Costa Mesa Fire Caused by Possibly Defective Space Heater

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A Costa Mesa family lost their pet in a fire on December 27, 2008, which officials say was caused by a space heater. According to a CBS News report, the fire broke out in the rear unit of a residential duplex on the 200 block of Magnolia Street. The residents and their guests were uninjured and were able to make it out of the house, but the family’s dog was killed in the fire.

Costa Mesa fire officials say the space heater certainly caused the blaze, but they are trying to look at whether the heater had been placed too close to any flammable materials or whether the space heater was defective or malfunctioning. Investigators are estimating the damage from the fire at $450,000, which includes a vehicle in the garage.
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Court Reinstates Claim Alleging Ford Explorer Design Defect

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A New Jersey appellate court has reinstated a claim that a design defect caused a 2000 Ford Explorer sport utility vehicle to roll over and crash, causing serious injuries to the driver. Ford had previously won the case in trial court after Ford presented evidence that the injured driver, Patricio Paredes, caused the SUV rollover crash by over-correcting the steering, which they said would have caused any vehicle to roll over. Our source for this blog was this news report in the New Jersey Law Journal.

The appellate court ordered a retrial stating that the trial judge did not inform jurors that the evidence of the driver’s alleged negligence had nothing to do with the primary issue in this case – which was if the Explorer’s design was defective. The trial judge would have needed to give the jury such specific instructions had Ford asserted “contributory negligence,” which basically means that the driver caused the crash and would have crashed irrespective of what vehicle he was driving. But Ford abandoned the contributory negligence assertion before trial.
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FDA Warns Consumers against Tainted Diet Pills with Lethal Side Effects

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers about 25 different diet supplements marketed for weight loss because they can pose extremely serious health risks to those who use them. According to this news report, these diet pills contain ingredients that are not approved for use in the United States. Some of the effects that have been reported are high blood pressure, seizures and strokes. These products are apparently marketed as “dietary supplements” and sold on various Web sites and in retail stores.

The weight loss products that are apparently contaminated with, what the federal agency calls, “undeclared active pharmaceutical ingredients” include: Fatloss Slimming, Japan Lingzhi 24 Hours Diet, 2 Day Diet, 3x Slimming Power, 5x Imelda Perfect Slimming, 3 Day Diet, 7 Day Herbal Slim, 8 Factor Diet, 7 Diet Day/Night Formula, 999 Fitness Essence, Extrim Plus, GMP, Imelda Perfect Slim, Lida DaiDaihua, Miaozi Slim Capsules, Perfect Slim, Perfect Slim 5x, Phyto Shape, ProSlim Plus, Royal Slimming Formula, Slim 3 in 1, Slim Express 360, Slimtech, Somotrim, Superslim, TripleSlim, Zhen de Shou, and Venom Hyperdrive 3.0.
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Cribs Recalled for Excessive Levels of Lead

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Munire Furniture is recalling about 9,000 cribs and other matching pieces of furniture in its “Newport Rubbed Black” series after receiving one report of a child ingesting lead paint on the furniture. The child was diagnosed with lead poisoning. The red paint which is under the black finish paint on some of the cribs and matching furniture apparently exceeds federal lead limits. If young children ingest the paint, it can cause adverse health effects including brain damage. Our source for this blog was this news report on Consumeraffairs.com.

The recalled cribs and furniture are made of wood and have a rubbed black finish. These lead-tainted products were manufactured in Indonesia and sold in stores nationwide between April 2006 and November 2008 for between $700 and $1,000. The accessories were sold for about $170. The model number, date and country of manufacture are printed on the label attached to the side panel of the crib. The date of manufacture is on the back panel of the cribs. For a complete list of the furniture models included in this recall, please visit the company’s Web site at www.munirefurniture.com.
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Family of Child Fatally Strangulated in Defective Bassinet Sues Disney

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The family of 6-month-old Kennedy Brotherton Jones has sued the Walt Disney Company for its defective bassinets. The family lost their young child this year after he was strangled to death in his Winnie the Pooh bassinet. The family is alleging that the company allowed the sales of these bassinets in spite of knowing that the bassinet’s defective design had been linked to another baby’s strangulation one year ago. According to this news report in the Chicago Tribune, the defective bassinets had a drop-down side for easy access, but that design created a space where infants could slide through and become strangled.

