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Archive for the category: consumer product safety commission
  • BPA Litigation Hits Roadblock

    Litigation pending over BPA in plastic bottles has hit a major roadblock.  Last month a Missouri federal court denied class certification for the plaintiffs’ claims over the use of bisphenol A in baby bottles and sippy chips.  The plaintiffs’ claims were part of multidistrict litigation pending in a federal court in Missouri.  Multidistrict litigation, or MDL, is a federal court procedure whereby civil actions with common issues of fact are combined for purposes of discovery procedures and pre-trial motions. Although the court initially refused to certify three proposed multistate classes in 2011 based on issues regarding choice of law, commonality, and damages, the court granted the plaintiffs an opportunity to show that a class of Missouri-only consumers is appropriate for class certification.  The plaintiffs then filed a motion for class certification of claims brought by Missouri-only plaintiffs against three manufacturers of baby bottles and children’s sippy cups – Handi-Craft Company, Gerber Products Company, and Evenflo Company, Inc. In denying the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification of Missouri-only plaintiffs, the court focused on the plaintiffs’ lack of standing.  A court may not certify a class if the proposed class includes members who lack standing to bring a lawsuit against the respective defendants.  The plaintiffs’ class in this case included individuals who had not suffered an injury, such as those individuals who knew about BPA’s existence and the potential dangers associated with BPA but purchased the products despite possessing this information. The court also denied class certification based on issues of reliance.  For instance, plaintiffs argued that knowledge includes only consumers’ reliance on defendants’ alleged nondisclosure of the dangers associated with BPA.  The court disagreed with plaintiffs’ assessment, however, and explained that the issue of reliance presupposes that the consumer did not know the relevant information.  Since many plaintiffs in this case did possess knowledge regarding the potential dangers of BPA prior to purchasing the products, reliance could not be asserted. Moreover, the court determined that the proposed class included individuals who may not have suffered an injury even if they were unaware of BPA when they purchased the products.  The plaintiffs argued that the class members were injured through the lack of material information prior to making their purchases, but the court held that the consumers were purchasing baby products and not information. In addition, the court found that there were concerns regarding commonality of claims with respect to the proposed[READ MORE…]

  • Johnson & Johnson Recalls 12 Million Bottles of Motrin

    Healthcare and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) recently issued a recall of approximately 12 million bottles of its popular pain reliever, Motrin, due to concerns that the Motrin IB pills may not dissolve and begin working as quickly as intended, resulting in delayed pain relief, as the pills approach their three-year expiration date.  The recall only affects Motrin IB from retailers, and not those in the hands of consumers, since there is no safety risk. The recalled bottles of Motrin were sold in 24 or 30 count packages that were distributed in the United States, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Fiji, Belize, St. Lucia and Jamaica.  There are 59 affected lot numbers, all of which are listed on the product’s Web site at http://www.motrin.com.  The affected bottles of Motrin were manufactured between February 2009 and July 2011. J&J’s Prior Recalls J&J has been plagued by safety problems and efficacy concerns with respect to its products for the past several years.  Since September 2009, J&J has recalled a number of prescription and over-the-counter medications, including children’s and adult Tylenol and Motrin, Benadryl, Zyrtec, Rolaids, Simply Sleep pills, Prezista (an HIV medication), Levaquin (an antibiotic) and Topamax (an epilepsy medication).  The manufacturer has also recalled a number of its medical devices, including hip replacement systems, contact lenses and diabetes test strips. As we reported, earlier last year, J&J was ordered to pay $1.8 million to an 82-year-old man from Minnesota who claimed that he was injured by Levaquin, an antibiotic used to treat infections such as pneumonia and chronic bronchitis, as well as sinus, urinary tract, kidney, prostate and skin infections.  Levaquin has been known to cause complications including tendon damage, Achilles tendon rupture, inflammation, Achilles tendonitis, and injury to the rotator cuff, biceps, hand and thumb that may require extensive surgery and could leave the patient incapacitated and facing large medical bills. J&J’s recalls cost the company $900 million in 2010 alone as a result of lost revenue from products pulled from store shelves, factory renovation costs, and legal expenses.  J&J’s Consumer Healthcare factory in Fort Washington, Pa., has been closed since spring 2010 when serious health problems forced the company to undergo a comprehensive renovation and rebuilding of the facility. J&J’s safety and efficacy concerns have sparked the interest of the federal government as well.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Congress are both investigating how the company’s[READ MORE…]

