Product Liability

Product Liability: Product Labels Can Be Deceptive

Product Liability: Product Labels Can Be Deceptive

When you think of deceptive product labels, you probably think about food labels in general. There certainly have been plenty of media stories on the news and on reliable internet sources detailing how certain labels attempt to mislead you with words like “all-natural,” “sugar-free” and other claims. In fact, the glut labels that are purposely deceptive have caused a large increase in false advertising claims and litigation regarding label accuracy over the years.

But deceptive product labels aren’t just restricted to food labels. Products of all types may have deceptive or misleading information printed on their labels, and as such, product liability cases, in general, have also increased over the years.

What Is Product Liability?

Product liability refers to an incident in which an individual has suffered some form of harm, been injured or been killed by a product that is unsafe or defective. Typically, a personal injury case of this type in which product liability is called into question bases the case on a manufacturing or design defect. However, a product label containing misleading information (or a lack of important information as well) can be the basis of a product liability claim as well.

As a matter of fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) states that consumer products claims involving property damage, injury or death cost over $700 billion each year.

This number is staggering when you consider that when you purchase a food or consumer product, you are relying on the information detailed on the food packaging and labels to be true. Several deceptive label laws were enacted to try to stem deceptive labeling, including The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA).

Manufacturer Responsibility

The manufacturer of any product, whether it is a food product or consumer product, has a legal responsibility to properly provide details of the product and warn of any safety hazards a product might pose. This is why you see warning labels on products that are flammable and labels not to use electrical devices such as hair dryers while in the shower.

Although you might think many of the warning labels on various consumer products are common sense, there is always a chance that a label that is lacking sufficient warning information or missing entirely can lead to accidents and personal injury claims. A good example of this is the warning label often found on ladders stating that you shouldn’t step on the very top step of the ladder, as it isn’t safe to do so.

Improper use of a ladder is one of the top causes of ladder accidents. In fact, a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that of those injured in ladder accidents, 73 percent stated that they had not seen or received documentation with safe ladder use instructions. So you can see why product labeling is important and how deceptive labels or product labels lacking important information can be of vital importance to proving a personal injury claim.

False Advertising Claims

Although the bulk of the responsibility lies with the manufacturer to ensure products are labeled honestly and properly, false advertising can also play a role in causing personal injury. Any parties involved in marketing and advertising of a product can be held liable for false claims. This includes marketing and advertising agencies, producers, endorsers of claims on the product label or in advertising materials, and even retailers who make false, deceptive or misleading claims in order to sell a product.

Some of the most misleading claims include those made by food products such as Kashi and Kellogg’s cereals, as well as “healthy” products such as Emergen-C, which all claimed to be healthier than they actually were and used deceptive labeling to fool consumers. While those types of claims may not actually result in any type of personal injury for many, consider those with food allergies who suffered medical injury or death as a result of food products not being labeled properly.

Food companies in particular also have a “duty-to-warn” consumers if chemicals, carcinogens or toxins are present in food items, especially bottled drinking water. Companies who do not sufficiently warn consumers could be facing a liability lawsuit.

Consumer products that also contain harsh chemicals, such as laundry detergents and cleaning products, have a legal responsibility to label the products properly. Failure to do so can lead to injury as a result of exposure to chemicals and toxins. An example is The Honest Company, which failed to disclose on product labels that several of its products contained harsh chemicals that irritated the skin.

We Can Help

We will give your case the personal attention you deserve and strive to obtain the best verdict possible in your product liability case. If you or a loved one has experienced an injury, pain, and suffering, or other undue experience as a result of deceptive product labeling, you may have a case of product liability. Contact the experienced professionals at Colucci Law and request a free consultation. Our attorneys have a great deal of experience handling complex product liability and product labeling cases and can help you receive funds for medical expenses, as well as any other compensation you need and deserve, such as lost wages and future care needs.

Product Liability

There is absolutely no doubt that products are safer today than ever before, and in large part that is due to lawsuits. I know that nobody wants to give lawyers credit for anything, but it is the truth. When a lawyer rightfully sues because a product is defective and hurts someone, they effect change.  Manufacturers don’t want to continually get sued, so when they realize that there is a legitimate problem with something that they’ve designed and put it into the flow of commerce, they address it.  If they do it on their own it’s entitled a “recall”; when they change it because of a lawsuit it is called progress.  It all really makes sense.   Manufacturers make money by putting products into commerce for people to use.  That’s the system we live in and it’s the American way.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with it.  But when you introduce any item for public consumption, you are silently warranting that that product is safe for its intended use.

