Defibrillator Maker Fails to Adequately Warn Patients and Doctors of Defect

Defibrillator Maker Fails to Adequately Warn Patients and Doctors of DefectWe write often about corporations selling products they privately know are dangerous.

In almost every instance, the choice to sell in spite of the dangers is made for the sake of corporate profits.

To the long list of companies that have made this choice, we now add St. Jude Medical – a company, recently purchased by Abbott Laboratories.

The product they have sold that is dangerous? Defibrillators with batteries packs known to fail.

Think about that for a moment. Defibrillators protect patients with heart problems by delivering an electric shock to return a diseased heart to a normal rhythm when it is not beating properly.

These brief electrical discharges are life savers. And these devices are implanted in the chests of the patients who need them.

So what happens when the batteries suddenly fail? Continue reading “Defibrillator Maker Fails to Adequately Warn Patients and Doctors of Defect” »

Trouble Ahead for Consumers

The right to take legal action when injured by a product or service is one of the greatest protections consumers enjoy in the U.S.

Every day we make choices as consumers, and at times, despite our best efforts to carefully research our options, the purchases we make simply do not work as intended or worse, end up harming or injuring us in some way. In these cases, product liability law is often a consumer’s best friend – providing the means to hold manufacturers, retailers, distributors, and suppliers accountable when their products cause harm to their consumers.

From GM’s defective ignition switches and exploding gas tanks, to Dow Corning’s faulty silicone breast implants to Phillip Morrisand the harm caused by tobacco, there have been tens of thousands of cases brought against a range of companies for harm.

And the result?

Not only justice in many cases for those injured – but also a degree of protection for other consumers. Each time a company is held accountable for a defective product – that product is either removed from the market or improved so as to make it safe.

So why is there trouble ahead?

Continue reading “Trouble Ahead for Consumers” »

More Serious Problems with Hip Replacement Systems

Stryker hip recall law suits.

Once again, another hip replacement system is in the news. And the news is not good.

Stryker Corporation, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of medical equipment and orthopedic devices, is once again having problems with yet another of its hip replacement implants – the Stryker LFit V40 Femoral Head. It’s being reported that these Stryker devices may be vulnerable to corrosion and “fretting,” which allows minute shards of its metallic components to leach into a patient’s tissues, bones and/or bloodstream.

The Rejuvenate Modular and ABG II Modular-Neck Hip Stems were recalled by Stryker in 2012.

Continue reading “More Serious Problems with Hip Replacement Systems” »

A Leading Cause of Injury and Death…? Greed.

photo-credit-tony-webster-via-foter-com-cc-by

In the 1990’s, a little known manufacturer from Japan named Takata, approached GM with a less expensive airbag system that could be deployed in GM vehicles.

GM was impressed and asked their current manufacturer, Autoliv, to match the price or risk losing the business.

Anxious to retain the GM account – Autoliv immediately investigated the new, less expensive alternative.

What they discovered about the Takata airbag system alarmed them – and they alerted GM.   Engineers at Autoliv had discovered that the new system in question used an extremely dangerous and highly volatile compound in its inflator.

The compound, called ammonium nitrate, was discovered to expand so quickly that it blew the inflator to bits – literally turning the metal components of the device into potentially deadly shrapnel.

In the end, Autoliv told GM they were not willing to replicate the Takata device… and lost GM’s business.

Over 100 injuries, some fatal, and over 100 million vehicle recalls later, investigators are still working to understand the choices auto manufacturers made when they fatefully decided to buy from Takata.

Sadly – the motivation to improve profit margins at the expense of vehicle safety seems to have been at the center of the choices made by GM.

So just what was the difference in cost?

A few dollars per airbag.

Were the Autoliv revelations about the dangers of ammonium nitrate new?

No.  Research studies going back decades warned of the dangers surrounding the compound – particularly when it is exposed to dramatic temperature shifts and moisture.  In fact, given its dangerous volatility, Takata has often struggled to find suppliers of ammonium nitrate.

Given all that is known about Takata’s dangerously flawed technology – one would assume car makers have stopped using their products – right?

Nope.

Takata continues to manufacture airbags with this compound — and incredibly automakers continue to buy them.  These airbags have been built into the 2016 models of seven different automakers.   Even more incredibly – the Takata bags are being used as replacement airbags for those being recalled.

How is all of this possible…?

Sadly, tragedies like this one happen when automakers press suppliers to put cost before all else – including safety.

If you suspect that you or a loved one have been harmed by a Takata airbag, call a qualified Connecticut product liability lawyer.  A knowledgeable and well trained product liability lawyer can help you fight powerful corporate interests when you’ve been hurt, ensuring that you’re not harassed or abused and that your rights are protected. 

