Graco Fined for Failing To Recall Defective Child Car Seats

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Graco RecallGraco has been fined up to $10 million for failing to warn consumers in a timely manner about millions of defective child car seats.

According to a CNN news report, federal regulators have slapped Graco with a $3 million fine.

The car seat manufacturer could face an additional $7 million unless they spend at least the same amount on taking new measures to improve child safety, U.S. Department of Transportation officials announced.

A Sticky Buckle Problem

The company was the subject of a probe by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) last year over suspicions that it delayed notifying regulators about a safety defect.

Graco issued a car seat recall last year over concerns that buckles were getting stuck making them difficult to open.

The recall affected car seats manufactured between July 2010 and May 2013.

Graco spokespersons said they did evaluate the government’s requirements in a timely manner and were cooperative with NHTSA’s investigation.

The Transportation Department said the buckle defect was potentially placing child occupants at risk in an emergency. But, so far, there have been no reports of injuries as a result of the defect.

However, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles over the death of a 2-year-old girl. She was killed in a car fire following a 2011 accident.

Her parents were unable to get her out of her Graco Nautilus seat. In that case, Graco settled out of court.

Putting Consumers at Risk

Federal officials have said that Graco was aware of complaints about the buckles as early as 2009 and that by 2012 the company was taking steps to address the safety issues such as telling owners how to keep the buckles clean and offering them lifetime warranties.

Federal safety regulations require automakers to disclose complaints about safety problems within five business days of when they become aware of the problem.

A failure to do so could result in a civil fine of up to $35 million.

It is unacceptable to delay a recall once a manufacturer becomes aware that there are safety issues.

As product defect attorneys who represent the rights of injured victims of defective products, we certainly hope that NHTSA stays on top of this investigation and ensures that Graco and any other manufacturers who fail to reveal product defects in a timely manner, are held accountable.

Patient Sues Medical Device Manufacturer Over Superbug Outbreak

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UCLA SuperbugAn 18-year-old patient is suing a medical device manufacturer blaming the company for a superbug outbreak at the UCLA Medical Center, which infected at least seven patients and has been blamed for the death of at least two.

According to a CBS Los Angeles news report, the lawsuit was filed by Aaron Young in Los Angeles Superior Court against Olympus America, Inc. seeking unspecified damages, alleging products liability, fraud and negligence.

Lack of Protocols for Sanitizing

Young still remains a patient at the hospital after he and many others were exposed to a contaminated endoscope between October and January.

The lawsuit alleges that the company redesigned its duodenoscope last year. However, it did not offer a clear method to clean and disinfect the scopes, which have a complex construction and many tiny parts.

The lawsuit alleged that Olympus failed to take the critical step of establishing cleaning and disinfecting protocols with medical facilities and professionals.

Instead, the manufacturer provided doctors and hospitals with a safety cleaning protocol for an older endoscope that had a significantly different design.

As a result, users were not able to properly clean and sanitize the redesigned scope, the lawsuit states. The lawsuit does not blame UCLA for the superbug outbreak.

So far, the hospital has notified 179 patients who underwent these endoscopic procedures between October and January that they may have been exposed to the superbug, also known as CRE. Hospital officials were able to trace the infections to the tainted duodenoscopes.

Holding Product Manufacturers Liable

Based on statements made by experts to media, it appears that this superbug is tough to treat even with antibiotics.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a safety alert to hospitals and doctors warning about the potential for contamination with this particular device. About 500,000 people get treated and diagnosed with these types of endoscopes.

It is not clear if the manufacturer is planning on issuing a recall for these endoscopes.

It is unacceptable for a manufacturer to put a product, especially a medical device used on cancer patients and other seriously ill individuals that could pose an infection risk.

Apparently, this device has so many nooks and crannies that it may be impossible to thoroughly clean and disinfect it.

How is such as product even in the market?

As product liability attorneys, we certainly hope the FDA is looking into this issue to ensure the safety of thousands of patients who may be exposed across the nation.

