CPSC Recalls Defective Halloween Products

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The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recalled 44,000 products including Halloween Casper ghost-shaped tea light candle holders and figurines because of fire and lead paint hazards, according to its consumer alerts.

CPSC has received five reports of the tealight holders catching on fire and one report of the holder getting too hot. Two consumers are said to have suffered burns to their hands. Some minor property damage has also been reported.
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Family Sues Ford for Defective Design of Crown Victoria Gas Tanks

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A family in Fort Worth, Texas, has filed a product liability lawsuit against Ford Motor Company in connection with a Ford Crown Victoria accident that killed a police officer in December 2006. Officer Dwayne Freeto, 34, was killed when his police squad car exploded and burst into flames on Interstate 35 in Fort Worth. The explosion occurred after he was rear-ended by a drunk driver. The family’s lawsuit is alleging that Ford was negligent in its design of the Crown Victoria gas tank. Our source for this blog was a CBS News report.

The lawsuit also alleges that Ford has been aware of the defective gas tank design in the Crown Victoria for years, but has done nothing to rectify it or make it safer for consumers. Apparently, this lawsuit is one of many across the Unites States claiming a faulty design in Crown Victoria cars. According to the Center for Auto Safety, since 1992 more than 100 people have been killed in rear-end collisions involving a Crown Victoria. More than 30 of these casualties included police officers.
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Federal Safety Agency Reports Increase in ATV Injuries and Deaths

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has released a report stating that serious injuries and deaths caused by all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) have increased for the eighth straight year. Children under age 16 continue to suffer a significant portion of these injuries. The complete 2007 Annual Report of ATV-Related Deaths and Injuries may be viewed here.

This new report does not come as a surprise. With the increased use of ATVs, especially by teenagers and young children, the number of injuries and fatalities among ATV users has been consistently increasing over the last 10 years. These numbers show that CPSC’s efforts to stem the tide have been completely ineffective. To make matters worse, the ATV industry itself has done nothing to make these dangerous vehicles any safer for consumers. There have been several recalls of dangerous and defective ATVs over the last two years. These vehicles have posed significant risk of severe injury and death to consumers.
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Defective Parking Brake System Leads to Chrysler Vehicle Recalls

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Chrysler is recalling 3,663 of its 2007-08 Dodge Nitro vehicles and 2008 model Jeep Liberty vehicles for defects in the parking brake lever that could result in a crash. According to an October 20, 2008 article on Edmunds.com, Chrysler has received 24 reports alleging various degrees of reduced effectiveness of the parking brake system. One report alleged that the defective brake system caused a vehicle to crash.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states in its recall summary that the park brake lever clutch drum may “distort and reduce the effectiveness of the park brake system.” This could essentially allow the vehicle to move suddenly and inadvertently and cause a crash without warning, the federal agency warned. This recall involves Nitro and Liberty vehicles equipped with manual transmissions that were manufactured before February 2008. Chrysler dealers will replace the lever assembly for free once the recall begins later this month. Owners are asked to contact Chrysler at 1-800-853-1403 for more information about this recall.

Parking brake defects are extremely serious and can lead to catastrophic injuries or death in the event of an accident. We have seen many cases where an ineffective parking brake system can cause a vehicle to roll back without warning and run over unsuspecting victims. Auto collisions are also likely.
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Federal Agency Opens Investigation Into Defective Ford Tire Valve Systems

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The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened an investigation into more than 1 million Ford Motor Co. vehicles after receiving numerous complaints about defective tire valve systems manufactured by a Chinese company. According to this Associated Press news report, the federal safety agency stated that more than 4,700 complaints about these faulty tire valve systems have been filed. The valves become severely cracked and cause air to leak from the tires. The defective valves were blamed for a fatal rollover crash involving a 1998 Ford Explorer in November 2007.

Ford officials say the government investigation involves all vehicles with the tire valves, including 12 vehicles from the 2007 model year cited by the government. Ford officials also say they have “received some complaints, but no reports of crashes or injuries.” These valves are used in most Ford vehicles except for some models of the F-Series Super Duty Trucks and Econoline vans. The vehicles involved in the investigation include the Ford F-150, Mustang, Edge, Fusion, Expedition, Explorer, Focus and Escape, and the Mercury Grand Marquis, MKX, MKZ, and Milan.
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Ford Escape Hybrids Prone To Rollover Accidents, Expert Says

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The 2008 Ford Escape Hybrids, used as taxis in New York City, are “unsafe” because collisions and rollover accidents involving these vehicles often end with the driver being hospitalized and a total loss of the vehicle, according to this news report. The report was based on a study by noted automotive engineer, C. Bruce Gambardella, who looked into several accidents, including one serious New York City rollover accident. The Taxi and Limousine Commission requested the study after reports of an increasing number of hybrid taxi rollovers.

