Catastrophic Brain Injury of Child Prompts Recall of Residential Elevators Due to Crushing Hazard

On March 19, 2015, the government announced a recall of Elmira Hydraulic residential hydraulic elevators, installed in homes with multiple floors. Despite the foreseeability of such elevators being used in environments with small children, these products were sold with a significant defect –  the elevator can operate while the gate door is open, posing a crushing hazard.

The distributor, Coastal Carolina Elevators, reportedly received three reports of incidents with the elevators, including a catastrophic brain injury to a 10-year-old boy from Baltimore, Maryland.

Hazards presented by products manufactured and sold for use in home environments, where young children are expected to be living and playing, account for numerous deaths and significant injuries each year. It is incumbent upon designers, manufacturers and retailers of such items to consider the environment of end use, and understand the expected ages of the consumers. This duty is heightened when the hazard is potentially life threatening or life altering. Often, relatively simple and feasible safety devices can and should be implemented. For example, with regard to the residential elevators, an engineering change ensuring that the elevator cannot operate unless the door is closed should have been implemented, similar to how many elevators operate for safety reasons.

Parents and caregivers – please carefully inspect the operation of home appliances and products. Do not assume that because a product is sold in the United States, that it is necessarily safe. This example highlights that safety standards are not always followed by manufacturers, and that in some instances, the standards themselves are inadequate..

If you or a member of your family has questions about a hazardous product, please contact us. We are happy to answer any questions you might have.

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The FDA (Food and Drug Admnistration) has recently upgraded the recall of Alere INRatio and INRatio2 Monitor systems to a Class I recall. This means that there is a probability that using the Alere system will cause serious health consequences or possibly lead to death.

The Alere system was originally recalled last year for providing falsely low international normalized ratio levels in patients who were using blood thinners such as warfarin.

Alere’s monitor system measures how quickly patient’s blood clots, specifically their Prothrombin Time (PT) when on certain blood tinning medications. Because warfarin and other blood thinners block vitamin K, the medicines prevent clots from easily forming.

The recall was based on the device misreading INR (International Normalized Ratio) levels. Nearly 19,000 reports of device malfunctions, including 14 which resulted in serious injury have been reported. A press release from Alere acknowledged that the false levels resulting from the use of their Alere Pt/INR test strips had resulted in the company receiving “serious adverse event reports,” some of which “described bleeding associated with patient deaths.”

According to the FDA, “use of the affected devices may delay treatment and cause severe or life-threatening injuries, including death,” and that patients suffering from certain medical conditions, including but not limited to anemia, acute or chronic inflammatory conditions, severe infections, and advanced stage cancer or end stage renal disease, should not use the Alere INRatio and INRatio 2 Monitoring systems and test strips.”

Patients affected by these conditions were instead instructed to stop using the Alere INRatio and InRatio2 Monitoring Systems and test strips, and “should immediately be transitioned to a laboratory INR method for monitoring for their INR and warfarin therapy,” said FDA documents.

Swartz & Swartz, P.C. is committed to the persistent and unrelenting pursuit of drug manufacturers who cause serious injury or death to unsuspecting consumers. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dangerous drug and would like to speak with an attorney, please contact us; you can call us at (617) 742-1900, or if you are outside the Boston area, call toll-free at 1-800-545-3732. We are here to answer your questions and discuss how to protect your legal rights.


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Swartz & Swartz, P.C. Brings Suit Against Emerson College For Mishandling A Second Rape Case

Emerson College is facing a second lawsuit, by an anonymous student identified as Jane Doe, alleging that the college and six administrators failed to “promptly and appropriately” respond to her assault, according to documents filed with the U.S. District Court in Springfield on December 31, 2014.

Emerson is currently on a list of 92 colleges and universities under federal investigation by the Department of Education after a complaint was filed by three Emerson students in 2013. Doe’s lawsuit says she is one of the complainants. Another complainant is Jillian Doherty, who also filed suit against Emerson in August for allegedly mishandling her rape case. David P. Angueira of Swartz & Swartz, P.C. is representing the plaintiffs in both cases.

