of contracting cancer.

Already, a jury verdict resulted in a more than $2 billion award for a California couple earlier this summer after they alleged that they both contracted non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma within four years of each other despite having no genetic history of the disease. Another man received a settlement worth more than $289 million last year, before having that lowered to $39 million.

Throughout these lawsuits and others, Bayer and Monsanto have testified that there is no evidence that Roundup causes cancer, but the fact remains that the World Health Organization maintains that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic,” meaning it is an ingredient that can increase the chance of contracting cancer in those exposed to it.

There’s still time to file a suit

Any reasonable person could look at this situation and ask one simple question: If Bayer maintains there is no credible evidence linking Roundup with developing cancer, why would they reportedly be willing to settle these cases out of court for $8 billion? The unfortunate answer is that it is likely more cost-effective and less distracting for Bayer. Bayer amassed nearly $40 billion in revenue in 2018, with a reported total list of assets worth over $126 billion.

While paying out $8 billion is certainly not a small price to pay for Bayer, it is well within their means and likely makes more sense than continuing to fight out the issue in court, which could continue for many more months, potentially years, and would also continue to keep them firmly in the public eye as news would continue to cover the suits throughout the litigation.

By taking care of the lawsuits in one large lump sum, they can potentially even save money – especially judging by the aforementioned $2 billion award that was granted to just two individuals.

However, nothing has been settled yet, and there is still time to file a complaint of your own against Monsanto/Bayer if you or a loved one has developed cancer after years of using Roundup weed killer. If you have no reason to believe their cancer was caused by something else, like genetic predisposition or exposure to other more established carcinogens (such as long-term smoking of cigarettes), then you may have a good chance of being able to collect as part of any large settlement. Continue reading

Juul Labs, the manufacturer behind the country’s most popular e-cigarette product, JUUL, are currently facing scrutiny from lawmakers in the United States House of Representatives for their alleged role in a sharp uptick in e-cigarette usage among young children and teenagers throughout the country.

The company has denied these claims, recently telling the economic subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform that their goal has been to “eliminate cigarettes for good,” and that “Juul Labs isn’t big tobacco,” and that their top priority is “combating underage use.”

But can such a claim, that JUUL should not be compared to the villainous antics of big tobacco companies of the past, be taken for true at face value? After all, Altria – the parent company of Philip Morris USA, which manufacturers the iconic Marlboro brand of cigarettes – purchased a 35 percent stake of Juul Labs in December of 2018.

Experts have also found that Juul Labs has engaged in similar advertising campaigns – like using young, attractive models and marketing exciting names and tasty flavors – as tobacco companies of the past. These tactics, critics and lawmakers allege, have been specially crafted to make the products more attractive to young kids and teenagers. The brand used to have a strong presence on social media, but they have since shut those accounts down under increased scrutiny.

E-cig and JUUL use explodes among youth

According to government estimates and surveys, as many as 20 percent of high school students in America tried an e-cigarette product last year. Their widespread availability, price, variation of flavors and discrete size has made JUUL a common choice for teenagers. Electronic cigarettes also do not produce the pungent smell of a traditional cigarette, so they are able to secretly use them within buildings and in places that otherwise would be impossible with traditional cigarettes.

The prevalence of e-cigarette products pre-date JUUL, as they began to gain popularity in the mid-2000s, however JUUL has been able to capitalize on a market that has grown exponentially faster than scientific data has been able to keep up with.

Research on whether or not electronic cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes has taken time, and results remain inconclusive. As of this writing, there is no confirmed research to back up the claim that vaporized nicotine products are safer than traditional cigarettes. However, this hasn’t stopped e-cigarette manufacturers like JUUL from claiming their products to be a safer alternative. JUUL even includes testimonials on their website from people who “made the switch” from cigarettes to their products.

What research has shown, however, is that vaporized e-cigarette products contain other health risks that are still not well understood. For example, the chemical diacetyl – which is added to food products such as popcorn for its buttery flavor – is common in e-cigarettes and JUUL products for improving flavor and smoothness of the vaporized product. The problem is that when diacetyl is vaporized, it becomes a harmful respiratory irritant, potentially leading to serious complications such as popcorn lung. Continue reading

Hotels are in a constant race with one another to be the most stylish and modern in the hopes to attract customers away from their competitors. Unfortunately, what looks like the coolest or the nicest room accent may not be the safest – and in the case of so-called sliding “barn doors” within hotel rooms, they can be downright dangerous. If you or a loved one were injured following an incident with a hotel barn door, contact the personal injury attorneys at the Cambridge, Mass. firm of Altman & Altman LLP today.

What is a hotel barn door?

Barn style doors within a hotel room are doors that open via a sliding mechanism that is mounted to the wall above a doorway. They are often used as an entrance to the bathroom within the hotel room, and sometimes slide into recesses within the walls to give the illusion of “disappearing” when they are open.