  • Over 30,000 Children’s Bike Helmets Recalled

    Parents should be aware of a nationwide recall of children’s bicycle helmets. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission recently recalled approximately 30,400 Little Tricky kid’s bike helmets after tests determined that helmets failed to meet safety standards. Bicycle helmets are an important part of bicycle safety and their use helps to prevent severe head and brain injuries, as explained in this East County Magazine article: “It’s estimated that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by approximately 85 to 90 percent”… “Head injuries have potentially the most severe consequences in the both the short and long term,” said Sue Cox, Director of Trauma Services for Rady Children’s Hospital. “According to HHSA, medics noted traumatic injuries to the head or neck in more than half the patients that were not wearing helmets at the time of their injuries.” Bike helmets help to prevent injury by virtue of their unique design and are intended to bear the brunt of an extreme impact occurring during a bicycle accident by protecting “the top and upper part of the forehead and back of the head.” Because bicycle helmets are such important safety devices, it’s particularly distressing when children’s helmets are recalled for safety violations, as is the case with the recent Little Tricky helmet recall. This wpbf.com article describes the reason for the recall and the specific helmets that were recalled: In a news release, the CPSC said children who use the multipurpose helmets produced by Triple Eight Distribution Inc., of Port Washington, N.Y., could suffer impact head injuries in a fall.According to the CPSC, the Little Tricky helmets are marketed for children and youth and feature a large Little Tricky logo on both sides of the helmet… The helmets were sold at bicycle and sports stores and other retailers nationwide and online from August 2006 through November 2011 for about $40. You can learn more about the recall in that article, including specific descriptions of the affected helmets and informational phone numbers. The Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles  workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. You can reach the firm by calling (312) 346-8780.

  • Spin Master Fined $1.3 Million for Harmful Aqua Dots Toy

    Image via Wikipedia Spin Master, a Canadian toy manufacturer, has agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle claims with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regarding the import and sale of Aqua Dots, which is a banned hazardous substance.  Aqua Dots are popular colored arts and crafts beads that stick together when sprayed with water to form various designs and shapes. Aqua Dots, imported into the United States in 2007, were recalled in November 2007 after the CPSC received reports of two children falling into comas and becoming hospitalized after ingesting the beads.  Tests have showed that a chemical coating on the toys, when ingested, can metabolize into the drug gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), also known as the “date rape” drug.  Children who swallow the beads could fall into a coma, develop respiratory depression, or have seizures. The CPSC alleged that Spin Master knowingly failed to report a defect and hazard associated with Aqua Dots and knowingly imported and sold a banned hazardous substance.  Spin Master allegedly received reports of children becoming ill after ingesting Aqua Dots in mid-October 2007.  Around this time, Spin Master also learned that the toy contained 1.4-butylene glycol (“TMG”), which can metabolize into GHB upon ingestion.  Despite receiving the reports and scientific information, however, Spin Master did not file the necessary reports with the CPSC at that time. It wasn’t until November 5, 2007 when the CPSC notified Spin Master of two reports it had received regarding children ingesting the product and becoming ill that Spin Master announced a voluntary recall of Aqua Dots. Since the 2007 recall, several product liability lawsuits, including class action lawsuits, have been filed.  Despite the fact that Spin Master agreed to the settlement, it denies knowingly violated the law. The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Ankin Law Offices, LLC are committed to child safety and protecting the rights of victims of personal injury and product liability accidents.  If you or a loved one has been injured by Aqua Dots or another children’s product, contact one of our skilled Chicago personal injury attorneys at (800) 442-6546 for a free consultation to discuss a possible product liability claim.   Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 346-8780 and howard@ankinlaw.com. ANKIN LAW OFFICE LLC Chicago Workers Compensation | Chicago Personal Injury | Chicago Motor Vehicle Accidents Chicago[READ MORE…]

