General Motors Recalls New Cadillac SUVs for Dangerous Defect

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General Motors Company is issuing a vehicle defect recall for nearly 20,000 new Cadillac SRX SUVs for faulty wheel lug nuts. According to a news report in The Detroit News, GM has told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it is recalling 18,871 of the 2013 SRX SUVs in the United States and nearly 1,000 in Canada due to concerns that a wheel could eventually fall off, posing a serious safety issue.

Loose Wheel Lug Nuts

The Detroit automaker has been investigating the issue of wheel nuts coming loose since October 2012. General Motors said that it determined that the wheel nuts with blue-tint Teflon topcoat could loosen. In March and April, the automaker reported receiving six reports from consumers of noise and other issues caused by loose lug buts.

However, a company spokesman says the automaker has not received any reports of wheels falling out. Owners could experience creaking, rattling or grinding noises from the loose wheels or vibrations from the steering. When the recall begins in June, GM dealers will remove and reinstall the nuts and rotate the tires at no cost to consumers.

Prior GM Recall

This is the second recall of the Cadillac SRX models since March of this year. In March, GM recalled about 26,500 model-year 2013 Cadillac SRX crossover vehicles and 2013 Buick Lacrosse sedans to address a potential software problem that could increase the risk of a crash. This problem involved an issue that could cause the transmission to inadvertently shift to Sport mode removing a transmission-related engine braking effect.

Auto Product Liability Issues

These are without question dangerous auto defects that could result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities. When a vehicle’s wheel comes loose, there is very little opportunity even for an experienced driver to regain control of the vehicle. In addition to the defective vehicle’s occupants, surrounding pedestrians and other motorists are also in danger of getting hurt.

If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of an auto defect, it would be in your best interest to contact an experienced auto products liability lawyer who will fight for your rights and ensure that you are fairly and fully compensated for your losses. Following the crash, it is critical that the vehicle in question is preserved for a thorough inspection by a qualified expert who will help determine if defects, malfunctions or design flaws played a part in the crash.

Subaru to Recall 5,400 Vehicles for Potential Steering Defect

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Subaru is issuing a vehicle defect recall for nearly 5,400 2013 Outback and Legacy models because the steering may fail. According to a report in The New York Times, the automaker told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that the inner and outer shafts of the steering column assembly could lose contact with one another. In such cases, the driver may lose the ability to steer the vehicle.

Defective Steering Columns

The automaker said it first learned about the problem last June involving a vehicle that was still in the assembly plant. Subaru officials said they stopped selling and shipping the vehicles until they were all inspected and repaired. However, in February, Subaru received a complaint from a vehicle owner about loss of steering.

The company started an investigation. The automaker has concluded that a visual inspection conducted in June 2012, when the problem was detected on an assembly-line vehicle, “may not have been effective.” So, the company has decided to recall the vehicles involved and replace the steering column. So far, the automaker says, it has not received reports of accidents or injuries as the result of these steering defects.

Auto Product Liability Issues

Based on this news report, Subaru knew about these dangerous steering defects, but only performed a “visual inspection” to correct the problem. It was not until they got a consumer complaint after the vehicles were sold that the automaker realized that their initial fix was insufficient or ineffective. I trust NHTSA will look into whether the automaker did enough to fix the problem in the first place.

Steering defects have the potential to cause significant injuries or even fatalities. When a driver loses steering control, it is very likely to result in a crash. This is dangerous not only for the vehicle’s occupants, but also other pedestrians and motorists on the roadway.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective auto or faulty vehicle part, please contact an experienced auto products liability lawyer who has successfully fought and won against these large automakers. The best auto defect law firms will always offer a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation to injured victims and their families.

Generic Drug Maker Pleads Guilty, Agrees to Pay $500 Million in Fines

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Ranbaxy, an India-based generic drug manufacturer, has pleaded guilty to federal drug safety violations and has agreed to pay $500 million in fines to resolve claims that it sold substandard drugs, The New York Times reports.

The article states that the company also made false statements to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding its manufacturing practices at two factories in India. This is the largest settlement in U.S. history, which involves safety violations by a generic drug manufacturer.

Several Safety Violations

Since last year, Ranbaxy has been operating under a “consent decree” with the FDA, after the agency identified a number of manufacturing lapses at plants in India and one in the United States. As part of the settlement, Ranbaxy pleaded guilty to three felony counts of violating the federal drug safety law and four of making false statements to the FDA. Company officials also admitted that they failed to conduct proper safety and quality tests of several drugs manufactured in their plants including gabapentin, which treats epilepsy and nerve pain and the antibiotic ciprofloxacin.