UCLA Superbug Outbreak Linked To Contaminated Endoscopes

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EndoscopeThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning about a particular type of endoscope saying the devices that are used to look inside patients’ bodies, are so poorly designed that it is not possible to clean and disinfect them thoroughly.

According to an NBC news report, the endoscopes have been linked to an outbreak of drug-resistant bacteria that have killed at least two patients and infected five more at UCLA Medical Center.

The university has also sent out warnings to about 180 people saying that they may have been exposed to the potentially deadly bacteria.

How Do The Endoscopes Work?

The endoscopes the FDA has issued the warning about are not the scopes used in procedures such as colonoscopy. But they are used in diagnosing and treating a range of diseases and health conditions from gallstones to cancer. The scopes in question, generally called duodenoscopes, are used at least on a half-million people in the United States and have a number of tiny parts.

Duodenoscopes are flexible lighted tubes that are threaded through a patient’s mouth, throat, stomach and into the top of the small intestine, also known as the duodenum. They contain a hollow channel that allows the injection of a contrast dye or the insertion of other instruments to obtain tissue samples for biopsies or treat certain abnormalities.

The device’s design allows germs to be carried from one person to another. Experts say the process for cleaning and disinfecting the devices is complicated.

The Result of Defective Design?

There is no question that these endoscopes are sophisticated devices. They present a non-invasive alternative to many seriously ill patients.

But is it not the manufacturer’s responsibility to make a device that can be properly cleaned and disinfected in the real world? How could a manufacturer put a device in the market that could potentially cause germs to be transferred from one patient to another?

This is a real problem this manufacturer will need to address right away. We hope that the FDA does its due diligence when it comes to oversight on this matter.

If you or a loved one has been affected by these contaminated endoscopes, please contact an experienced product liability attorney in Los Angeles to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights. You may be eligible to receive compensation for your significant losses.

New Jeep SUVs Recalled For Inadvertent Airbag Deployments

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Chrysler RecallChrysler has issued a vehicle defect recall for about 228,181 late-model Jeep Cherokee SUVs after reports of inadvertent airbag deployments.

According to a report in The Detroit News, the recall covers 2014 and 2015 Jeep Cherokee SUVs including 168,092 in the United States.

Chrysler has said it will upgrade software governing side-curtain and seat-mounted side airbags after an investigation into airbag deployments without a crash involving drivers who “executed extreme maneuvers.”

The airbag systems basically sensed potential rollovers and automatically activated. The automaker says it is not aware of any related injuries or accidents.

In 2014, airbag recalls accounted for the largest single reason for the record number of vehicles recalled.

Last week, four automakers recalled 2.3 million vehicles for a new fix for another airbag problem linked to electronic defects that may cause airbags to deploy inadvertently.

However, those recalls are not related to Chrysler’s.

The Problem with Defective Airbags

Airbags have become an integral part of vehicle safety systems. It’s hard to imagine a car, truck or SUV without an airbag. These devices are meant to give us an extra layer of protection in the event of a car crash. However, there are times when airbags do fail.

We’ve seen a number of recalls involving airbags that fail to deploy.

Over the last year, millions of vehicles have been recalled for airbags manufactured by Takata that can explode and release shrapnel into the vehicle compartment, injuring or killing occupants.

Then, there are those faulty airbags that deploy inadvertently, without reason. This could be as dangerous because the driver is taken by surprise and may end up crashing the vehicle.

Auto Product Liability Issues

If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective auto, please ensure that the vehicle is preserved in its current state, unaltered. The vehicle is the most important piece of evidence in an auto defect case. When it is properly preserved an expert can examine it thoroughly for defects, malfunctions and other evidence.

Injured victims can seek compensation by filing a product liability lawsuit against the automaker or the company that manufactured faulty parts.

It takes an auto defect law firm that is not only resourceful, but also passionate about pursuing justice for injured clients and holding negligent automakers accountable.

New Safety Standards Aim To Make Chicken Safer

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ChickenChicken breasts, wings and legs, a staple of American diets, could become safer to eat thanks to new standards proposed by the Agriculture Department that aim to reduce rates of salmonella and campylobacter contamination.