Depending on exactly how they are manufactured, these types of doors can weigh over 200 pounds. There are various pieces required for their assembly, including pieces that make up the door, its mount, and then pieces that allow the mount to be secured to the wall. There are many moving pieces as well, which enables to door to slide from open to closed.

These doors often include various means to prevent misuse and malfunction, such as rails to keep the door on a track that prevents it from being lifted away from the wall, or from moving too far in any one direction. However, as with any product and manufactured item, these implements can be faulty or completely malfunction at the exact wrong moment, causing an injury.

How did the door cause your injury?

As established in the earlier portion, these doors can be extremely heavy. If the failsafe measures within the door were to fail, it could potentially cause the door to fall and land on someone in its path. Such an incident could cause significant injuries, such as broken bones and head injuries, like concussions.

There are various reasons why these doors could malfunction and cause an injury, many of which could potentially be grounds for a successful personal injury claim that could net you significant financial compensation, which could pay for medical treatment, physical therapy and make up for lost income from being unable to work while you recover.

Some examples of situations that may have led to a door malfunction include:

  • The door was improperly installed by the hotel’s contractor during renovations, either because they didn’t know how to properly install one or due to a mistake
  • The door’s design is faulty, making it possible to come off its railing or become unstable through normal use
  • The hotel failed to properly maintain the door over a number of months or years, which enabled screws mounting the door to the wall (or other functional components) to become loose and fallible, causing the door to fall during normal use

Continue reading

Drivers of Fiat Chrysler, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi and Toyota vehicles may be at critical risk of catastrophic injuries due to the potential for their car’s airbag systems to be dysfunctional or fail to deploy entirely. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating ZF TRW Automotive brand airbag systems and recalls are possible for these types of vehicles and more. If you are concerned about the safety of your vehicle or want a legal opinion after an accident has occurred, the personal injury experts at the Cambridge firm of Altman & Altman LLP are here to help you.

Airbag functionality is essential to safety

Thousands of accidents occur every day in America, and when you wind up in one you need to be able to rely on a few key safety components of your vehicle to keep you from becoming more seriously injured. One of those key components is your car’s airbag system – which should automatically deploy in the event of a crash in order to cushion you from the worst effects of the impact.

Airbag systems have become far more complex and reliable since they were first standardized in the early 1980s. However, this does not guarantee that manufacturers of airbags are incapable of making crucial errors that compromise the integrity and safety of these systems – putting people at risk and forcing hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of vehicles to be recalled to address the issue.

Already there have been 12.3 million vehicles investigated by the NHTSA due to a concern they may contain faulty TRW airbag systems. No recalls have been issued at this time, but the fact that the NHTSA is taking matters so seriously indicates the possibility for recalls to be issued in the future.

There have already been recalls ordered for another airbag system made by another company, Takata, which made headlines for their airbags that were prone to having explosive incidents. In the case of TRW, the issue is that electrical malfunctions may cause the airbag system to fail to detect a crash and fail to deploy when they matter most. The investigations were launched in part due to two separate incidents where the airbags failed to deploy – and in one of those cases, the failure resulted in a fatality. Continue reading

Any surgical procedure comes with risks, but in the case of hernia surgeries those risks may not have been adequately communicated to patients. Hernia mesh products have faced recalls and significant legal scrutiny over their tendency to shrink, degrade or migrate, causing serious medical consequences. Anybody who has suffered pain or additional medical procedures following the application of surgical hernia mesh should contact a personal injury attorney at Altman & Altman LLP today.

What is surgical hernia mesh, and how is it dangerous?

Surgical hernia mesh is a medical device made from either organic or synthetic materials, usually the latter, which is intended to hold a hernia in place during surgery and prevent it from reoccurring following a surgery to repair it. It is a thin piece of woven mesh that is intended to not only be safe for the patient, but actually help them towards a successful surgery and recovery.

Earlier this week, a tragic accident involving a 16-year-old boy and an automatic seat in a Honda Odyssey Minivan occurred in Cincinnati, Ohio. As he reached into the back of the minivan to retrieve tennis equipment, Kyle Plush became trapped between the vehicle’s third row of seats and its rear gate. According to reports, the seats flipped backward as the high school sophomore was kneeling on them, trapping him in the cargo well. Following the accident, Autoweek reported that Honda Odyssey seats have been the cause of multiple vehicle recalls in recent months. The model involved in Plush’s death, however, was not one of the recalled vehicles. A Boston defective products attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

Were Emergency Responders at Fault?

Plush’s tragic death has called into question the safety of the minivan and whether the seat was defective. The response of emergency responders is also being investigated. According to police reports, Plush called 911 by way of Siri on his smartphone. However, due to the distance between Plush and his phone, the young man was unable to hear the 911 responder asking for his location.

Five minutes after his 911 call, police arrived at Plush’s school—where the Odyssey was parked—but were unable to locate Plush or his vehicle. He was finally found, nearly six hours after his call for help, by his father. Sadly, he was pronounced dead at the scene. The coroner’s report listed asphyxia as the cause of death.