The Ford Escape Hybrid apparently received only a three-star rollover resistance rating from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) when compared with another more popular taxi model, the Crown Victoria, which received a five-star rating. This is a tough challenge for New York taxi owners and drivers because they face a possible city-wide hybrid taxi mandate that was scheduled to go into effect this month. This mandate would essentially get rid of the Crown Victoria taxicabs and require taxi owners to drive vehicles such as the Ford Escape.
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1.6 Million Delta Cribs Recalled After Two Infant Deaths

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Delta Enterprises has recalled about 1.6 million cribs after two 8-month-old infants suffocated and died as a result of the defective beds. According to an October 21, 2008 MSNBC news report, both of the infant deaths involved babies getting trapped in a gap created when the movable side of the crib came off its guide track. Delta officials say that both of these tragic incidents also involved safety pegs that are intended to prevent the drop side from lowering too far and sliding off the track. If these pegs are not installed or if they fail to engage, the drop side of the crib can detach, creating a gap where babies can get trapped and suffocated.

Consumers are asked to stop using the drop-side cribs right away if the safety pegs are missing. The first child fatality occurred in May 2007 in Bryan, Texas. That infant girl died because the safety pegs were not installed on her crib. The second reported death happened more than a year later in July 2008 when an 8-month-old boy in Tallahassee, Florida, suffocated after a safety peg failed and allowed the drop side to detach.
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Lake Havasu Boating Accident Victim Gets $4.3 Million

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An Ontario, California boat manufacturer has been ordered to pay $4.3 million to Stacey Lowry. The Chino Hills resident lost her leg in an August 4, 2004 boating accident in Lake Havasu. According to an article in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Lowry filed the product liability lawsuit against Johnson Marine Supplies Inc. a year after the 8/4/2004 accident.

The accident occurred when Lowry’s husband, Paul, had tried to put the throttle of the boat in reverse. The boat then surged causing it to hit a cement sea wall. Stacey Lowry’s leg was crushed and as a result, had to be amputated. Lowry’s lawsuit alleged that the boat had a defective retainer clip that was not installed properly.
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Defective Playkids U.S.A. Cribs Recalled After Death of Infant

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Playkids U.S.A. is recalling about 2,000 convertible cribs after the death of a 5-month-old child in Brooklyn, N.Y. According to an October 16, 2008 news report in Consumeraffairs.com, the infant suffocated and died after getting trapped between the mattress and the drop side rail of the crib. The sides of the convertible crib are apparently made of a mesh that expands, creating a gap between the mattress and the side through which an infant can slip and get trapped.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission also issued an alert about this serious product defect, which poses a significant hazard to young children. This recall specifically involves the Playkids U.S.A. convertible crib/playpen/bassinet/bed with model number PLK-909. “Playkids U.S.A.” can be found on the packaging and on a label attached to the side of the crib. The model number can be found on the crib’s packaging. These defective convertible cribs were sold in juvenile product retailers in New York from March 2007 through September 2008 for about $100.
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Defective Airbags Lead to Hyundai Elantra Recalls

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http://www.bestattorney.com/defective_auto_part.htmlHyundai-Kia has issued two recalls for its Hyundai Elantra models because of defective airbags, Consumeraffairs.com reported October 18, 2008. The first recall involves about 150,000 Hyundai Elantra 2001 models for a problem with the front airbag sensor. Company officials say the airbags might not deploy during a crash if liquids had spilled in the cup holder on the central console and dripped onto the airbag control module. Once the recall begins, dealers will install a protective cover to fix the problem.

The second recall involves 2001 and 2002 Elantras with defective side impact airbags, specifically with the side airbag wiring harness mounted under each front seat.
Apparently, material placed under the front seats could cause the wiring harness to malfunction, which could prevent the airbags from deploying during an auto accident.
Dealers will provide new harness attachments and connector clips to correct the problem. Consumers looking for more information may contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at 1-888-327-4236 or visit www.safercar.gov.
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