According to an Associated Press news report, the standards would not be mandatory, but voluntary.

Officials say these standards are designed to put pressure on companies to take the necessary steps to reduce contamination and incidents of food poisoning and major outbreaks.

Reduction of Salmonella Rates

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says the proposed standards could reduce food-borne illnesses caused by raw poultry by about a quarter or 50,000 illnesses a year. Among the measures companies could take to reduce the rates of salmonella and campylobacter are better screening of flocks and better sanitation.

The proposal would ask poultry producers to reduce the rates of salmonella in raw chicken parts from about 24 percent now to less than 16 percent, and campylobacter rates in raw chicken parts from an estimated 22 percent to 8 percent. Salmonella rates would also be reduced in ground chicken and turkey.

Foster Farms Outbreak

These standards come after a lengthy outbreak of salmonella illnesses linked to California chicken company Foster Farms, which sickened more than 600 people between March 2013 and July 2014.

In 2013, USDA inspectors at Foster Farms facilities had documented fecal material on carcasses along with poor sanitation.

Federal food safety officials said the Foster Farms salmonella Heidelberg outbreak spurred these proposed regulations. That outbreak that lasted over 16 months, sickened 634 people in 29 states and Puerto Rico.

In that outbreak, scientists identified seven strains of the bacteria including some that were resistant to antibiotics used to treat humans for illnesses other than salmonella.

Safety Measures Should Be Mandatory

As California personal injury lawyers who represent victims of food poisoning, we sincerely believe that these proposed regulations should be mandatory for all producers and processors of poultry in the United States.

Salmonella and campylobacter illnesses can result in serious and violent illnesses causing victims to be hospitalized. Some severe illnesses could even result in fatalities.

Around 1 million Americans get sick from salmonella each year and almost 20 percent of those illnesses are linked to poultry.

It’s not sufficient for the government to encourage food producers to take these safety measures. They must become enforceable laws.

IKEA Recalls Crib Mattresses For Entrapment Hazard

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Ikea RecallFurniture retailer IKEA has issued a defective product recall for about 169,000 VYSSA crib mattresses for an entrapment risk.

According to a CBS news report, the gap between the mattress and the crib is larger than what is allowed under federal regulations.

These gaps pose a hazard to babies because they could get trapped in between and suffocate.

So far, there have been two reports of infants becoming trapped between the mattress and the crib. Both babies were uninjured.

This recall involves IKEA’s VYSSA style crib mattresses with the following five names: Vackert, Vinka, Spelevink, Sloa and Slummer.

The recalled mattresses were manufactured on May 4, 2014 or earlier. The identification label attached to the mattress cover has the date of manufacturer and the VYSSA model name.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), if a gap between the mattress and crib is larger than two fingers in width, the mattress is defective.

For more information, call IKEA at 1-888-966-4532.

Injuries Caused by Nursery Products

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2012 there were an estimated 77,900 emergency department-treated injuries associated with nursery products among children under 5 years of age. Cribs and mattresses, high chairs, infant carriers and strollers were associated with about 67 percent of the injuries.

For the three-year period between 2008 and 2010, there were 333 deaths associated with nursery products. A majority – 89 percent – of these deaths were linked to cribs or mattresses, bassinets, play pens, car seats and baby baths. The most common cause of death was asphyxia or strangulation.

Using Caution While Buying Baby Products

New parents tend to buy a number of baby items second-hand to save money. Others accept hand-me-downs from friends or relatives or items of sentimental value that are passed down from generation to generation.

When it comes to buying cribs and crib mattresses, experts say, don’t take a chance. Only cribs made after 1992 meet current safety standards. Never buy or accept drop-side cribs. When it comes to crib mattresses, those in older cribs may not fit as tightly as they do in newer cribs.

This can be dangerous because babies could wedged between the mattress and crib edges posing a suffocation hazard. Do not buy any crib mattress that does not fit snugly in your child’s crib.