In the case of gabapentin, although the company knew between June and August of 2007 that certain batches were contaminated, it waited until October 2007 to issue a recall, which eventually included more than 73 million pills. In addition, prosecutors said the company’s workers did not properly ensure that certain batches of the drugs remained effective throughout their estimated shelf life.

Liability Issues

It is appalling that the manufacturers of these generic medications were so brazen in terms of giving false information or lying to the FDA. It is reassuring that the government went after this manufacturer and held them accountable. It is unclear how many patients may have been affected by these defective drugs. At question is the epilepsy drug, which may have been contaminated. In addition, there were also other drugs that lost their effectiveness before their estimated shelf life.

Anyone who has suffered adverse effects as the result of taking these or other defective drugs would be well advised to contact an experienced California product liability attorney who will hold the negligent corporations accountable. Drug companies have formidable legal defense teams on their side looking out for their best interests. Victims and their families need a committed lawyer on their side who will fight hard for their rights and ensure that they receive fair and full compensation for their significant losses.

Chrysler Recalls 469,000 SUVs for Defective Gearshift

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Chrysler has announced a vehicle defect recall for 469,000 SUVs worldwide for problems with the gearshift that could cause the gear to inadvertently shift to neutral. According to an NBC News report, the automaker will update software after some of the vehicles’ circuit boards were found to be transmitting signals that trigger the inadvertent gear shifting.

The vehicle models included in this recall are 2006 to 2010 Jeep Commanders and 2005 to 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokees. Chrysler officials say they were aware of 26 accidents and two injuries related to the gearshift problem, but no fatalities.

Recent Chrysler Recalls

Chrysler has been plagued by several recalls for various vehicle defects over the last year or so. In November, the automaker recalled nearly a million Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty SUVs worldwide to fix a part that could cause the airbags to deploy inadvertently. Chrysler is also recalling 532 2013-model-year Ram 1500 pickup trucks to replace windshield defrosting and defogging components. In addition, the company is also recalled more than 5,000 2008-2012 Jeep Wranglers to install dust shields to prevent buildup that could compromise airbag operation.

Dangerous Defects

Gearshift problems have the potential to cause serious injuries and fatalities. When vehicles roll out of gear unexpectedly, serious injury crashes can occur. This can seriously hurt not only the driver and other occupants of the vehicle or occupants of other vehicles, but also pedestrians or other individuals who happen to be near the vehicle. It is not clear how many people have been affected by these recalled Chrysler vehicles or if more models need to be included in the recall.

Auto Product Liability Issues

Auto manufacturers are required under the law to report any type of defective auto parts promptly to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This ensures that consumers are warned about defective vehicles and also that the necessary repairs are made so they are not exposed to the risk of getting into a car accident.

Anyone who has been injured as the result of a vehicle defect can file an auto product liability claim against the automaker seeking compensation for his or her injuries, damages and losses. Anyone who has lost a loved one as the result of an auto defect can file a wrongful death claim seeking damages. Victims and their families would be well advised to contact an experienced auto products liability attorney who has successfully handled similar cases against large automakers.

BMW Recalls 220,000 Cars for Defective Airbags

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BMW is recalling 220,000 vehicles worldwide for a front-passenger airbag defect that caused leading Japanese carmakers including Toyota and Honda to recall 3.4 million vehicles last month. According to a news report in the Detroit Free Press, the airbags, manufactured by Takata, have an inflator housing that can rupture when the airbags deploy and send shards of metal flying into the vehicle.

BMW vehicles involved in this recall include 3-Series models manufactured from December 2001 to March 2003. The German automaker expects that 180,000 of these vehicles are still in use. Other manufacturers who recalled vehicles for similar airbag defects include Nissan and General Motors.

Faulty Airbag Recalls

This is not the first time Takata airbags have been recalled. Between 2008 and 2011, Honda recalled 1.7 million vehicles due to a problem with the propellant in driver-side airbags that Takata manufactured. BMW states no injuries have been reported as a result of these airbag defects. The automaker will contact owners to replace these faulty airbags at no charge to consumers.

According to AOL Autos, carmakers have issued 22 airbag-related recalls just in the last six months, eight of which involved Takata. This number is up from 10 in the previous six-month period. Also, 23 airbag recalls were reported in 2012. This year alone, so far, there have been 15 airbag-related recalls in the United States.