  • CPSC Database Faces Its First Legal Challenge

    The first lawsuit in connection with the new Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) database has been filed.  As we reported, the CPSC launched a website at www.saferproducts.gov to serve as a consumer products safety database.   The site allows consumers to submit reports of harm or risks of harm from various products, including household products and baby gear, and to research safety information about products by searching the database of past consumer complaints. The CPSC notifies the manufacturer within five days of any complaint filed against it.  The manufacturer then has 10 days to respond to the complaint by (i) submitting a response, (ii) challenging the complaint as false, or (iii) asserting that it will disclose a trade secret.  If a response is filed, it appears alongside the complaint in the database.  If a manufacturer claims that a complaint is false or that it would disclose a trade secret, the CPSC uses its discretion to decide whether to withhold the complaint or publish it in the database. The lawsuit, which was filed in a federal court in Maryland by “Company Doe” on October 17, 2001, seeks to prevent the CPSC from publishing an incident that allegedly harmed a child. The lawsuit also seeks to keep any related evidence or documents regarding the allegations, including the identity of the company, under seal. The database has been criticized for its potential for inaccuracy, but supporters of the website point out that because manufacturers have 10 days to respond to any complaints, there is plenty of time to correct any inaccuracies and to remove any material inaccuracies from the database before the information is made public.  Moreover, manufacturers are permitted to post comments alongside any complaints. According to a spokesman for the CPSC, as of September 2011, the CPSC received 383 material inaccuracy claims from companies, 204 of which involved a consumer naming the wrong company – a mistake that be easily corrected. The Chicago product liability attorneys at Ankin Law Offices represent a number of clients in connection with product liability and personal injury lawsuits stemming from defective or dangerous products.  If you have been injured by an unsafe product, contact us to discuss how we can help you protect your legal rights and obtain the compensation you deserve. Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 346-8780 and[READ MORE…]

  • Ford’s Recall of Trucks with Defective Fuel Tank

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced on July 29, 2011 that Ford is recalling 1.1 million pickup trucks due to defective fuel tanks.  Reports have indicated that prolonged exposure to road deicing chemicals may cause severe corrosion of the fuel tank straps that secure the tank to the vehicle, allowing the fuel lines to separate from the tank and, in some cases, causing the tank to contact the ground, which poses a fire hazard. Ford will soon begin notifying the owners of vehicles affected by the recall, instructing them to take their vehicles to a Ford or Lincoln dealer where the fuel tank straps will be replaced with straps that have increased corrosion protection.  If replacement straps are not available, the dealer may install a cable support under the strap as an interim repair until a replacement strap is available or install a steel reinforcement over the existing strap as a permanent repair.  The fuel tank strap repair will be performed free of charge. Which Ford Trucks Are Affected By the Recall? The recall involves the following Ford vehicles: Certain Ford F-150s for model years 1997 to 2003 2004 Ford F-150 Heritage Ford F-250 for model years 1997-1999 2003 Lincoln Blackwood vehicles manufactured between June 29, 1995 and August 4, 2004 What Is the Status of Other Ford Vehicle Defects? A circuit court judge in Florida recently set aside the decision of a jury finding that Ford was not liable for damages and injuries caused by the sudden acceleration of its Aerostar van.  Judge Swigert found that Ford’s misconduct had amounted to “a “fundamental error” that had deprived plaintiffs of a fair trial and ordered a new trial on the issues of compensatory and punitive damages.  Judge Swigert’s opinion found “clear and convincing evidence” that Ford had engaged in fraud, misrepresentation and other misconduct that justified setting aside the jury’s verdict in favor of Ford and issuing a new verdict in favor of the Plaintiffs.  For more information on the decision in Stimpson v. Ford, see our recent blog post. Ford also recently recalled more than 26,000 vehicles, as well as service parts shipped to dealers for the affected vehicles, due to a risk that the multi-function switch can become deformed and prevent the turn signal, tail lights, hazard warning flashers and brake lights from activating, which could in turn increase the risk of a collision.  The recall[READ MORE…]