If your child has been injured as the result of a dangerous or defective product, please contact an experienced product liability lawyer who will guide you in the right direction and give you more information about pursuing your legal rights.

California Apples Linked To Deadly Listeria Outbreak

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Apple RecallA Bakersfield, California, apple-packing plant has recalled all of its Granny Smith and Gala apple shipments from 2014 after they have been linked to an outbreak of listeria in caramel apples that may have caused up to five deaths.

According to an Associated Press news report, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Bidart Brothers of Bakersfield is recalling apples shipped from its Shafter packing facility last year spurred by a federal investigation of 32 listeria illnesses across 11 states including the five deaths.

Bidart supplied apples for two commercial caramel apple brands that were linked to the food poisoning incidents.

Several Brands Affected

Health officials cautioned consumers last month to avoid prepackaged caramel apples after they were linked to the illnesses. Caramel apples are most popular around Halloween and this outbreak started just before then.

However, the commercially produced apples have a longer shelf life and officials fear they may still remain on store shelves or in people’s homes.

On December 22, Bidart Brothers issued a recall only to customers who produce caramel apples.

The following day, food safety officials inspected the facility, finding listeria present on surfaces likely to come into contact with the apples.

FDA has said some of the recalled apples may be sold under the names and brand names “Big B” and “Granny’s Best” although they could be sold under other brand names or without any brand name.

It would be a good idea for consumers who have recently bought Granny Smith or Gala apples to ask retailers if Bidart supplied them.

So far, several other caramel apple brands such as Happy Apple, Kroger, California Snack Foods and Merb’s Candies, have also issued recalls.

Liability Issues

Listeria is a foodborne illness that can especially harm pregnant women, newborn babies, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhea. As we saw in this particular outbreak, listeria infections can be deadly.

Food producers have a legal obligation to keep their manufacturing and processing facilities clean and without contamination. Equipment and locations that come into contact with the food must be kept sanitized at all times.

If you have suffered from food poisoning, you may be able to seek compensation for the responsible parties such as a food manufacturer, producer, distributor, retailer or eatery that served the contaminated food.

Food poisoning victims would be well advised to contact an experienced California personal injury attorney who will stay on top of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.

Play Yards Recalled For Strangulation Hazard

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Dream On Me Play Yard RecallThe Dream On Me company has issued a defective product recall for 10,000 children’s play yards because they could pose a strangulation hazard.

According to a WSB-TV news report, the recall includes Dream On Me Incredible two-level deluxe play yards with model number starting with 436A, 436B, 436G, 436O, 436P and 436R.

The play yards are made with a steel, powder-coated frame base with rolling hooded casters and have a fabric and mesh covering that comes in a variety of colors.

Recall Details

The company has issued a statement that the rails of the play yards could collapse, putting children at risk. At this time, no injuries or deaths have been reported.

The products were sold at Amazon, Kohls, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Wayfair and other online retailers from March 2010 through January 2014 for about $60.

The play yards include a changing top, a toy bar with soft bars, a side pocket for storage and a carrying case. Consumers who have these products at home are asked to immediately stop using the recalled play yards and contact the manufacturer to receive a free repair kit.

For more information, call 1-877-201-4317.

Nursery Product Fatalities

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) between 2008 and 2010, there were 333 deaths associated with nursery products among children under 5.

Cribs, mattresses, bassinets, play yards, infant carriers and baby baths were associated with 89 percent of the fatalities reported. Causes of death included positional asphyxia, strangulation and drowning among others.

Product Liability Issues

A number of child deaths and injuries occur each year because of products that are poorly manufactured or dangerously designed. In such cases, the manufacturers of the defective products can be held financially responsible for the injuries and damages caused.

Victims or their families can file what is known as a product liability claim against the manufacturer seeking compensation for damages.

It is also important that consumers stay updated on these recalls that can be found on CPSC’s website. Parents should be especially careful when they accept hand-me-downs or purchase items at yard sales or on Craigslist.