For over 60 years, the Connecticut product liability attorneys at RisCassi and Davis have been working hard to protect our clients.  Please contact us if we can help you. The consultation is free and there is no obligation of any kind.  And – there is no fee or other costs unless we are successful on your behalf

 

Photo credit: Tony Webster via Foter.com / CC BY

 

 

 

 

 

Profit before Consumer Safety and Why We Need Trial Lawyers More than Ever

think tank

The last 50 years has witnessed a proliferation in the number of so-called think tanks operating in America.

Most people hear or read the word “think tank” and conclude – “hey – that must be a group of really smart people!”

One would hope so – right?

Ideally, a think tank is, in fact, supposed to be a group of experts that study a particular subject and then seek to provide consumers, the news media and government officials with unbiased insights on that topic.

Is that how they work in reality?

In reality – no. A great many think tanks are the creation of special interests seeking to influence public opinion.   In many cases, they’re the creation of PR firms seeking to protect or promote a company or industry they serve.

In other words – they are front groups – created to sell products and protect corporate profits.

The past 70 years have witnessed egregious examples of corporations and industries creating “think tanks” with lofty names organized solely to protect the profitability of dangerous products.

What’s this got to do with trial lawyers? Just wait – you’ll see…

Continue reading “Profit before Consumer Safety and Why We Need Trial Lawyers More than Ever” »

J&J Hit with $502 Million Verdict in Defective Pinnacle Hip Cases

Pinnacle hip recall law suits.

For a number of years, RisCassi & Davis has been working to help protect the rights of patients who, over the last 13 years, received grossly defective metal-on-metal hip replacements made by Depuy Orthopaedics, a Johnson & Johnson company.

Two of the Depuy/J&J hip implant products in particular, the Pinnacle and the ASR, have been the target of government recalls and numerous consumer lawsuits.

The metal-on-metal hip systems are known for serious problems with their design, problems that have led to an increased failure rate, metallosis, infection, dislocation and immobility.

On March 16th, 2016 a Dallas, Texas jury decided in favor of five patients who had consolidated their claims in a lawsuit over injuries sustained when their Pinnacle implants failed prematurely. The plaintiffs had filed their suits claiming serious design defects and alleging the companies had failed to warn patients of the dangers of the implants. Both J&J and DePuy were found liable by the Texas jury. Both companies have announced their intentions to appeal the verdict.

Currently there are thousands of separate Pinnacle cases awaiting action.

Just how bad are these products?

Continue reading “J&J Hit with $502 Million Verdict in Defective Pinnacle Hip Cases” »

More Cars Being Recalled in Takata Airbag Scandal

Takata, the Japanese airbag manufacturer with factories in Japan and the U.S., has been in the news a lot the past six months.

Why?

Because they manufacture an airbag used in Hondas, Toyotas, Fords, Nissans, BMWs and other cars that is dangerously defective. When the airbags deploy during an accident, they send debris into a car’s cabin. In many instances, this debris has seriously injured or killed drivers and passengers. More than 20 million cars with these dangerous airbags have been recalled to date.

Is it possible that Takata knew nothing of the dangers of these airbags?

No.

Internal emails recently released by the company reveal a pattern of test data misrepresentation and manipulation.

Engineers at the company openly joked of manipulating test results and using tricks to hide or divert attention from damaging data.

“Happy Manipulating” wrote one engineer at Takata to another in reference to data the two were sharing. In other emails – engineers actually boasted about their manipulations.

Takata’s pattern of manipulating safety data appears to date back to the year 2000 – just as the company began introducing the new and dangerous inflator.

Takata’s biggest customer for some time has been the Honda Motor Company. They now admit they are aware of evidence that Takata did manipulate data to protect sales of the device. Honda recently announced they will no longer do business with them.

Continue reading “More Cars Being Recalled in Takata Airbag Scandal” »

Big Companies Bending the Rules

It has been written that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely…”

Sadly, that statement often applies to powerful corporations.

Throughout history, the owners and management of powerful companies have all too often chosen profits over the wellbeing of employees and consumers.

In the late 19th century, large rail, mining and steel corporations (among others) regularly forced employees to work in dangerous, unsafe environments – choices that often led to serious career and life ending personal injuries.

In the 20th century, car, appliance, medical, and technology companies – to name just a few – repeatedly and knowingly sold unsafe products to unsuspecting consumers. Think Corvair, Ford Pinto, Bextra, Accutane, and others.

Each time, choices were made to put profit over public safety.

Continue reading “Big Companies Bending the Rules” »

What Is One Of The Greatest Threats To Your Safety?

Sadly – corporate power and corporate greed.

We have written much on this topic… about companies making choices that ignore dangerous safety issues in an effort to protect profits.

Let’s look at car accidents again. They occur for may reasons – including driver error.

Continue reading “What Is One Of The Greatest Threats To Your Safety?” »