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Takata airbag recall lawyer, Chicago product liability attorneyHonda announced it is adding nearly 105,000 more vehicles to the recall list it began last year over reports of potentially deadly airbags. The automaker’s recall now includes 5.5 millions vehicles sold under the Honda or Acura brands in the United States. Ten other auto manufacturers have also been forced to recall a combined 11.5 million vehicles equipped with possibly defective airbags, all products of the same auto parts supplier.

Recall Timeline

In October 2014, 11 automakers announced the recall of more than 14 million vehicle sold with airbags manufactured by Japanese part maker Takata. Less than month later, The New York Times carried a report that Takata was aware nearly ten years ago that some of the company’s airbags could possibly explode, putting a driver at risk from flying metal debris. The report claims that rather than notifying safety officials, Takata tested potential fixes and redesigns, then scrapped the program and scrubbed the data. Regulatory filings from the company do not acknowledge any such testing until 2008, when the first airbag rupture-related recall was initiated.

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superbug product liability, Chicago personal injury lawyerIn the last several months, two hospitals in California have reported outbreaks of what officials are referring to as the CRE superbug. At Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, two patients died after being infected and five others continue to receive treatment. Medical officials have reached out to nearly 180 additional patients who may have been exposed at the facility. The outbreak has been traced to a particular medical device, which federal regulators are, so far, reluctant to pull from the market.

Carbapanem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, is a bacterial pathogen which can cause infections resistant to most antibiotic treatment. Certain bacteria, such as E. coli,  which are common to the human digestive system, can evolve and become carbapanem-resistant, resulting in strains of CRE potentially producing infections that are very difficult to treat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledges the dangers inherent to CRE infections and has reported that the superbug may be fatal in up to 50 percent of infected patients.

Each of the infected UCLA patients had undergone a relatively minor endoscopic procedure utilizing a device known as a duodenoscope. More than half a million patients each year have similar procedures done with the device, which is an imaging tool used to detect and diagnose issues in the upper small intestines, gall bladder, and pancreas. A particular duodensoscope at UCLA, however, was found to be the source of the CRE exposure, according hospital officials. A subsequent CRE outbreak at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, also in Los Angeles, is currently being investigated to confirm that a similar device was to blame.

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truck driver texting, Chicago personal injury lawyerDistracted driving is becoming one of the most cited causes for motor vehicle accidents in the United States with the increased use of cellphones while driving. More than nine people are killed and more than 1,153 people are injured each day in accidents caused by distracted driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates all drivers involved in interstate commerce or intrastate transportation of hazardous materials and inter- and intrastate Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) drivers. FMCSA describes commercial drivers as those who operate buses and large trucks, such as single unit trucks or tractor-trailer trucks. These drivers make up approximately 5.6 million drivers in the United States.

With so many commercial vehicle drivers on the roadways, FMCSA banned the use of texting for commercial truck drivers in 2010 to help prevent distracted driving. Companies are not allowed to require commercial drivers to text or call from their cell phones while driving.

The FMCSA regulations prohibit text messaging, reaching for or holding a cell phone in their hand or making phone calls that require the driver to push more than one button while they are operating commercial vehicles. If commercial drivers are found to be breaking the regulations, they can be fined up to $2,750 and have their CDL revoked for multiple offenses. The company the driver works for may also be fined up to $11,000.

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takata airbag recall, Chicago IL Product Liability LawyerRecalls of Takata airbags started as early as 2008.  Takata and Honda allegedly both knew about the recalls as early as 2004. Why did the major recall from the National Highway Traffic-Safety Administration (NHTSA) not start until October of last year? Why are so many vehicles still on the road and not getting the necessary replacement they need?

Takata has indicated that they do not expect to have enough new airbags produced to cover the amount of recalled vehicles until late 2015. This is not an acceptable rate of replacement for a mandatory recall that has affected over 7.8 million vehicles from 10 car manufacturers.

The 10 manufacturers affected by the Takata recall have contracted with Orbital ATK to conduct their own tests on the defective airbags. Orbital ATK is a defense and aerospace firm that provides products to the United States, its allies, and government contractors. They were chosen by the 10 manufacturers for their expertise in the field of engineering and the ability to move the investigation into the defective airbags forward.

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Takata airbag recall fines, Chicago personal injury attorneyThe United States is fining Takata Corporation, a Tokyo, Japan based company that manufactures airbags, $14,000 each day due to non-compliance in the investigation into their faulty airbags. Late last year, the National Highway Traffic-Safety Administration (NHTSA) initiated a product recall on vehicles using Takata airbags. The company is responsible for covering product liability to consumers affected by the recall.