If your child has been injured as a result of a defective or dangerous product, please contact an experienced product liability attorney to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.

Prepackaged Caramel Apples Cause Deadly Listeria Outbreak

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Listeria Caramel ApplesHealth officials are warning consumers this holiday season to avoid pre-packaged caramel apples after they have been linked to five deaths and two dozen illnesses in 10 states including California.

According to an NBC Los Angeles the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it knows of 28 cases in which people were sickened with listeria bacteria of which 26 were hospitalized.

Five of those who were hospitalized died. CDC said listeriosis contributed to four of the five deaths.

The agency said 83 percent of those sickened reported eating commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples before falling ill. Three meningitis cases linked to the listeria were also reported in children.

However, the three children were not among the fatalities.

The illnesses were reported between October 17 and November 27. CDC officials said they are still trying to determine the specific brands there were involved in this food poisoning outbreak.

The illnesses occurred in 10 states including Arizona, California, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

The Danger of Listeria

In 2012, 831 food poisoning outbreaks were reported to CDC. In 2012, there were four confirmed outbreaks and one suspected outbreak of listeriosis in the United States.

The largest listeriosis outbreak in U.S. history occurred in 2011, when 147 illnesses, 33 deaths, and one miscarriage occurred among residents of 28 states.

That outbreak was associated with consumption of cantaloupe from a single farm.

A person who has been infected with listeriosis usually has fever and muscle aches sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms.

Pregnant women typically experience symptoms such as fatigue and aches. Infections during pregnancy could lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn.

Symptoms for those who are not pregnant could include stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, convulsions, fever and muscle aches.

Actions You Can Take

If you have any of these caramel apples at home, please do not consume them. Discard them right away in a closed plastic bag placed in a sealed trashcan.

If you have eaten them and are experiencing symptoms, please isolate the food for testing in a laboratory.

Wash areas where the cheese was stored in the fridge with hot water and soap. Wash cutting boards, surfaces or utensils that came into contact with the food.

If you developed a fever after eating these or other contaminated products, seek medical care right away.

Report your illness to the local health agency.

Contact an experienced California personal injury lawyer who has successfully handled food poisoning cases and can help protect your rights.

Bicycle Helmets Recalled For Head Injury Risk

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Bike Helmet Safety RecallThe U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) along with UVEX Sports has announced a recall of seven models of bicycle helmets because the anchor for the chinstrap can fail.

According to news reports consumers are asked to stop using the recalled products right away because they have the potential to cause riders serious head injuries.

Helmets Could Slide Off

The recall involves seven models of UVEX bike helmets that come in a variety of colors and different colored chinstraps. The helmets also have a model number inside them under the fitting pad on the top right side.

According to CPSC officials, the anchor in the chinstrap can fail causing the helmets to slide off the head and posing an injury hazard. The bicycle helmets also fail to comply with the impact requirement of the CPSC safety standards for bicycle helmets.

So far no injuries or deaths have been reported as a result of these defective products. The helmets included in the recall were sold in bicycle specialty stores nationwide from September 2009 through June 2014 for about $100 to $260.

Consumers should stop using the helmets and contact UVEX for a free compliant helmet or a refund of the purchase price. For more information, call UVEX at 1-844-767-0656.

The Danger of Head Injuries

There are four main types of head injuries. A closed injury does not break open your skull or penetrate brain tissue, but it can cause bruising or swelling of the brain.

An open injury is any damage that penetrates the skull that could cause bleeding within the brain tissue. An open head injury could also lead to skull fractures.

A concussion occurs when the brain is shaken and could lead to severe headaches or loss of consciousness. Scalp wounds may lead to bleeding or tissue damage.

Head injuries may have serious or life-changing consequences depending on the nature and extent of the injury.

If the injury was caused by a defective product, injured victims can file a product liability claim against the manufacturer seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress.

If a defective product has injured you, make sure you preserve it in its current condition so that an expert can examine it thoroughly for design flaws, defects and other malfunctions.

The best product defect law firms will always offer a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation to injured victims and their families.

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