Over the last year, health care product manufacturer Johnson & Johnson has come under scrutiny after multiple allegations of injuries caused by various products. On this blog alone, we have written about the harm reportedly caused by the birth control patch and children's over-the-counter cold medicines, both of which have given rise to products liability litigation. Recently, a new controversy has risen after claims that an artificial replacement hip manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, was not only failing, but causing serious and lasting harm to patients.
It appears that Toyota's legal troubles will not end anytime soon. In September, just over one year after a tragic car accident took the lives of an off-duty police officer and three of his family members, Toyota settled a lawsuit with the family of the deceased. Although the details of the settlement were kept under wraps for several months, it was recently revealed that Toyota agreed to pay the family $10 million.
Last month, we wrote about the potential dangers that lurk in toys and other holiday gifts intended for children. As previously discussed, Congress in 2009 strengthened consumer protection against potentially dangerous or defective products with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. However, according to a new report by the United States Public Interest Research Group, there are many toys on store shelves that have found ways around federal regulations, and a surprising number that violate the laws altogether. Knowledge and awareness, the group advises, is the key to keeping your child safe this holiday season.
In October 2007, manufacturers of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for the very youngest of children voluntarily withdrew all such products from store shelves after numerous complaints that the products posed a safety risk to infants and children. Pediatricians stated that the products were ineffective in young children, and were prone to accidental overdoses resulting in extreme drowsiness, an increased heart rate, and even deaths. Seeking to avoid products liability lawsuits and bad press, manufacturers voluntarily took cough and cold medicines, mostly syrups, off the shelves.
As Thanksgiving approaches, dedicated shoppers know that Black Friday, arguably the best shopping day of the year, is not far behind. Many Americans get all of their holiday shopping done in that single day, if they are willing to get up early and are able to continue to shop all day. As parents begin to fulfill their children's holiday wishes, officials advise that they keep toy safety in mind in order to avoid injuries caused by defective products. Luckily, keeping children safe from harmful or dangerous toys does not require much more than simple common sense.
After several months of reports of malfunctions, car accidents, and products liability lawsuits regarding defects in Toyota vehicles, followed by several more months of a Toyota public relations campaign, it seemed that the Toyota gas pedal defect controversy was - finally - a thing of the past. However, after two people were killed and two were injured when a 2008 Toyota Camry crashed into a rock wall in Utah, officials and consumers have begun to question whether the millions of Toyota vehicle recalls actually solved the gas pedal problems.
In an ongoing effort to improve the safety of motor vehicles and reduce the occurrence of injuries from car accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration continually updates its safety requirements, most recently with the stricter crash testing standards and procedures. However, there is one standard that has not been updated in over 40 years, and advocates say that it is causing severe brain injuries in backseat passengers, most of whom are children.
After reports of sporadically stalling engines in many of its trucks and sport utility vehicles, Nissan North America has issued a recall of over 700,000 vehicles in the United States. The company cites the risk of failure to the vehicles' electrical systems and the potential for injuries due to the defective product as the motivation for the voluntary recall.
Another day, another recall of a children's product.
In the second infant-product recall in as many months, Graco Children's Products Inc. has announced a defective product recall of two million baby strollers after causing the deaths of four young children. Prior to the recall, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) received reports of five additional infants becoming entrapped in the strollers, with resulting cuts, bruises, and difficulty breathing.