Following the incident, Cincinnati police have launched an investigation into Plush’s death. According to some reports, 911 responders may have failed to accurately relay information to the officers who searched for Plush in the moments following the call. Had they found him then, the 16-year-old may have survived.

800,000 Honda Odysseys Have Been Recalled

Between 2011 and 2017, approximately 800,000 Odysseys were recalled due to a defect in its second row seats. Apparently these seats could tilt forward if not properly latched. This defect caused a total of 46 minor injuries, but Plush was the first case involving a person being trapped in the Odyssey’s cargo well. Although Plush’s death was likely a freak accident, it may be indicative of a larger problem with Honda Odysseys, and many other recently-recalled automobiles. A MA defective products attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

Besides posting videos about how to resolve the potential issue, Honda has yet to address its previous seating problems. And over the past few years, serious defects have plagued the auto insurance industry, with more than 70 million cars being recalled. One of the worst defects in recent history involved exploding Takata airbags, which contributed to at least 11 fatalities. Continue reading

Earlier this month, a pedestrian bridge collapsed at the Florida International University. Six people were killed and nine were injured. One of those injured—a cyclist—has filed the first lawsuit following this tragic accident.

According to the lawsuit, 24-year-old Marquise Rashaad Hepburn was cycling under the bridge when a large section of the bridge fell onto the roadway below. To avoid being crushed by the 174-foot span of concrete, a motor vehicle driver swerved, crashing into Hepburn. A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by another’s negligence.

Hepburn’s lawsuit claims that the negligence of three companies contributed to the bridge collapse. It names the company responsible for designing and constructing the bridge, the company responsible for providing inspection services, and the company responsible for reviewing the bridge’s design.

Tests Were Being Performed at Time of Collapse

The brand-new pedestrian bridge wasn’t even officially open when the collapse occurred. All of the victims were on the roadway below. Inspectors had noticed some cracking a few days earlier, but said the cracks were not a safety issue. According to the complaint, stress tests of the bridge were being conducted on the morning of the collapse. Workers adjusted the bridge’s tension rods, a delicate process which can become problematic if a rod is over-tightened or made too loose.

Had traffic been re-routed during these tests, the injuries and fatalities could have been avoided. Further, a March 13 voicemail left by the bridge project’s lead engineer for an official of the Florida Department of Transportation, reveals the engineer’s comments about visible cracks in the bridge. According to the lawsuit, the engineer didn’t seem overly concerned with the cracks.

In addition to the pending civil lawsuit, the Miami-Dade Police Department is launching a criminal investigation into the matter.

What Causes a Bridge to Collapse?

Bridge failure can occur for myriad reasons. Some of the most common include:

  • Design defects
  • Improper construction materials
  • Inadequate maintenance
  • Inadequate inspections

Continue reading

If your baby has a VTech rattle or travel mobile, potential defects could result in serious injury. According to WebMD, the company issued a recall due to the risk of choking and “struck-by” injuries.

What Products were Recalled?

Although no injuries have been reported to date, the two products below pose a risk of serious injury or death. If you have either of these products, remove them from your home immediately.

  • Shake & Sing Elephant Rattle: At least five consumers have reported that the elephant’s ears have broken off. Being quite small, the ears pose a serious choking risk to young children and babies. As a result, about 280,000 rattles have been recalled. The affected rattles were purchased online and at retail locations, including Amazon and Walmart, between November 2015 and November 2017.
  • Lights and Lullabies Travel Mobile: The company indicated that this mobile can be “risky to kids” due to a “plastic arm that clamps to a crib can crack and cause the mobile to fall into the crib.” As a result, an infant can be struck by the mobile, resulting in head injuries or bruising. Between February and November 2017, approximately 37,000 of the affected mobiles were purchased online and at multiple retail locations.

If you have one of these recalled product’s, it is in your best interest to stop using it immediately. A Boston defective products lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a defective or dangerous product.

Child Injuries Related to Products or Objects in the Home

Fortunately, no injuries from the products above have been reported. However, defective and dangerous products injure thousands of children every year. Safe Kids Worldwide has released a report showing the severity of this problem. Some of the statistics from the report are included below.

  • The most common cause of serious injury to children in the home is suffocation. In fact, nearly 1,300 children died by suffocation in 2013.
  • In 2013, more than 22,000 children went to the emergency room for injuries related to suffocation.
  • The vast majority of children who die from suffocation are under age one (80 percent).
  • About 26 kids die annually due to furniture tip-overs and other “struck-by” injuries.
  • Approximately 188,000 children require emergency medical treatment every year due to injuries caused by children’s toys.
  • More than 150 children are fatally injured from choking each year.

Determining Liability

If your child has been injured by a product defect, who is liable? This is a complex question, requiring extensive research and the help of an attorney who specializes in product liability. The distribution chain for a product includes multiple parties; different companies often design the product, manufacture the product and sell the product, and any or all can be liable for a defect. Product defects generally fit into one of three categories – design, manufacturing or marketing. A MA defective products attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by a defective or dangerous product. Continue reading

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