Kennedy Brotherton Jones died on August 21, 2008 after which the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission directed retailers nationwide to stop selling these bassinets manufactured by Simplicity Inc. Disney’s consumer products division apparently licensed its Winnie the Pooh name and image to Simplicity. Kennedy’s family filed the lawsuit in California State Court in Los Angeles.
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Evenflo Recalls Defective High Chairs

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Evenflo Co. Inc. has recalled nearly 100,000 of its Majestic high chairs after receiving reports that children were getting injured as a result of parts falling off the defective high chairs. According to this MSNBC news report, the voluntary recall came after reports of dozens of injuries to children when the seatbacks fell off. Injuries to children ranged from broken bones to head bruises.

In addition to the fall hazard, the plastic screws and metal screws on both sides of the high chair can also fall out, posing a choking hazard to children. According to this Consumer Reports Web site, Evenflo received more than 1,000 reports of plastic caps and screws falling out of the high chairs, including seven incidents in which caps and screws were found in children’s hands or mouths, but were removed before the choking occurred.
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Defective Tires Recalled For Possible Tread Separation Hazard

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Cooper Tire is recalling its CS4 Touring (VR) tires, which are said to be defective because they can lead to tire tread separation and cause a serious auto accident. According to this news report on Consumeraffairs.com, these defective tires were apparently cured for an inadequate amount of time. This condition could lead to tire tread separation, which could cause a motorist to lose control of the vehicle and thereby result in a crash.

The recalled tires are size 215/55R17, manufactured between September 7, 2008 and October 11, 2008. Cooper Tire will notify owners and replace, mount and balance any of these defective tires without any charge to the consumer. Dealers will first examine suspect tires to check whether they are part of the recalled batch of tires. This tire recall is expected to begin this month. Consumers who seek more information are asked to call Cooper Tire Consumer Relations at 1-800-854-6288 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at 1-888-327-4236. You could also visit the NHTSA’s Web site at www.safercar.gov.
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Defectively Designed Britax Child Restraint Systems Recalled

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Britax is recalling its Frontier child restraint systems because of a problem with its harness straps. According to this news report on Consumeraffairs.com, if the harness straps are loosened using one strap at a time, the straps may become detached from the metal yoke located on the back of the child seat. Should these harness straps become detached, the child will not be properly restrained in the car seat posing an increased risk of injury or death in the event of an auto accident.

The models being affected by this car seat recall include: E9L54E7 (Frontier Red Rock), E9L54H6 (Frontier Rushmore), E9L54H7 (Frontier Pink Sky), E9L54M6 (Frontier Canyon), and E9L5490 (Frontier Sahara). All of these models were manufactured between April and September of 2008. Consumers who own these defective car seats will be getting notification from the manufacturer. All registered owners will also get remedy kits free of charge. Those who have not registered their car seats are asked to call Britax at 1-704-409-1700 to request their complimentary kit.
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Graco Recalls 44,000 Car Seats Because of Obscured Warning Label

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Child car seat manufacturer Graco is recalling nearly 44,000 Comfortsport convertible child car seats in the Frazier Fashion line. These car seats apparently come with a large, supplemental pad or body pillow that partially obscures the child airbag warning label which is on the seat pad. This is a violation of federal safety standards because serious injury or even death could occur should the child car seat be placed improperly in the vehicle. Our source for this blog is this news report on Consumeraffairs.com.

Once the recall begins, Graco will notify owners of these products to discard the body pillows. These pads are provided for comfort only and do not affect the seat’s ability to protect the child in the event of an auto accident. These car seats were manufactured from November 1, 2006 through October 8, 2007. Those with more questions are asked to call Graco at 1-800-345-4109 or e-mail consumerservices@gracobaby.com.
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Defective Tire Valves Recalled

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Dill Air Control Products is recalling its snap-in rubber tire valves sold between November 2006 and July 2007, according to this news report on Consumeraffairs.com. Apparently, these defective tire valve systems may lack the required additive to protect the rubber against deterioration from ozone exposure. What that means is that the affected valve systems may weather and crack sooner than expected. And over time, such a crack could cause air to leak resulting in loss of tire pressure. Such loss in tire pressure can result in a flat tire or a sudden tire blowout and cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle and crash.

Consumers who purchased tires between November 2006 and July 2007 whose valve systems contain the Dill cap, should have the valve stems inspected for cracks in the rubber. This recall is for models APC TR413, TR414 and TR418. Tire dealers will inspect the Dill valve stems and replace them if cracked, free of charge. The dealer will then file a claim with Dill. If you would like to have more information about this product recall, please call 1-888-364-2982 or visit www.tirevalverecall.net. You may also call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at 1-888-327-4236 or visit their Web site at www.safercar.gov.
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