With over 7.8 million vehicles affected by the recall, Transportation Secretary Anthony Fox said Takata will be fined each day they do not comply with the investigation and withhold documentation and other materials necessary for the investigation.

Takata gave NHTSA 2.4 million pages of documentation but did not give any guidance or explanation as to what information is in the documents. Employees have to sift through the pages, wasting time, money, and resources that could be spent on other claims and the investigation, to find information they need for the investigation. It is also delaying being able to accurately fix and recall all affected vehicles.

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pulmonary embolism, Cook IVC, Chicago product liability lawyerCook Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) filters have been found to be ineffective at stopping blood clots in many cases. Cook IVC filters are designed to stop blood clots traveling to the lungs through a small device inserted into the vein.

The filters are used in patients at risk of having the veins or arteries in their lungs blocked by blood clots, a condition known as a pulmonary embolism. Companies that produce products that cause consumers serious injury or death are held responsible for product liability, the legal responsibility the company incurs for producing or selling a faulty product.

The Cook IVC filter is the oldest filter approved for use and designed to be removed after 12 weeks or the risk of a pulmonary embolism has passed. An investigation into the filters found that serious complications could arise from use or prolonged use of IVC filters, including:

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herbal supplement product liability, Chicago personal injury lawyerIn an independent test by the New York State Attorney General’s office, it was found that four major retailers’ name brand herbal supplements did not contain the herbs listed. Instead, the supplements contained filler ingredients, some of which may cause allergic reactions.  Mislabeling products is considered a product liability issue. For example, if you are allergic to an ingredient in the product or you have an adverse side effect because it is not labeled correctly, the product manufacturer is responsible for compensating you, the consumer.

The New York State Attorney General’s office sent Wal-Mart, Walgreen’s, GNC, and Target a “Cease and Desist Notification” to pull the named products in the notification off their shelves and explain their process about how they verify the ingredients on the labels of the listed supplements. The tests found that four out of five products did not contain any of the herbs listed on their labels. The tests did find fillers, such as wheat, asparagus, powered rice, and house plants, in the supplements.

Supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) like prescription medications are. They are not required to go through the same rigorous testing that prescriptions are before they are sold to consumers. Supplement regulation is based on an honor system that operates with the understanding that the manufacturer is being truthful about what ingredients are in the product and the labeling on the product is true.

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Xarelto side effects, drug makers, Chicago product liability attorneyDrug manufacturers have to put drugs through testing before they are approved for use by consumers. But what happens when adverse side effects start appearing in patients using the drug because information given to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was incomplete? Eventually the drug may be pulled off the shelf, but patients who used the drug become a statistic to be used for further tests. Patients should not be another defective drug product liability statistic for pharmaceutical companies.

study by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices revealed that drug manufacturers often do not file complete, basic reports about adverse side effects with the FDA. Just over 50 percent of the reports filed did not meet the basic reporting standard, which should contain age, gender, and an event date.

Throughout the years, “blockbuster drugs” have been approved by the FDA, and then later pulled off the shelves, but not before the cost of lives or life-altering side effects were paid. A blockbuster drug is one that:

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Posted on in Product Liability

Takata airbag recalls, Chicago product liability lawyerWith 7.8 million U.S. vehicles affected by the recent Takata airbag recall, many people are wondering if their vehicle is affected by the recall and if it is safe to drive. Airbags can deploy, even in low-impact crashes, causing injuries and damage. If your vehicle is affected by the defective airbags, you may be at risk if your airbags deploy and may have a product liability case against the manufacturer.

In light of all the recent rolling recalls, people are also wondering who knew about the defects before the recalls started happening. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issues recalls based on accident, individual, and car manufacturer reports. They did not start investigating Takata airbag defects and issuing recalls until 2009. Alleged evidence from Honda and Takata state they both knew as early as 2004 that there was a defect in the airbags.

In addition to Honda and Takata allegedly knowing about the defects, they did not notify NHTSA about the defects. At a hearing before the House Committee of Energy and Commerce, a Takata executive, Hiroshi Shimizu, would not clearly answer if the airbags were defective, but did apologize for the deaths and injuries.

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OtisMed recall, knee replacement liability, Chicago injury attorneyThe OtisKnee device, made by OtisMed Corporation, was not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used in knee replacement surgeries. The OtisKnee devices were not proven to be safe or effective. OtisMed Corporation distributed and marketed the OtisKnee and is responsible for product liability and the injuries patients have been caused due to the defective product.

“The OtisKnee device was used by surgeons performing total knee arthroplasty, known as knee replacement surgery. OtisMed advertised the cutting guide as a tool to assist surgeons in making accurate bone cuts specific to individual patients’ anatomy based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) performed prior to surgery,” according to the FDA’s statement about the OtisKnee, following a lengthy investigation.