  • Turkey Salmonella Outbreak

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with public health officials across the country and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) to determine the cause of a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infections that is likely caused by eating ground turkey.  To date, 77 persons from 26 states, including 7 persons from Illinois, have been infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg between March 1 and August 1, 2011.  Because the outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg is resistant to many commonly prescribed antibiotics, the risk of hospitalization or treatment failure may be increased. Who Has Been Infected? The illnesses reported to date began on or after March 9, 2011 and those infected with the Salmonella Heidelberg strain range in age from less than one year to 88 years old, with a median age of 23 years.  Nearly half (48%) are female and, of the 58 infected persons with available information, 22 (38%) have been hospitalized and one death has been reported. Those that became ill in the past 2-3 weeks may not be reported yet due to the lag time between a person becoming ill and the time that the illness is reported. How Is the Outbreak Being Investigated? The CDC believes that the Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak strain has been caused by ground turkey because nearly 50% of the ill persons for whom there is available information have reported eating ground turkey, a percentage that is significantly higher than the results from a survey of healthy persons. In addition, cultures of four ground turkey samples purchased from four retail locations between March 7 and June 27, 2001 indicated the presence of the outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg.  Preliminary information has shown that three of these samples originated from the same production facility, with the fourth sample still under investigation. In order to determine the specific cause of the outbreak strain, the CDC and public health investigators are using DNA “fingerprints” of Salmonella bacteria to identify cases of illness that may be part of this outbreak. They are also examining data collected from a network of state and local public health laboratories and federal food regulatory laboratories that perform molecular surveillance of foodborne infections.  Product information, such as the date and location of purchase, is also being collected from ill persons to help with the public health agencies’ investigations. What Are[READ MORE…]

  • Macy’s Fined for Selling Dangerous Children’s Clothing

    Last month, Macy’s agreed to pay a $750,000 fine imposed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) based on allegations that the retailer knowingly failed to immediately report to the CPSC, as required by federal law, that it had sold children’s sweatshirts, sweaters and jackets with drawstrings at the neck between 2006 and 2010.  Drawstrings on children’s upper outerwear, such as sweatshirts, sweaters and jackets, have been shown to pose a risk of strangulation that can result in serious injury or death. Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors and retailers, such as Macy’s and other department stores, to report to the CPSC within 24 hours of discovering information that reasonably supports a conclusion that the product contains a defect that could create a substantial hazard, that could create a unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or that fails to comply with an consumer product safety rule.  The CPSC alleges that the sweatshirts, sweaters and jackets that are the subject of the fine were sold by Macy’s and other Macy’s affiliates, including Bloomingdale’s and Robinsons-May, after a recall had been issued, which violates the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.     The CPSC had issued guidelines regarding drawstrings on children’s clothing in 1996 and cited children’s upper outerwear with drawstrings as defective and posing a substantial risk of injury to young children.  In 2006, the CPSC, along with several manufacturers and distributors, recalled the following children’s clothing with drawstrings: Quiksilver Inc. Hide & Seek hooded sweatshirts Jerry Leigh of California Inc. Harajuku Lovers Hooded Jackets La Jolla Sport USA Inc. O’Neill children’s sweatshirts Dysfunctional Clothing LLC children’s hooded sweatshirts Macy’s Merchandising Group Inc. Epic Threads hooded sweatshirts and Greendog sweaters C-MRK Inc. Ocean Current boys’ hooded sweatshirts NTD Apparel Inc. Hello Kitty hooded sweatshirts S. Rothschild & Co Inc. girls’ coats VF Contemporary Brands Inc. Splendid girls’ hooded jackets and vest sets Although Macy’s has agreed to the settlement, it continues to deny the allegations that it knowingly violated the law. The Chicago product liability law firm of Ankin Law Offices, LLC is committed to protecting of consumers from dangerous and defective products, including unsafe children’s products.  We regularly update our blog to include information on important children’s product recalls.   Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 346-8780 and howard@ankinlaw.com. ANKIN LAW OFFICE[READ MORE…]

  • What is a Class Action Law Suit?

