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.Â 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.Â There are 59 affected lot numbers, all of which are listed on the product’s Web site at http://www.motrin.com.Â The affected bottles of Motrin were manufactured between February 2009 and July 2011. J&Jâ€™s Prior Recalls J&J has been plagued by safety problems and efficacy concerns with respect to its products for the past several years.Â 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).Â 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.Â 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&Jâ€™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. Â J&Jâ€™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&Jâ€™s safety and efficacy concerns have sparked the interest of the federal government as well.Â The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Congress are both investigating how the companyâ€™s[READ MORE…]
The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently considered whether a plaintiff in a products liability case had met his burden on a summary judgment motion inÂ Bielskis v. Louisville Ladder Inc.,Â 2011 WL 5829771. In this case, the plaintiff,Â an acoustical ceiling carpenter, was injured while working at a construction site located in Libertyville, Illinois. He was working on a mini-scaffold when it collapsed, causing him to fall and sustain injuries. He claimed that a fracture in the caster stem of the device caused it to collapse and that the fracture occurred due to defective product design. In support of his claim, he offered the expert testimony of a mechanical engineer who based his opinion that the scaffold was defective on his visual inspection of the scaffold. At issue on appeal was whether Bielskis had offered sufficient expert evidence to sustain his burden in defense of a summary judgment motion. The Court of Appeals reviewed the plaintiff’s expert’s testimony and concluded that, more than anything,Â his “methodology sounded more like …'[t]alking off the cuff,’” especially when compared to the evidence offered by the defendant’s expert, who not only conducted a visual examination, but alsoÂ conducted extensive testing and reconstructed the accident. After rejecting the evidence offered by the plaintiff’s expert, the court concluded that in the absence of expert proof, the plaintiff had simply failed to meet his burden of establishing that the scaffold was defective: (The plaintiff) had owned the scaffold for seven years at the time of the accident, and…advanced no particular evidence about its condition when it was received from the manufacturer. Thus, Bielskis has not marshaled sufficient evidence that the mini-scaffold was defective at the time it left Louisville Ladder’s control. Without evidence that the mini-scaffold was defective at the outset or that it was free in the 7â€“year interim period from any abnormal use, Bielskis needs more than the failure of the caster stem to prove his case…Â And with no expert testimony, he lacks evidence to support his product liability allegations of strict liability and negligence. The Court of Appeals thus affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s personal injury case based on allegations of products liability, thus confirming the importance of having strong, reliable expert testimony that is based upon rigorous testing, rather than simply visual observation. A personal injury lawsuit can stand or fall based solely on the strength of an expert’s testimony, as occurred[READ MORE…]
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.Â 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.Â Tests have showed that a chemical coating on the toys, when ingested, can metabolize into the drug gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), also known as the â€œdate rapeâ€ drug.Â 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.Â Spin Master allegedly received reports of children becoming ill after ingesting Aqua Dots in mid-October 2007.Â Around this time, Spin Master also learned that the toy contained 1.4-butylene glycol (â€œTMGâ€), which can metabolize into GHB upon ingestion.Â Despite receiving the reports and scientific information, however, Spin Master did not file the necessary reports with the CPSC at that time. It wasnâ€™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.Â 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.Â If you or a loved one has been injured by Aqua Dots or another childrenâ€™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 workersâ€™ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 346-8780 and email@example.com. ANKIN LAW OFFICE LLC Chicago Workers Compensation | Chicago Personal Injury | Chicago Motor Vehicle Accidents Chicago[READ MORE…]
Reebok International has agreed to pay a $25 million fine to settle charges of false advertising stemming from claims that its â€œtoning shoesâ€ provide extra muscle strength to wearers, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).Â Â The settlement funds will be used to provide consumer refunds, which will be made available either directly from the FTC or through a court-approved class action lawsuit. â€œThe FTC wants national advertisers to understand that they must exercise some responsibility and ensure that their claims for fitness gear are supported by sound science,â€ said David Vladeck, head of the FTC’s consumer protection bureau. The suspect Reebok advertisements claim that the toning shoes strengthen hamstrings and calves by up to 11 percent more than regular sneakers, and tone the buttocks by up to 28 percent more, according to the FTC.Â Reebok discontinued the ads during the middle of the FTCâ€™s investigation. Ads for toning shoes, which are designed to be slightly unstable, claim that the shoes strengthen muscles by requiring wearers to work harder to maintain stability in unstable shoes. Despite agreeing to pay the fine, Adidas, which owns Reebok, has stated that it disagrees with the FTCâ€™s assessment and stands behind the claims made about its toning shoes. Several other companies advertise toning shoes, including New Balance, Skechers, Ryka, and Avia.