Dangerous Defects and Liability Issues

Airbags have become an important safety component in today’s vehicles. In addition to driver and passenger-side airbags, automakers have also started installing side curtain airbags to provide protection to vehicle occupants in the event of a side-impact collision.

However, when airbags fail to perform as intended, they can become dangerous for the vehicle’s occupants. In the case of the defective Takata airbags, shards of metal are expelled from the deployed airbags. This type of a defect has the potential to cause serious or even fatal injuries.

Injured victims of defective autos can seek compensation from the automakers by filing an auto product liability claim. Families of deceased victims can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for damages as well. Victims or their families would be well advised to contact an experienced auto product liability attorney who will fight for their rights and ensure that the negligent manufacturers are held liable.

Proposed Legislation to Give FDA Control of Compounding Pharmacies

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Under a proposed legislation announced recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would gain greater authority over compounding pharmacies. According to a Reuters news report, the proposal came from a bipartisan group of U.S. senators in the aftermath of a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 53 people across several states and made more than 700 sick. This outbreak was linked to vials of tainted steroid injections produced at the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts.

New Rules for Compounding Pharmacies

Traditionally, compounding pharmacies that make very specific types of medications come under the purview of state health agencies and not the FDA like other large pharmaceutical companies that mass-produce drugs. However, under this legislation, a new class of drug manufacturer will be created that would then be regulated by the FDA. This category will be exempt from regulations that apply to large pharmaceutical companies.

For example, the drugs produced at the compounding pharmacies for individual patients will not need approval from the FDA and are not subject to labeling standards. But, there will be changes. These companies will no longer be registered as “pharmacies.” They would be required to register with the agency and must report any problems reported by patients or physicians with regard to their products. In addition, they must pay an annual fee to the FDA to cover inspection costs. There are about 2,800 compounding pharmacies nationwide.

Product Liability Issues

All facilities that manufacture medications have an obligation to maintain a safe and clean environment. A recent FDA sweep of a number of compounding pharmacies found dangerously unhygienic conditions at a number of these facilities, according to recent media reports. While these pharmacies do come under the purview of the states, the state departments apparently do little to regulate these facilities.

Anyone who has been seriously injured or has lost a loved one as the result of a defective drug would be well advised to contact a product liability attorney who will fight for their rights and ensure that they receive just compensation for their significant losses.

Honda Recalls 44,000 Fit Sport Vehicles Due to Defective Stability Control

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Honda has recalled nearly 44,000 2012-13 Honda Fit Sport models because of a problem with the cars’ electronic stability control system. The New York Times reports that Honda will update the software on the “vehicle stability assist” to rectify the problem. Honda officials said that the Fit Sport’s stability control system was programmed according to the handling characteristics of the Bridgestone Turanza tire model. However, some vehicles were equipped with Dunlop SP tires.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that the system did not react as quickly as it should have to stop a slide. The Fit Sport is different from the standard Fit because it has larger tires and a rear stabilizer bar. The Honda Fit’s vehicle stability assist system basically uses sensors and a computer to determine if the vehicle is moving in a direction at odds with what the driver is doing with the steering wheel. The system then applies the brakes on single wheels to try and correct the movement.

Danger of a Rollover

Honda says the stability control system can cause the car to tilt too far before it applies the brakes to prevent a crash. This software glitch could cause the vehicle to tip over or roll over. The defect was discovered in government testing of the vehicle models.

Honda says so far no crashes or injuries have been linked to this defective vehicle. Honda dealers will update the system’s software free of charge when the recall notifications begin in mid-May. So far, this year alone, Honda has recalled about 183,000 vehicles for problems with the electronic stability control system, which could cause the vehicles to slow down unexpectedly.

NHTSA has required electronic stability control as standard equipment on all light duty vehicles. These systems are said to significantly reduce the chance of a rollover accident. Rollover crashes, according to NHTSA, account for about 30 percent of all traffic accident deaths. In fact, NHTSA estimates that when all cars have stability control systems, up to 9,600 lives will be saved each year in the United States.

Liability Issues

But, when these systems fail to function as they are expected to, the consequences can be devastating for vehicle occupants. Apart from fatal injuries, rollovers can also cause catastrophic injuries such as brain trauma and spinal cord damage that could result in paralysis.

Anyone who has been in a rollover crash caused by a defective vehicle would be well advised to contact an experienced auto product liability lawyer who has a successful track record of fighting large automakers on behalf of injured consumers, and holding them accountable.