    You may have heard on the news a number of times that a group of people are bringing a class action suit against a corporation, but most people do not know what a class action suit actually is.  Basically, a class action suit is when a group of people who have the same kind of harm (i.e. side effects from a drug) come together and file a suit against a corporation.  However, unlike in common civil law suits where one person files a suit against another party or corporation for some harm that has been done, the representative in a class action suit represents the whole class that has been harmed by the defendant.  Additionally, class action suits can be brought in federal court, or in state courts. Can I be part of a class action law suit? Yes.  Ordinarily, once a court certifies the class—allows the class action suit against the defendant—the attorney(s) who are representing the class will send opt-out forms to the members of the class.  These opt-out forms are what potential members of a class action suit may receive in the mail.  Basically, if you receive an opt-out form, you can choose not to be part of the class action suit.  If you decide to opt-out, you are not bound by the decision the court reaches in the class action suit.  Therefore, if the decision comes out against the classes favor or vice versa, you may still bring your own suit against the defendant at a later time.  However, if you choose to be a part of the class action suit, you are bound by any decision the court reaches regardless of whose favor it is in.  Therefore, a single plaintiff may no longer bring a separate case against the defendant if he/she was already part of a class action suit against the same defendant for the same harm.  In a small number of rare cases, members of a class action suit must opt-in to the suit.  However, these are few and far between, usually, members of the class must opt out of the suit so as not to be bound by the court’s judgment. What are the advantages and disadvantages of a class action law suit? There are many advantages and disadvantages to taking part in a class action lawsuit.  As mentioned above, if you are part of a class action suit and the court[READ MORE…]

  • Recall of 375,000 Circo Booster Seats

    The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Target announced on June 15, 2011 the voluntary expansion of the Circo booster seat recall after receiving additional reports of injuries.  The recall covers approximately 375,000 Circo child booster seats, including 43,000 booster seats that were originally recalled in 2009. The booster seat was recalled because of reports that the restraint buckle can open unexpectedly, which can result in the child falling out of the seat and becoming injured.  Target has received reports of 10 additional incidents of the buckle becoming unhooked, including three reports of the child suffering from bumps and bruises after falling from the booster seat. The recall includes all Circo booster seats sold between January 2005 and June 2009.  The booster seats are blue with green trim and a white plastic restraint buckle.  The booster seat attaches to a chair and allows a child to sit at a table more comfortably. What To Do If You Own a Circo Booster Seat Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled Circo booster seats and return them to any Target store for a full refund.  If you own the Circo booster seat and have questions regarding the recall and how to receive a full refund for the product, you can contact Target at (800) 440-0680 between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or visit the company’s website at www.target.com . If you or your child has been injured using one of the recalled booster seats, you may wish to contact the experienced Illinois product liability attorneys at Ankin Law Offices to learn about a possible personal injury or product liability claim.   Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 346-8780 and howard@ankinlaw.com. ANKIN LAW OFFICE LLC Chicago Workers Compensation | Chicago Personal Injury | Chicago Motor Vehicle Accidents Chicago Wrongful Death | Chicago Social Securi ty Disability | Chicago Class Act ion Lawsuits

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    Our firm handles workers' compensation and personal injury claims in Chicago, Berwyn, Joliet, Cicero, Waukegan, Chicago Heights, Elgin, Aurora, Oak Park, Oak Lawn, Schaumburg, Bolingbrook, Glendale Heights, Aurora, Niles, Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, Naperville, Plainfield and all of Cook, DuPage, Lake, Will, McHenry, LaSalle, Kankakee, McLean and Peoria Counties.