We recently handled a case where a 55 year old banker was riding a bicycle that broke. He didn’t hit anything, there was no pothole encountered, there was no rock in the middle of the road.  The frame of the bike simply broke.  A case like that could come down to faulty design, faulty materials, faulty workmanship or owner error. The lawyer’s job is to take the facts and have them analyzed to come up with the most likely cause of the accident.  In that instance we gave the bike to a mechanical engineer at MIT who then performed tests on the metal to see how much stress it could take.  It became a matter of science that the bicycle was woefully inadequate and that the metal simply wasn’t strong enough to deal with the fatigue associated with normal wear and tear.

It’s an unspoken agreement between the consumer and the manufacturer that if a product is put into commerce that it has been designed adequately and tested properly. That the materials chosen are of sufficient strength and that the consumer can use it in an anticipated manner.  Same is true for any product.  Your airbag should not go off for no reason, your toaster should not catch fire and vaporizers should not burn children.  We’ve handled all those cases at one time or another.  If you are injured because of any product, and you were in the course of using the product appropriately, a case probably exists.  If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation please know that there will be two goals:  the first is that you will be adequately compensated for the injuries you sustained; and the second will be that the company will now be on notice that the product is not fit for its intended purpose and that they need to notify people of the danger or recall the product to address the concern.

Pharmacy Error

Who’s to Blame for a Pharmacy Error?

Modern medicine is expensive, and that’s especially true if you’ve ever had to pay out of pocket. Pharmaceutical costs can be particularly high, and that’s why we expect workers at pharmacies to meet the highest standards. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way in the real world and people can get seriously hurt or killed from a pharmacy error.

A pharmacy error is when a person gets a prescription filled at a pharmacy and unknowingly receives the wrong drug. They may come in for a painkiller and instead receive something that changes their blood pressure. This can easily be a lethal scenario, and unfortunately, patients usually can’t tell they received the wrong drug when they open the bottle.


Who causes a pharmacy error?


Pharmacy errors include any inconsistencies or deviations from the prescription order, such as dispensing the incorrect drug, dose, dosage form, wrong quantity, or inappropriate, incorrect, or inadequate labeling

We’ve never seen a case where a doctor wrote down the wrong medication. We’ve also never seen a case where the prescription note was misread because of poor penmanship. If the pharmacy staff can’t read it, they always call the doctor’s office to double check.

What’s far more common is someone inside the pharmacy is paying more attention to their coworker than to the important prescription drug task they are working on, and they end up putting the wrong medication in the bottle.

There could be other issues, like if a pharmacy is understaffed and employees rush to fill orders, work when fatigued, or receive poor training. Regardless, the mistake always comes down to human error inside the pharmacy, and that is the responsibility of both the staff and the owner of the pharmacy.


What do you do now?


If someone in your family has been hurt by a pharmacy error, give us a call at 1 (888) 330-6657 or contact us and we can talk to you about your rights and possible next steps.

Product Liability Problems: When Healing Becomes Hurting

We’re in the middle of a cold New England winter and for many of us, that means we’re suffering the ubiquitous head cold. Not surprisingly, young children are particularly susceptible as their attendance in school subjects them to throngs of other children, many of whom are infected with a virus.

As parents, we seek to do all that we can to alleviate the unpleasantness experienced by our children when they are ill. Care must be taken, however, to ensure that our well-meaning efforts don’t create a bigger problem. Unfortunately, some of the products we buy are not designed with safety in mind and the devices we use to help our children can end up harming them.

For example, we recently represented a two-year-old girl who had previously developed symptoms of ordinary congestion. Her primary care doctor recommended she use a warm steam vaporizer. The girl’s parents purchased the defendant’s vaporizer, which contained warnings to keep the apparatus away from children. Even still, the parents placed the vaporizer on the child’s floor at bedtime.

The unit was equipped with a glowing orange night light that, the manufacturer advertised, promoted “safety.” The child unexpectedly woke in the middle of the night to notice a strange, glowing orange orb on her floor. When she approached closely to investigate, a burst of steam emanated from the vaporizer and scalded her face. She was left with a visible and permanent scar under her eye.

What Made This a Product Liability Case?