The OtisKnee device was marketed to surgeons as a means to match the size and placement of the implant to an individual’s normal knee alignment. It was supposed to allow surgeons to be able to keep more of the patient’s bone and ligaments, which meant a quicker recovery and greater range of motion. Patients claimed their recovery was longer and many have had to undergo a second knee replacement surgery to remove the defective product, more bone, and have a new implant placed in their knee, costing them more recovery time and more medical expenses.

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Takata airbag recall, Chicago product liability attorneyTakata airbags, used in many major car companies, are being recalled following reports of metal shards piercing victims’ faces and necks after the airbags deployed in accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released a consumer advisory listing vehicle makes, models, and years affected by the recall.

Takata airbags are manufactured and sold by Takata Corporation of Japan to many car companies throughout the world. Those companies that have issued recalls are BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota, affecting over 7.8 million vehicles.

The NHTSA is urging car owners who own vehicles from the affected companies to check their VIN number to see if their vehicle is included in the recall. If your car is included in the recall, contact your car manufacturer for replacement details. The defective Takata airbags are linked to four deaths and over 100 injuries in accidents where the recalled airbag deployed, sometimes shooting metal shards into the inside of the car, caused by a potentially deteriorated propellant that ruptured the inflator housing.

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Xarelto prescription side effects, Chicago product liability lawyerHave you or a loved one been prescribed Xarelto and experienced adverse side effects, such as stroke, hemorrhaging, or even death? If so, you are not alone. Reports of undesirable side effects are on the rise.

Xarelto is often prescribed to help reduce the risk of stroke or blood clots due to Atrial Fibrillation or after a hip or knee replacement surgery. It may also be prescribed to treat Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

Last year, the FDA sent a warning letter to Johnson & Johnson, Inc. for false and misleading representation minimizing the risks associated with taking Xarelto in WebMD magazine advertisement. Johnson & Johnson, Inc. minimized the risk of pathological bleeding, hemorrhaging, and severe hypersensitivity to patients. The company falsely led readers to believe the side effects of using Xarelto were minimal at best.

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nursing home guardianship debts, Chicago nursing home neglect lawyerIt is a difficult decision to make to move a family member into a nursing home. After going through the steps to find the best facility to ensure the family member gets the care and attention needed, sometimes families may be shocked if they receive a petition from the nursing home for guardianship over their family member. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act is written to protect the rights of the elderly in nursing homes and reduce the possibility of abuse and neglect, including management of their finances.

After a family member has moved into a nursing home, services begin to be billed to the spouse, family member, or guardian, sometimes reaching thousands of dollars each month. Those who question the cost above the original stated cost can quickly accumulate debt they did not account for. If they refuse to pay the overage until they see the statement of services or Medicaid has paid their portion, the amount owed to the nursing home continue to increase. This may lead the nursing home to file a petition for guardianship to collect debts for the resident.

It is the responsibility of the party filing the petition to provide proof that a guardianship is needed; after it has been clearly demonstrated the person in question is unable to make their own decisions.

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energy drink dangers, product liability attorney in ChicagoOver the past few years, concerns and controversy have been linked to energy drinks and the dangers that have been reported in adults, but now Health Day has published a new study that discusses young children, under the age of six, who are also at risk when they consume these products. The study reported data from 55 separate poison control centers over a three-year period, resulting in conclusive statistics that revealed 40 percent of reports to poison control centers in the U.S. involved children in this age range.

Although energy drinks are typically marketed to teenagers and young adults, the national poison control data system has linked these reports to children’s unintentional exposure to the beverages. Over 50 percent of these reported cases included serious health incidents such as heart problems and seizures.

The study clearly shows the availability and level of exposure that young children have to these beverages. Canned energy drinks that contain herbal ingredients plus caffeine can be labeled as dietary supplements without evaluation of health safety by the FDA. As a result, people may then be given inaccurate or incorrect product information about the amount of caffeine they are consuming, especially if the company chooses not to disclose the specific amount of caffeine per drink.

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medical device recall, medical product liability lawyerIn an executive summary of its Medical Device Recall Report, the FDA revealed that the annual number of recalls increased by a staggering 97 percent from 2003 to 2012. Over the past decade, the complexity of medical device recalls increased and 1,190 recalls were reported in 2012, almost double the amount in 2003. Manufacturers maintain product liability for devices they market and have a responsibility to the public to alert of any potential hazards.

The FDA categorizes recalls into one of three classes. Class II recalls reflected the most significant increase in the recall report with a reported 1,043 recalls in 2012, up from 460 a decade ago.