Â In fact, Skechers acknowledged in an August filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that ads for its Shape-ups and other toning shoes were under investigation by the FTC. The Reebok advertising claims were made through print, television and Internet advertisements, beginning in early 2009, Reebok made its claims through print, television, and Internet advertisements.Â The claims also appeared on shoe boxes and retail store displays.Â The shoes touted in the advertisements include Reebok’s EasyTone and RunTone running shoes, which sold for $80 to $100, and Reebokâ€™s EasyTone flip-flops, which retailed for about $60 a pair. Consumers are advised to carefully evaluate advertising claims for fitness gear and exercise equipment.Â For more information see, the FTCâ€™s alertÂ How’s that Work-out Working Out?Â Tips on Buying Fitness Gear . Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles workersâ€™ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 346-8780 and firstname.lastname@example.org. ANKIN LAW OFFICE LLC Chicago Workers Compensation | Chicago Personal Injury | Chicago Motor Vehicle Accidents Chicago Wrongful Death | Chicago Social Security Disability | Chicago Class Act ion Lawsuits
The first lawsuit in connection with the new Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) database has been filed.Â As we reported, the CPSC launched a website at www.saferproducts.gov to serve as a consumer products safety database.Â Â 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.Â 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.Â If a response is filed, it appears alongside the complaint in the database.Â 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 â€œCompany Doeâ€ 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.Â 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 â€“ 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.Â 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 workersâ€™ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 346-8780 and[READ MORE…]
Nearly 30 states currently limit the amount of damages that can be received in a medical malpractice lawsuit, according to the American Medical Association.Â States with damage caps vary wildly in their limitations and the types of damages that are limited.Â For instance, California limits non-compensatory damages at $250,000, while Nebraska limits total damages at $1.75 million. In 2005, an Illinois law invoked limitations on non-economic damages at $500,000 in lawsuits alleging medical malpractice, including wrongful death, against a physician, and $1 million in lawsuits against a hospital.Â In 2010, however, the Illinois Supreme Court deemed the damage cap to be unconstitutional because it interfered with the authority of judges and juries to reduce verdicts. Similarly, a wrongful death lawsuit filed in Indiana as a result of a catastrophic stage collapse that killed seven people challenges the constitutionality of the Indiana damage cap.Â The plaintiffsâ€™ lawsuit argues that Indianaâ€™s damage cap of $5 million violates the Constitutionâ€™s due process and equal protection clauses, as well as the Indiana Constitution. Some state legislatures have recently proposed tort reform initiatives that would invoke damage caps.Â For instance, earlier this year, the Tennessee legislature approved comprehensive medical malpractice tort reform that limits non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, to $750,000 in most cases; caps punitive damages at two times compensatory damage or $500,000, whichever is greater; and prohibits punitive damages in most products liability lawsuits.Â Similarly, the North Carolina Senate approved a tort reform bill that would cap non-economic damages at $500,000. On the other hand, Virginia proposed legislation to raise the cap on damages in medical malpractice cases from $2 million to $3 million and would increase the amount by $50,000 every year until 2031, but the bill was ultimately vetoed by the governor on March 31, 2011.Â Â Given the overwhelming support for the Virginia bill, however, it remains uncertain whether the veto will stand or whether the bill will pass. Medical malpractice damage caps undoubtedly hurt patients and the general public by failing to hold doctors, hospitals and other medical professionals financially responsible for their injuries or deaths that they have caused.Â The Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Ankin Law Offices, LLC are committed to protecting the rights of victims of medical malpractice and their families. Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles workersâ€™ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 346-8780 and[READ MORE…]
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.Â 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.Â 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.Â 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.Â Judge Swigert found that Fordâ€™s misconduct had amounted to â€œa â€œfundamental errorâ€ that had deprived plaintiffs of a fair trial and ordered a new trial on the issues of compensatory and punitive damages.Â Judge Swigertâ€™s opinion found â€œclear and convincing evidenceâ€ that Ford had engaged in fraud, misrepresentation and other misconduct that justified setting aside the juryâ€™s verdict in favor of Ford and issuing a new verdict in favor of the Plaintiffs.Â 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.Â The recall[READ MORE…]
