Posts tagged with "defective products"

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.

These are the three elements of a personal injury lawsuit

If you don’t have these three things, you don’t have a case

Personal injury litigation is a complex subject and we never expect clients to come in knowing what all of their rights are. We’re always ready to listen to someone about their experience and let them know if they have a case or not.

Every case needs to have the following chain of three things: Liability, causation and damages. If it misses one, a lawsuit is not possible. For an example, imagine a person became violently ill after eating food at an expensive vacation resort.

The three elements of a personal injury case

Liability is the first step. Did the the defendant, or defendants, act carelessly that allowed the accident to occur. For this example, did the resort staff serve undercooked or spoiled food? Can we prove that they did?

If we can prove liability, we move on to the next step: Causation. Did the negligent behavior from the defendant cause the accident or injury? It’s not enough that the plaintiff was staying at the resort and ate the food, can we show that it was the resort’s food that made them sick, and not something else? If not, the lawsuit won’t happen.

Once we have causality established, we then have to show that the plaintiff suffered real damages. Did the victim require expensive medical treatment, miss work, or suffer excruciating pain? Did the foodborne illness cause a permanent injury or disfigurement?

It’s not enough to say the patient was in danger, they must have had real damages to be compensated through the lawsuit. You can’t sue for what could have happened, it needs to have caused them to directly suffer harm.. Without liability, causation and damages, no personal injury case can proceed.

Massachusetts pharmacy issues fertility drug recall

When someone is sick, they put their trust in pharmaceutical companies to provide safe and effective medications for their treatment. However, it is not unheard of for dangerous and defective drugs to reach unsuspecting consumers.

A Massachusetts pharmacy has recalled six fertility medications used for in vitro fertilization. Village Fertility Pharmacy of Waltham Massachusetts issued the recall after discovering a foreign substance floating in a vial. Patients affected by the recall include nearly 2100 women who took Progesterone Injection Cottonseed Oil 50 MG/ML, Progesterone Injection Olive Oil 50 MG/ML, 100 MG/ML, Progesterone Injection Sesame Oil 50 MG/ML, 100 MG/ML, Progesterone Injection Ethyl Oleate 50 MG/ML, 100 MG/ML, Hydroxy Progesterone Caproate 250 MG/ML or Compounded Leuprolide Acetate 1MG/.2ML. It should be noted, however that each patient would have had the medication specially formulated for their needs.

When a company produces a product that turns out to be defective or dangerous, they could find themselves the subject of a product liability lawsuit. Generally, products must adhere to a consumer’s ordinary expectations, free from unanticipated dangers or defects. Potential defendants include any party in the chain of distribution, including manufacturers, wholesalers and retail sellers.

To prevail in a product liability suit, it must be shown that the injury was caused by the defective product and that due to the defect, the product was unreasonably dangerous. There are three possible types of defects: design defects, manufacturing defects and marketing defects. A design defect is some sort of problem originating with the initial design of the product. Manufacturing defects occur when the manufactured product does not meet the designer’s or manufacturer’s intended specifications. Finally, marketing defects could include improper warning labels or unclear instructions. Any of these defects could give rise to a lawsuit.

Dangerous and defective drugs can cause serious harm to patients who consume them. If a patient suffers such an injury, a products liability lawsuit may provide them with the financial compensation they need to assist with their recovery.

Source: WXYZ.com, “Massachusetts pharmacy recalls fertility medications that were shipped to Michigan,” Feb. 25, 2013

Fire may have been caused by defective equipment

When buying appliances for the workplace, Massachusetts small business owners should be careful to note that the product is safe, not subject to a recall and that it performs according to its purpose. This is because defective appliances sometimes cause serious damage, forcing companies to suffer huge losses. This was recently observed by a bakery and pie company that suffered serious damage to the nearly century-old building it was housed in during a recent fire.

According to sources, the company had installed fire suppression devices in their bakery. These devices were maintained by the same company that manufactured them. This past summer, a fire broke out in the fryer room, which was located in the center of the facility. This fire quickly spread to the entire building. Almost 100 fire fighters were called to subdue the fire, and luckily it did not cause serious injuries to any employees.

A product liability lawsuit was filed recently by the baking company against the manufacturer of the fire suppression device. Since it is not immediately clear why the fire suppression device did not function properly, the lawsuit will likely involve a lengthy investigation that will determine the relative fault of each party involved.

Property damage due to a defective product can give rise to a cause of action for damages against the manufacturer of the item if negligent maintenance or a faulty part of the device was the cause of the damage. Alternatively, some industrial equipment could be designed in a way that makes it ineffective, and in this case failing to prevent a fire is certainly a harmful defect.

Source: The Times-Picayune, “Hubig’s pie company sues fire suppression company” Paul Purpura, Dec. 26, 2012