We hired an MIT engineer who tested the unit and opined that it emitted an exceedingly hot plume of steam which can disfigure upon only “momentary contact.” The expert also noted that the steam exhausted by the vaporizer should not have exceeded 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and should also have been equipped with a guard that would have diffused the scalding steam.

This device was not designed with personal safety in mind, and as a result, an innocent child was hurt. That’s the most heartbreaking aspect of product liability cases – the harm could easily be prevented if the company that made the device had just taken simple steps to ensure safety.

During several years of litigation, the manufacturer denied any responsibility only to ultimately settle the case with us for nearly $2 million.

The moral of the story is that sometimes products that we routinely purchase are not what they appear. Care must be taken to ensure that any such product can be used safely. This is particularly true if the product is being used around small children.

Protecting Your Family

If you or someone you know has been hurt because of a flawed product, give us a call at 1 (888) 330-6657 or contact us and we can talk to you about your options.

When Your Lawyer Is Part Of The Problem

Hating lawyers is as American as grass stains on a kid’s blue jeans, but is it justified?

A recent Pew Research Center study reveals that just 18 percent of those polled believe that lawyers make a positive contribution to society. Having practiced myself for nearly 30 years, I know that most lawyers do good work, are reliable, trustworthy and honorable. We’re good people, and we work hard.

There are times, however, when “One Bad Apple” seems to spoil the whole barrel. Our office handles cases against negligent lawyers, many of whom maintain insurance in the event of their malpractice. When a lawyer gets sued for legal malpractice, his or her insurance company customarily selects and pays for counsel to mount a defense to the lawsuit. In this unique instance, both counsel and client are lawyers.

Several years ago we won a jury trial against a negligent lawyer whose insurance company ultimately disclaimed coverage on the grounds that the insured acted intentionally. Insurance, they argued, covers accidents, not intentional acts. Simply put, we proved our case and won the trial but had no source from which we could recover the judgment that the jury had awarded to us. It subsequently came to light that the defendant/lawyer had previously and repeatedly requested that his assigned counsel make an effort to settle the case and thereby avoid the possible personal liability that a jury verdict could impose. These pleas fell on deaf ears, however. The verdict that we ultimately achieved created personal liability for the defendant/lawyer who could ill afford to pay a judgment in excess of $1,000,000. We instituted a new lawsuit against the defendant/lawyer’s counsel under the theory that he did not properly represent the interests of his client, (the lawyer being sued), but rather acted in a manner that was beneficial only to the insurance company, (the entity that selected him and paid his bills throughout the lengthy litigation). Through this new lawsuit, we learned that assigned counsel was so optimistic of his success at trial that he actually (and secretly), urged the insurance company not to settle the case prior to a jury verdict—all in defiance of the wishes of his client, the defendant/lawyer. We ultimately settled this case against the assigned counsel for more than the underlying judgment that we obtained against the original defendant/lawyer.

It’s well settled that a servant can’t serve two masters. The obligation of a lawyer is to his or her client, not the insurance company, (even though the insurance company is solely responsible for paying counsel’s bills). Why is this precept important to you? Because should you get into a routine car accident, your insurance company will select and pay for a lawyer to defend your interests. You want to make sure that whoever is assigned as your counsel acts in your best interests, rather than in the best interests of your insurance company.

Protecting Your Family

If you or someone you know has been hurt because of a negligent property owner, give us a call at 1 (888) 330-6657 or contact us and we can talk to you about your options.

Medical Malpractice – There’s nothing frivolous about being hurt

There’s a general perception by the public that there are a ton of medical malpractice cases that are being brought to court, and many of them are frivolous and are opportunistic attempts to make money. Frankly that isn’t true, and I’ll tell you why.

We handle a lot of medical malpractice cases here at our firm and we vet them very seriously. We probably reject 10 cases for every one that we would accept. Medical malpractice cases require an unbelievable amount of man hours, and unbelievable amount of money to prosecute. We take these cases on a contingent basis, so we’re not asking the clients for an money up front. We’re staking our money in trying to bring this case through litigation, and all the way to a trial if necessary.

The additional safeguard that exists is that medical malpractices are entitled to a tribunal. That is to say, a hearing before a judge, a lawyer and a medical doctor to determine whether a case has sufficient merit to move forward.

That’s why we are very careful about the cases that we take, and to take those cases that we believe has merit and we believe we can actually obtain a recovery for the client. You can reach us at 1 (888) 330-6657 and we’ll be happy to go over your options and let you know what your rights are.