Doe is suing the defendants for violating Title IX — a federal law prohibiting gender discrimination — and for negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The complaint alleges that in March 2013, an MIT student and an Emerson student saw Doe on the street, pushed her into an alley, and touched her inappropriately. Doe reported this incident to the ECPD, the lawsuit says. Later that month, the lawsuit alleges that the Title IX investigators, told Doe that there was “not enough information to go forward with an adjudication process” for her complaint of rape, but they did request an additional interview regarding Doe’s new report.

For more information on this story, visit:

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Government Announces Recall Of Play Yard Due To Strangulation Hazard

On December 9, 2014, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the recall of about 10,000 “Dream On Me Incredible” Play Yards. A determination was made that the play yard’s rails can collapse, presenting a strangulation hazards to young children.

The play yards, which can be folded for storage, are made with a steel, powder-coated frame base with rolling, hooded casters, and a fabric and mesh covering that comes in a various colors. The play yard includes a changing top, a toy bar with soft toys for entertainment, a side pocket for storage and a carrying case. The children’s product was sold online by a variety of internet retailers, including Amazon, Kohls, Toys R US, and WalMart from March 2010 through January 2014.

A recently-instituted safety standard require that play yards meet the following requirements:

  1. Side rails that do not form a sharp V when the product is folded. This prevents a child from strangling in the side rail
  2. Stronger corner brackets to prevent sharp-edged cracks and to prevent a side-rail collapse; and
  3. Sturdier mattress attachments to the play yard floor to prevent children from getting trapped or hurt.

The new play yard standard is one of many safety standards that CPSC passed as part of the Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act, or what is called “Danny’s Law.” Danny Keysar was killed in Chicago in 1998 when a previously recalled play yard in which he was napping collapsed, suffocating him.

At any point during the design and manufacturing process, failures regarding safety issues associated with children’s products may contribute to a product’s hazards. There is simply no excuse for a manufacturer to place a defective children’s product into the streams of commerce, particularly one exhibiting a hazard that is well known, with the potential to cause significant personal injury or wrongful death. If you or a family member have questions about a defective play yard, contact the law office of Swartz & Swartz, P.C. Call (617) 742-1900 in the Boston area, or for clients in greater Massachusetts, New England, or other states across the U.S., call toll-free at 1-800-545-3732.

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Hazards Lurking In The Toy Aisle This Holiday Season

Parents and caregivers should be aware that many toy hazards can be found on toy shelves this holiday season. Some dangers may be evident, however many hidden hazards exist. Please be sure you are informed about what hazards to look for, and importantly – do not assume a toy is safe merely because it is offered for sale. In some instances, testing is inadequate. Also, many existing regulations are inadequate, or have loopholes that allow defective toys to make their way into homes and schools.

A dangerous toy may have been poorly manufactured or designed, misleadingly advertised, inaccurately labeled, or irresponsibly sold to or for children, many of whom are too young to appreciate the toy’s hazards.

The non-profit organization World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.) has been at the forefront of child safety issues for decades. Please check out its website at for this year’s “Ten Worst Toys” list, as well as other safety tips and information. A recent article regarding the 2014 list, as well as important related issues, can be found at

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Increase in Robotic Surgeries Raise Concerns

Robotic surgical equipment, now solely made in the United States by Intuitive surgical Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., has been a topic of controversy since its U.S Food and Drug Administration approval in 2000.

Recently at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, seven nurses and doctors along with a half-ton, 7- foot- tall metal and plastic robot performed robotic surgery on Paul Claus, 77, of Winthrop. Claus had a potentially cancerous polyp removed from his small intestine.

The surgeons also planned to remove his gallbladder, full of painful stones, although given the routine nature of the procedure; they admit that using the robot is “a bit like killing a fly with nuclear weapons”.

Despite its risks, many hospitals throughout the Greater Boston area perform hundreds of robotic operations each year using high-tech machinery that takes delicate, risky and inaccessible tasks out of human hands.  The complex da Vinci robots—programmed and guided remotely by humans – dud the cutting in about 1,800 cases in Boston last year, a number that is slowly rising.

The controversial da Vinci surgical robot has no shortage of critics. There have been thousands of complaints to the Food and Drug Administration in the 14 years since the earliest version was introduced.

Many doctors and health administrators are concerned that safety risks, regulatory barriers and its hefty price tag outweigh any potential benefits. Robot surgeries also produce a myriad of malpractice suits when the surgeries go wrong.