Last month, Macyâ€™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 childrenâ€™s sweatshirts, sweaters and jackets with drawstrings at the neck between 2006 and 2010.Â Drawstrings on childrenâ€™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 Macyâ€™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.Â The CPSC alleges that the sweatshirts, sweaters and jackets that are the subject of the fine were sold by Macyâ€™s and other Macyâ€™s affiliates, including Bloomingdaleâ€™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 childrenâ€™s clothing in 1996 and cited childrenâ€™s upper outerwear with drawstrings as defective and posing a substantial risk of injury to young children.Â In 2006, the CPSC, along with several manufacturers and distributors, recalled the following childrenâ€™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 Macyâ€™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 childrenâ€™s products.Â We regularly update our blog to include information on important childrenâ€™s product recalls. Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles workersâ€™ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 346-8780 and email@example.com. ANKIN LAW OFFICE[READ MORE…]
$7.1 billion Payment Dispute A proposed settlement between big tobacco and the states to resolve a $7.1 billion payment dispute was rejected the states last month.Â The deal requires the approval of a â€œcritical massâ€ of states in order to be finalized, and certain states, including Utah, New Jersey and Missouri, representing more than half of the market share have rejected the deal, thus putting the parties at an impasse. The proposed settlement have allowed large tobacco companies to recoup approximately $2 billion from funds that have been withheld from states or otherwise disputed under the 1998 master settlement agreement, with the states collecting approximately $5.1 billion of the disputed payments.Â In exchange for allowing the allowing cash-strapped states to collect several billion dollars of the disputed payments, the 1998 master settlement agreement would be revised with respect to how the states collect fees and taxes from smaller companies that have not joined the 1998 master settlement. The tobacco giants argue that they should not be required to pay on sales from 2003 through 2010, calling into question an amount totaling more than $7.1 billion.Â Â The tobacco conglomerates also argue that they have lost market share because the states have failed to seek payments from smaller tobacco companies that are not party to the 1998 settlement. Those familiar with the matter are growing increasingly doubtful that the parties will reach a finalized settlement agreement. Profit Reporting Dispute Sales in Mississippi The $7.1 billion dispute between big tobacco and the states isnâ€™t the only tobacco settlement dispute currently playing itself out in the legal system.Â On July 25, 2011, a Mississippi judge heard arguments from R.J. Reynolds and the State of Mississippi regarding whether or not the tobacco giant failed to fulfill obligations under the master tobacco settlement when it failed to report profits from the sale of 7.8 billion cigarettes made by one of its subsidiaries to the independent tobacco company Star Tobacco, which sold the cigarettes in Mississippi under the brand names Gunsmoke and Vegas between 1999 and 2002. An attorney for R.J. Reynolds, which manufactures six of the 10 best-selling U.S. cigarette and moist snuff brands and is the second-largest tobacco company in the United States, argued that, because the sales of those cigarettes were not directed at customersâ€™ whose health could be affected, the sales should be exempted from the master settlement agreement. Mississippi Attorney General[READ MORE…]
A circuit court judge in Florida recently set aside a jury verdict in favor of Ford Motor Co., finding that Fordâ€™s misconduct had amounted to â€œa â€œfundamental errorâ€ that deprived plaintiffs of a fair trial and justified a new trial.Â The lawsuit alleged that plaintiffsâ€™ Aerostar van suddenly accelerated during gear engagement and traveled more than 100 feet before hitting a utility pole, causing disabling injuries to plaintiff Peggy Stimpson.Â Plaintiffs asserted liability by Ford based on strict liability, negligence and punitive damages for fraudulent concealment of a defect.Â Ford denied the allegations and, following a four-week trial, the jury returned a verdict in Fordâ€™s favor. Plaintiffs appealed the decision, arguing requesting that the court vacate the judgment and order a new trial.Â At the heart of the plaintiffsâ€™ appeal was whether or not Ford had repeatedly used fraudulent tactics to conceal the truth about risks associated with electromagnetic interference with the cruise control function of vehicle, which has caused numerous injuries and deaths. Judge Swigertâ€™s opinion harshly criticized Ford Motor Co. and found that that there was â€œclear and convincing evidenceâ€ that Ford had engaged in fraud, misrepresentation and other misconduct that justified setting aside the juryâ€™s verdict in favor of Ford and issuing a new verdict in favor of the Plaintiffs.Â Specifically, Judge Swigert found that Ford Motor Co. had engaged in the following misconduct: (1)Â Â Ford had destroyed Service Investigation Reports within one year even though they were required by federal law to retain the reports for 5 years and had concealed years of research and evidence dating back to the 1970s that indicated a possible electromagnetic interference problem that could cause sudden acceleration – information which, if disclosed, would have allowed the federal government to become aware of the electronic defects with the cruise control function that can cause sudden acceleration problem sooner. (2)Â Â Ford made false claims regarding its knowledge of the electronic defect and knew that the 1989 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report was based on false information. (3)Â Â Despite its request to exclude testimony from an expert witness of the plaintiffs, Ford introduced the testimony on cross-examination and insinuated that plaintiffsâ€™ counsel had concealed certain information. (4)Â Â Ford had generally presented false and misleading testimony to the jury. Judge Swigert also reprimanded Fordâ€™s attorney for insinuating that plaintiffsâ€™ lawyer had concealed information by excluding the testimony of one of plaintiffsâ€™[READ MORE…]
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