Articles Posted in Products Liability

Dr. Kenneth Gegerson is suing several companies for Florida products liability and wrongful death. Gegerson’s wife, Dr. Michelle Ferrari-Gegerson, died in a choking accident after the leather necklace she was wearing got caught in a ShoulderFlex Deep Kneading Shiatsu neck massager. The jewelry became entangled in the device’s rotating piece.

In his Miami-Dade, Florida wrongful death complaint, Gegerson blames the providers of the device for failing to put in a mechanism that would have made the ShoulderFlex Deep Kneading Shiatsu stop immediately when the rotating knobs experienced resistance. He also claims that the “defective” product lacked the “obvious and adequate” labeling needed to warn that items could get caught in the massager.

Defendants of the South Florida products liability lawsuit are distributor King International, King Yiu Chan and Si Ming Dui (the creators and patent holders), franchise Relax the Back Corp., and ABP Aventura Inc, which ran the Relax the Back store in Aventura.

Jacqueline Delgado and her husband Renee have filed a Palm Beach County personal injury lawsuit against two sellers and a packing company. Jacqueline sustained serious burns when the NAPAfire and FIREGEL Gel Fuel she was using ignited, dousing her body in flames. Renee also was injured.

Not long after the Palm Beach Shores burn accident, the US CPSC and Napa Home & Garden recalled about 460,000 pourable NAPAfire and FIREGEL Gel Fuel jugs and bottles because the product could ignite suddenly and splatter onto people and objects when poured into a firepot that is still burning. Napa said there were 37 incidents reported, including 23 burn accidents.

In the Delgados’ Palm Beach products liability complaint, the couple is suing Fuel Barons and Losorea Packaging Co., TJX Companies, and Manhattan’s Pharmacy. Because Napa Home & Garden has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, it would prove very challenging to obtain anything from the beleaguered company, which is facing dozens of other products liability lawsuits over its dangerous gel fuel.

We’ve all read about auto defects that can cause catastrophic Palm Beach County car accidents. Faulty engines, worn tires, air bag malfunctions, and stuck accelerator pedals can lead a motorist to lose control of a vehicle and crash. Now, here are allegations of another type of auto defect-one that doesn’t require anyone to be driving the car let alone even be in it.

In her Broward County auto products liability complaint, Kimberlin Nickles is suing Toyota and car dealer JM Lexus for her daughter Chastity Glisson’s Boca Raton wrongful death. Glisson died of carbon monoxide poisoning after leaving her Lexus running in her garage last year. Nickles believes that her daughter either forgot to shut down her car’s engine or thought she had done so but in fact did not. Glisson’s boyfriend, Timothy Maddock, was also a victim of the CO poisoning incident and is also suing Toyota for Palm Beach personal injury.

Toyota’s Smart Car system is a keyless system that doesn’t require anything to be inserted into an ignition. Instead, it is a key fob that allows a car to keep running as long as the device is near the vehicle. Nickles contends that because her daughter’s Lexus was designed to have an engine that was “virtually soundless and smooth,” it was easy for her daughter to not realize that the vehicle was still running.

Six years after the Florida water scooter accident that killed 14-year-old Yasell Perez and left then-15-year-old Samantha Archer with serious injuries, their families are in court seeking damages from Yamaha for Palm Beach County wrongful death, products liability, and personal injury. The jury trial opened last week and the plaintiffs are seeking millions.

The tragic Palm Beach County injury accident occurred on Easter Sunday on March 2005 after the teens got on a WaveRunner on the Intracoastal Waterway. Five minutes after taking off, the WaveRunner struck a boat, killing Perez and causing Archer, now 21, to sustain serious injuries, including a traumatic brain damage, a broken pelvis, and gashes to her legs, stomach and groin. She was hospitalized for two months and had to return several times to undergo surgery. Doctors have testified that Archer has lost the mental and emotional abilities that would allow her to sustain a marriage, hold a job, have a kid, or live independently.

A lawyer for Yamaha has said that the teenagers shouldn’t have told the WaveRunner’s owner that they knew how to operated the personal watercraft. He also notes that Archer at the time of the accident was under 16, which is the legal age for operating a water scooter in Florida. Meantime, the plaintiffs are claiming that a steering problem with the WaveRunner prevented the girls from being able to avoid striking the boat. Their lawyer contends that the PWC accident that killed the girls could have been avoided if only Yamaha had listened to concerns it had been receiving for years about problems with the WaveRunner’s steering system. Archer is seeking almost $7 million, while Perez’s family is also seeking millions.

