If you have suffered an injury as a result of using a dangerous or defective product, you may be legally entitled to bring a claim against that product’s manufacturers, suppliers, or distributors. The law assumes such parties are bound by a duty of care that should protect consumers against harm associated with the use of these products. Failure to protect when defects in design or manufacture exist may be deemed negligence.
A common method that manufacturers use to try and limit liability under these circumstances is to call for the return of the defective product. In 2014, the Food and Drug Administration reported more than 400 product recalls related to food and supplements alone.
Product recalls occur in many segments of the economy, including food, drugs, medical devices, automotive vehicles, children’s toys and accessories, and chemicals and materials. Here are five of the most publicized product recalls in recent years:
In the autumn of 2015, General Motors (GM) recalled 1.4 million vehicles manufactured between 1997 and 2015. The company cited concerns over a defective gasket cover that allowed oil to seep out, thereby increasing the risk of engine fires. This was the fourth massive GM recall in eight years. An earlier recall in 2014 involving faulty ignition switches was linked to 13 deaths.
Merck & Co.
The largest drug recall in history occurred in 2004 when pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. was forced to withdraw Vioxx after five years on the market. Vioxx had been prescribed as an analgesic to more than 20 million individuals affected by arthritis, but the drug company had moved to suppress research that indicated Vioxx could be associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease and other cardiac issues. Merck subsequently paid out more than $5.8 billion in plaintiff claims and legal expenses.
The Easy-Bake Oven has been a popular children’s toy since the 1960s when it was first introduced. It’s still a popular collectible today. In 2006, however, after Hasbro, Inc. acquired ownership of the company that had originally manufactured the toy, a product redesign made the play even more likely to trap little hands and fingers inside it. Thirty children ended up suffering burns, and one child lost a finger. Hasbro first responded to the crisis by issuing a free retrofit kit but ultimately recalled nearly one million models in 2007.
Peanuts and derivative products like peanut butter are among the nation’s most popular snack foods. Prior to 2009, one of the country’s largest peanut processors was a company called Peanut Corporation of America. Some time in 2007, the company became aware that its processing plants in Blakely, Georgia had been hit by a particularly virulent strain of salmonella. The company continued shipping products from the contaminated plant throughout 2007 and 2008. Nine people died, and more than 700 people fell ill. When FDA and CDC epidemiologists were finally able to identify the source of the outbreak, it triggered the biggest food product recall in American history. Peanut Corp. filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and the U.S. peanut industry as a whole lost in excess of one billion dollars.
Numerous businesses involved in the manufacture or distribution of children’s pajamas issued product recall announcements in 2015. Included among these companies were Lands’ End, KJ Sportswear California, Zulily, and Smooth Industries. The pajamas failed to meet federal standards for flammability, thus posing a potential threat of burn injuries to the children who wore them.
Investigating claims related to defective products requires experience and a strong skill set. If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, we encourage you to contact Tate Law Group at (912) 234-3030 or click here.