Robotic surgeries can pose increased threats to patients. Swartz & Swartz, P.C. was one of the first law firms in the nation to file suit against improperly trained surgeons causing injury to patients while using a robotic device during surgery. If you believe you have been injured due to medical negligence or a mechanical defect during a robotics procedure, please contact one of the highly experienced medical malpractice and products liability attorneys at Swartz & Swartz, P.C.  Our lawyers are here to answer your questions and discuss how to protect your legal rights. Call our Boston, Massachusetts office at (617) 742-1900, or toll-free at 1-800-545-3732.

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Nissan has recently increased the number of vehicles recalled in the United States for passenger airbags manufactured by the Japanese-based Takata. The massive airbag recall has affected over two dozen brands of vehicles in the United States.

Defective Takata air bags have been the subject of NHTSA safety alerts after reports of incidents in which the automobile restraint systems exploded and hurled metal shrapnel into the heads and bodies of drivers and passengers.

While airbags are one of the major safety innovations in the auto industry, the Takata recalls have now caused a shift in safety concerns for consumers.

At least two deaths and many injuries have been associated with the defective Takata air bags, which were installed in vehicles made by Honda, Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Chrysler, Ford and BMW in various model years ranging from 2000 to 2008. About 5 million of the cars are Hondas.

These vehicles were all originally sold or currently registered in geographic locations associated with high absolute humidity, specifically, vehicles sold or currently registered in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Florida and adjacent counties in southern Georgia, as well as the coastal areas of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Safety regulators believe the problem might be associated with hot, humid climates. But other safety experts, such as Clarence Ditlow, executive director for the Center for Auto Safety, said it’s not clear how much of a factor weather has been, believing there should be a wider recall.

To read more about this topic please visit:

Swartz & Swartz, P.C. has assisted many families over the years whose lives have been tragically and forever altered as the result of a significant personal injury or wrongful death due to a car accident or automobile defect.  If you would like to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney at Swartz & Swartz, P.C., please contact us. You can call us at (617) 742-1900, or if you are outside the Boston area, call toll-free at 1-800-545-3732. We are here to answer your questions and discuss how to protect your legal rights.

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Swartz & Swartz Files Suit In New Hampshire On Behalf Of Man Paralyzed While In Police Custody

The Valley Street jail, Manchester police and Elliot Hospital are named in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Fern Ornelas, a Manchester resident paralyzed last October at some point while he was under the care of one or more of the three organizations.

The lawsuit also names Hillsborough County Corrections Superintendent David Dionne, Police Chief David Mara and other corrections officers, jail nurses, hospital security guards and police officers who came in contact with Ornelas over a two-day period.

The 71-page suit was filed late last week by attorney David P. Angueira of Swartz & Swartz of Boston.

It lays out the altercations and injuries that Ornelas suffered at both the hospital and jail. And it claims his symptoms were ignored by law enforcement, jail officers and medical professionals as he was moved from hospital to police station to jail.

For more on this, please visit the link below:

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911 remember

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Stroller Activity Trays Recalled Due To Strangulation Hazard


The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a recall for about 860 Tray Vous™ snack and activity trays with connectors sold in the United States and Canada. The opening between the recalled tray and stroller seat bottom allows an unharnessed child’s body to pass through, but could trap a child’s head, posing a strangulation hazard.

The snack and activity trays have connectors that fit into strollers; the three-piece units include a black plastic tray with a cup holder, a left connector and a right connector.  The products were sold at Dainty Baby in Brooklyn, N.Y. and other juvenile product stores nationwide, and online at,, and from May 2011 through June 2012 for about $50.

At any point during the infant swing design and manufacturing process, significant failures may contribute to products’ hazards, including (1) missteps during the early design stages; (2) inadequate testing to ensure safe performance; and (3) marketing efforts that include inadequate instructions and warnings, or even fail to include any relevant cautions. Even one act of negligence during the process from a product’s conception to its sale can cause catastrophic injuries and wrongful death once the product reaches unsuspecting consumers.

If you or a family member have questions regarding this recall, or generally regarding personal injuries, a defective product or negligence, contact the law office of Swartz & Swartz, P.C. Call (617) 742-1900 in the Boston area, or for clients in greater Massachusetts, New England, or other states across the U.S., call toll-free at 1-800-545-3732.

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