The family of John Van Hoy Jr. has filed a Miami-Dade wrongful death complaint against Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort. Van Hoy died after getting caught in a Jacuzzi suction drain at the Bahamian resort on December 28, 2010. Other plaintiffs include Sandal Resort International, Unique, Hayward Industries, and other companies involved with the manufacture of the hot tub and its parts.

Several resort guests, including Van Hoy’s fiancé Nicole Cleaveland, reportedly tried to help free him, but by the time they were able to pull the 33-year-old away from the drain it may have been too late. The whirlpool reportedly lacked an emergency shut-off button.

In their Miami-Dade drowning accident complaint, the plaintiffs accuse hotel staff of ignoring Van Hoy and either being unwilling or lacking the training to perform CPR during the 45 minutes it took for the ambulance to arrive. The workers at the resort then allegedly tried to prevent Cleaveland from communicating with family, friends, or others and subjected her to an “interrogation” while suggesting that she or Van Hoy were “somehow at fault for the death.”

Last week, the Florida Senate approved a bill that could make it harder for victims to obtain Florida products liability compensation from manufacturers. Sen. Garret Richter’s, R-Naples, “crash worthiness” bill mandates that juries consider everyone who may have been at fault in contributing to an accident, not just a product maker. The bill is geared towards limiting car manufacturers’ liability for auto defects that cause injuries or death in a Florida car crash. A companion bill is now making its way through committees in the Florida House.

Under current state law, juries for Florida products liability cannot consider evidence regarding the fault of the person that actually caused the accidents. They can only consider evidence related to the manufacturer’s fault in a product’s defect.

If this bill becomes law, it would reverse the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling in D’Amario v. Ford Motor Co. in 2001. That auto products liability case involved teenager Clifford Harris, who sustained serious burn injuries and lost three limbs when the 1988 Ford Escort that his drunk friend was speeding in struck a tree and then caught fire.

Harris’s mom filed a Florida auto products liability complaint against Ford. She said a relay switch failure contributed to the vehicle catching fire. While a jury ruled in Ford’s favor, the state’s highest court reversed the decision. This precluded juries from looking at evidence involving the party that caused the accident. In this case, it would have been Harris’s friend.

Critics are worried that this latest bill would make it easy for manufacturers to not be held accountable.

Florida Products Liability
Manufacturers should be held accountable for products that cause serious injuries or death. Poor design, product defects, manufacturing flaws, parts malfunctioning, marketing defects, breach of warranty, and faulty instructions are some grounds for victims and their families to sue.

Proving Palm Beach products liability can be challenging, which is why you should get legal help. The statute of limitations for a Florida products liability case is four years. However, if a product defect resulted in a death, then the statue of limitations is two years.

Florida Senate Moves to Curb Liability Suits Against Car Makers, Insurance Journal, March 17, 2011
Florida Senate limits product liability lawsuits against auto makers, other businesses, NaplesNews, March 16, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Defective Product Liability Claims: Who to Sue?, Nolo
Products Liability, Cornell.Law.Educ

More Blog Posts:
Will US Supreme Court’s Revival of Seat Belt Defect Lawsuit Against Mazda and Window Defect Case Against Ford Pave the Way for More Florida Auto Products Liability Cases?, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, February 28, 2011
Five People Killed in West Palm Beach After Tire Blowout Causes SUV Rollover, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 20, 2008 Continue reading

The US Supreme Court may have just opened the door to more Florida auto products liability plaintiffs. Today, the high court ordered a lower court to take a second look at its ruling barring a lawsuit blaming Ford Motor Co. for window design defects that allegedly proved fatal during a 2002 rollover crash.

James Lloyd, a passenger in the 1997 F-150 pickup, died after he was ejected from the vehicle, which went off the road and rolled over several times. Lloyd’s mother, Mary Robyn Priester, filed an auto products liability lawsuit against Ford accusing it of breach of warranty because of its use of “inappropriate glazing materials” on the truck’s windows.

The trial court granted the car manufacturer’s motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the products liability claim was pre-empted by the motor vehicle federal safety standard that gives automakers the option to decide what kind of tempered glass to use on side windows. The state’s Supreme Court upheld this decision. Now, however, the US Supreme Court, in light of its ruling last week to reinstate the seat belt defect lawsuit against Mazda, is saying that the lower court should reconsider its decision to bar the auto products liability case against Ford.

In the wrongful death case against Mazda, the Supreme Court said that the lawsuit against the car manufacturer over its lap belt design can proceed. The defective seat belt lawsuit claims that Mazda’s failure to install lap-and-shoulder belts in the back seat of a 1993 minivan caused the death of Thanh Williamson during a 2002 car crash.