Can you win with a bad lawyer?

We’ve been in existence as a firm for over 20 years, and during that time we have handled every foreseeable type of personal injury case. From regular motor vehicle accidents, construction accidents, and nursing home negligence, to quirky cases where a plane struck a house and injured people while they slept. We represented a poor woman who took medication that was mislabeled for over a month.

One of our attorneys had three tree cases, where someone was cutting down a tree and didn’t know what they were doing and the tree fell and injured someone. In one case, the tree fell and killed a gentleman.

With all of this experience I can tell you this unequivocally, it all comes down to your lawyer. Whether or not you’re going to get compensated, and more importantly, the amount of that compensation, comes down to the skill of the attorney you choose.

For the plaintiffs, it really is simple. They care about only one case: Theirs.

If it’s important to your family and your family’s future, then why take a chance? You want to go with someone who has experience and who has been there before.

With all the experience we have in the building, and having seen all these cases in every format, we feel comfortable with anything that comes in the door. We’re not the only one who say that, find out why Newsweek listed us as one of the top personal injury law firms in the country. Come give us a call at 1 (888) 330-6657 and we’ll be happy to let you know what your options are.

Have you been injured by a defective product?

The amount of products we use throughout our daily lives truly is astounding. From the refrigerators we use to preserve our food to the cars we use to get to work to the computers and phones we use to check our emails and communicate, hundreds of products exist to make our lives easier. Unfortunately not all products are created equal, and any one of these products being used with a defect could cause serious unexpected injury to the consumer.

A defective refrigerator that does not properly keep food cold could lead to the consumption of spoiled food and thus food poisoning or some other sickness. In Massachusetts, where snow often creates dangerous driving conditions, a car with defective tires may not slow down the way it is supposed to, which could lead to a car accident. Defective phones that overheat could cause burn injuries as we hold them up to our ears. The list goes on and on for every product that you use.

Before you become alarmed, remember that most products are tested and retested to ensure that they are safe for use. Even if a defect is discovered, most companies immediately initiate a product recall to prevent unexpected injuries or damages. However, some defective products slip through the cracks, and those injuries could mean lost wages, hospital bills or even death.

Fortunately for victims of defective products, they can defend themselves with a product liability case. A product liability case allows victims to be compensated for any injuries caused by defective products, as long as the victim can prove that the product was defective and the manufacturer or distributor is thus liable for the injuries.

For more information about product liability and how you could set up a free consultation to discuss the aspects of your case, you may further review here.

Legal Malpractice Practice Area

Can a regular person can stand up to a big company’s legal team?

All personal injury cases we handle are done on a contingency basis. Stated simply, that means that unless we’re successful, they don’t owe us any money at all. Nothing.

We love contingency work, and for three basic reasons.

First, we’re betting on ourselves. We love that, it makes us comfortable in every sense.

Second, we’re in it with the client. We have a joint interest. We’re joined together and we only win if our client wins.

Third, it gives regular people access to really good attorneys because they’re not paying for it out of their own pocket. It levels the playing field between a regular, everyday person and a huge company, which is often on the other side of a personal injury case.

So if a regular person can get their pick of top personal injury lawyers, why should they choose us? How do they know we’re the best. You don’t have to take our word for it, look at what Newsweek said when they featured us in their list of the very top lawyers in the country. If you’re still not sure, give us a call at 1 (888) 330-6657 and we’ll be happy to help you consider your options.

Why so many smoke detectors fail

We’ve come to learn that the smoke detector manufacturers continue to sell ionization smoke detectors. People are simply unaware of the difference, and the fact that if they rely on ionization they may be left with too little time to escape a fire in certain circumstances.

The two types are based upon the technology that operates the alarm mechanism. One is ionization, the other is photoelectric. In a smoldering fire situation where people may be asleep and unaware of the fact that the smoke is building up, a photoelectric will give you approximately, on average, 30 to 33 minutes earlier alarm sounding than an ionization.

The difference between the cost of a photoelectric and an ionization ranges from $2 to $4 per unit.

It’s amazing that that small cost can ensure the safety of your family in a situation where they need an early warning from a smoldering fire that they’re unaware of simply because they are asleep.

We have gathered a team electrical engineers, toxicologists, and experts in the technology of activating smoke alarms so that we’re prepared to handle these types of cases. You can reach us at 1 (888) 330-6657 and we’ll let you know what your options are.