The largest single-day recall occurred last August when Customed, a surgical kit provider out of Puerto Rico, recalled 233 of its products due to sterility issues. Other medical device recalls, such as metal-on-metal hip implants, have led to thousands of patients being affected and billions of dollars in lawsuits against its manufacturers.

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Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C.Earlier this week, Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. filed lawsuits against Chicago Presbytery on behalf of seven men sexually abused by Presbyterian minister Douglas Mason in the early ‘80s and ‘90s. The two separately-filed lawsuits follow an earlier lawsuit that was settled in 2007 with four accusers bringing sexual abuse claims against Mason. Church officials disclosed to the Chicago Tribune last year that the previously confidential settlement amount totaled $11 million.

The first lawsuit filed this past Wednesday details abuse occurring between the years of 1982 and 1986 when Mason, who died in 2004, was a pastor at the church the three plaintiffs, now in their 40s, attended. At the time, the Presbytery encouraged pastors to counsel young men in private, despite warnings of Mason’s pedophile behavior.

The second suit involves four men in their late 30s who were abused by Mason while they were members of San Marcos Youth Ministry. The molestation began in the ‘90s when the victims attended St. Gregory the Great High School. The pastor paid a part of each plaintiff’s school tuition and made regular visits. He also checked them out of school at least once a month with the purpose of sexually abusing them. School administrators, at the time, did not notify the parents that the students were being checked out.

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GM ignition switch, personal injury lawyer in ChicagoIn 2007, a Texas woman was charged with negligent homicide for losing control of her vehicle and crashing into a tree, which resulted in the death of her boyfriend. What was not revealed at the time of the case and her subsequent guilty plea was a long overdue admission by General Motors (GM), which finally came in November 2014, publicly linking the death of her boyfriend to an ignition switch defect in millions of its vehicles.

According to an article published by the The New York Times, GM had quietly conducted an internal review of the crash and ruled its vehicle to blame without alerting the woman or law enforcement. The woman’s Saturn Ion was one of the listed cars equipped with the defective part.

GM’s faulty ignition was known to cause loss of power brakes, power steering, and airbags. An estimated 35 deaths linked to this defect went unreported by GM for than a decade.

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transvaginal mesh, Illinois product liability lawyerWomen who suffer from stress urinary incontinence (SUI) or pelvic organ prolapse (POP) may be implanted with transvaginal mesh (TVM), a medical device that gives added support when weakened or damaged tissue is being repaired. According to statistics, up to 70,000 women have this medical device implanted each year, illustrating a reliance on TVM to correct certain medical problems.

However, the American Association for Justice reported the impact of dangerous medical devices such as these in 2013 and noted that there were early detections of problems linked to TVM even during its rising popularity in the early 2000s. TVM has been known to cause:

  • Bleeding;
  • Infection;
  • Pain;
  • Erosion or hardening of the device; and
  • Difficulty in removal of the device.

Additional surgeries are required to repair complications with mesh erosion and still do not solidify a guaranteed resolution to the adverse effects originally caused by TVM. These procedures mean costly hospital stays, prolonged medical care, and a diminished quality of life for a medical device that the FDA said did not necessarily improve post-surgical outcomes in many cases.

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nursing home care, Chicago nursing home negligence lawyersA law signed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn went into effect at the first of the New Year to help protect the safety, care, and rights of senior citizens in the state. The law is designed to improve reporting procedures, investigations, and swifter resolutions for negligence and abuse of elders in nursing homes.

A National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) research brief reveals that over 50 percent of nursing home staff admitted to mistreating elder patients. Physical abuse was the highest reported type of abuse occurring in nursing homes and two-thirds of the incidents of mistreatment involved neglect. With research showing over 40 percent of people over the age of 65 will enter a nursing home before they die, these disturbing statistics are cause for high alert and concern among families.

Nursing home residents suffering neglect have been victim to:

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toy related injuries, Illinois product liability lawyerThe most active retail months are barely over and toy manufacturers have generated billions upon billions in revenue worldwide. The estimated cost for toy production is over two billion dollars in the United States alone as last reported in 2010. It is a booming industry that may be growing faster than safety officials can monitor.

Toys have evolved over time to include detailed parts and extra gadgets that require additional testing for their safety. They are packaged with age limit recommendations to keep babies and toddlers from choking on small pieces, but there are also unforeseen hazards in toys manufactured today which include:

  • Asbestos;
  • Carcinogens;
  • Lead; and
  • Product defectiveness.

The American Association for Justice reports a 54 percent increase of toy-related injuries from 1999-2008 ranging from choking to amputations to asphyxiation. The number of toys hitting the market largely outnumber the resources for inspection and safety tests available via the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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