Citing federal safety regulations, Mazda wanted the wrongful death case dismissed on the grounds that federal vehicle safety regulations pre-empt such lawsuits. The Supreme Court said that this was not the case.

Florida Auto Products Liability
Car manufacturers can be held liable if an auto defect contributed to a victim’s death. Examples of common, serious auto defects and safety issues:

• Seat belt defects
• Sudden unintended acceleration
• Air bag issues
• Poor roof design
• Engine defects
• Tire blowouts caused by tread separation or worn tires
• Window defects
• Seatback collapse
• SUV rollover issues

Suit Against Ford to Be Reconsidered, The Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2011
High Court Revives Mom’s Suit Over Ford Windows, Courthouse News, February 28, 2011
Supreme Court: California family can sue Mazda over seat belt death, DailyNews, February 23, 2011
Williamson v. Mazda Motor of America, Supreme Court.gov (PDF)


Related Web Resources:

Supreme Court of the United States

Products Liability, Nolo

More Blog Posts:
Five People Killed in West Palm Beach After Tire Blowout Causes SUV Rollover, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 20, 2008
$8.4M Palm Beach County Motorcycle Accident Verdict Awarded In Florida Wrongful Death, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, December 14, 2010 Continue reading

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recently announced two major recalls involving infant products. The most recent recall, which was announced today, involves 500,000 bassinets by Burlington Basket Company.

Our Miami products liability law firm is glad to hear that the product is being recalled. Already there are two reports of minor injuries, so hopefully, the announcement will keep more babies from getting hurt.

The bassinets are considered a fall hazard. The safety issue can arise if the legs cross-bracing rails are not fully locked into position. This can cause the bassinet to collapse and the baby to fall out. There have been 10 reports of the bassinet’s legs not locking into place. Consumers are urged to stop using the bassinets immediately.

A birthday celebration recently turned deadly when a Hialeah carbon monoxide poisoning incident claimed the lives of five teenagers. The deceased include Miami residents Juchen C. Marctial, 19, Evans Charles, also, 19, Jean Pierre Ferdinand, 16, and Jonas Antenor and Peterson Nazon, both 17.

The teens had reportedly gotten together on Sunday night to for Marctial’s birthday. The following afternoon, a maid found their bodies inside a room at the Hotel Presidente. All of them were in their street clothes.

Fire tests show that there was a high concentration of carbon monoxide in the room, which is above a private garage where the victims had left a car running. The door going from the garage to the room was left slightly ajar. According to friends of the teens, the vehicle had a troublesome starter.

Investigators are trying to determine whether the garage or motel room had operating carbon monoxide detectors. Since 2007, Florida has required that motel and hotel boiler rooms have gas detectors and that all apartments and residences constructed after July 1, 2008 that include an attached garage, a fireplace, or a heater have an alarm within 10 feet of bedrooms.

Carbon Monoxide Facts
This deadly gas, called the silent killer, is odorless, colorless, and invisible. Symptoms can include confusion, chest pain, dizziness, headaches, vomiting, weakness, and nausea.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that over 400 people die in the US each year from CO poisoning. This type of injury lands over 20,000 people in the ER annually and over 4,000 are hospitalized.

Premise owners and the manufacturers of products that malfunction can be held liable for Miami personal injury or wrongful death if a hazard on the property and/or a product that malfunctions causes CO poisoning.

Carbon monoxide poisoning suspected in 5 teens’ deaths, Miami Herald, December 27, 2010
Carbon Monoxide May Be Greater Threat in Winter, US News, December 27, 2010
5 found dead in Florida motel room, CNN, December 28, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Protect Your Family and Yourself from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, Environmental Protection Agency Continue reading

In a unanimous vote, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is banning drop side cribs in the United States. The decision removes all drop-side cribs from the market, which means they can no longer be made, sold, or resold. Crib manufacturers have until June 2011 to make sure that all cribs have fixed sides. Childcare centers, hotels, and other facilities that provide cribs for young children have to replace their drop-side cribs.

Over the years, a number of parents have filed civil complaints after a drop-side caused serious injury to or killed their child. A Miami products liability lawyer can help you determine whether you should file a claim against a crib manufacturer.

The ban comes after the deaths of 32 babies and toddlers (and possibly even 14 others) since 2010. In just the last five years, more than 9 million drop-side cribs have been recalled over concerns that the way they are designed and manufactured make the baby furniture natural candidates for placing a child at risk of entrapment, strangulation, fall accidents and even deaths.

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