KEYLESS IGNITION DESIGN DEFECT POSES HAZARD FOR UNWARY DRIVERS

A recent article published by Safety Research & Strategies, Inc. (“SRS”) discussed the current hazard posed by keyless ignitions in automobiles. Keyless ignitions as currently designed present a hazard of carbon monoxide poisoning, particularly when drivers inadvertently leave their keyless ignition vehicles running in the mistaken belief that the fob in their possession means that the engine is off.

Automakers have failed to inform their customers that the fob (remote keyless system), while a necessity in turning the vehicle on, plays no role in turning the vehicle off. As a result, a customer could leave the vehicle running with the fob in their possession, moving far out of range of the vehicle, and the engine would remain on. Some manufactures have begun implementing an automatic engine cut-off feature which shuts the engine off after a period of time if the driver’s side door has been opened and closed.

In response to the widespread design defects in the keyless ignitions, lawsuits have been filed against against ten (10) automakers who produce and market keyless ignition vehicles, in order to attempt to force the implementation of an automatic cut-off feature. See, http://www.safetyresearch.net/blog/articles/keyless-ignition-litigation-solution.

The unfortunate possibility remains that individuals and families will suffer severe personal injuries as a result of this design flaw. Product defects have devastating effects on families across the country. Swartz & Swartz, P.C. is committed to assisting the many families whose lives have been forever tragically altered as a 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.

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James A. Swartz Recognized by Worldwide Registry for Excellence in Law

James Swartz, principal shareholder and managing attorney with Swartz & Swartz, P.C., has been recognized by Worldwide Registry for his achievements as a civil litigator and trial attorney.

For more about this press release, please visit:
http://www.24-7pressrelease.com/press-release-service/410556

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IKEA’S DRESSERS & CHESTS POSE A HAZARD FOR CHILDREN

The U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with IKEA North America, of Conshohocken, PA has announced a repair program that includes a free wall anchoring kit, for their MALM 3- and 4-drawer chests and two styles of MALM 6- drawers chests as well as other chests and dressers. About 27 million units of the furniture has been found to pose a tip-over hazard if not securely anchored to the wall.

IKEA received reports of two children who tragically died after MALM chests tipped over and fell on them. The children became trapped under the weight of the chests. IKEA and CPSC have received at least 14 reports of tip-over incidents involving MALM chests, four of which resulted in injuries.

Designers and manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure that their products can be safely used in foreseeable home environments. Even when a product is not sold or marketed as a toy or children’s product, if it will foreseeably be used in a home with small children, it must be sold with the appropriate cautions and warnings, and most importantly, with design safeguards to prevent the needless and tragic loss of life.

If you or a family member has questions about a defective product or negligence in the design or manufacture of a children’s product, contact the law office of Swartz & Swartz, P.C. Call (617) 742-1900 in the Boston area, or call us toll-free at 1-800-545-3732 in greater Massachusetts, New England, or other states across the U.S.

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W.A.T.C.H. Out! Summer Hazards for Children

There are thousands of toy related injuries each year, nearly half of which occur during the summer months. World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H) is a non-profit organization which focuses on educating the public on the dangers to children from the use of many children’s products. See http://toysafety.org/about/need-for-action/

At a press conference at Franciscan Hospital for Children in Boston, Consumer Advocates Joan E. Siff, President of W.A.T.C.H., and James A. Swartz, a nationally known trial attorney and Director of W.A.T.C.H., discussed their summer safety concerns, including some lesser-known warm weather safety “traps” and recreational products that parents need to avoid to help prevent tragic accidents this season. The summer safety traps focused on pool-related warnings that could help prevent severe injuries or even death. W.A.T.C.H. also highlighted safety concerns regarding summer type activities such as, inflatable recreational products, backyard trampolines, realistic toy guns, and pool covers. When it comes to water safety, caregivers and parents have to be vigilant, making sure there are multiple barriers of protection that are working correctly. Siff and Swartz both stated that “the combination of warm weather and school vacation is an opportunity for children to enjoy the outdoors, but can also be a time for injuries.” For the complete article please visit, http://toysafety.org/press-release-6915/.

Although much of the focus is in the summer months right now, dangerous toys account for a number of deaths of children year round. Please do not assume that because a toy is available for sale online or at your local retailer, that it is necessarily safe for your children. Carefully inspect the toy ahead of time whenever possible, and read all packaging and labels, including warnings and instructions.

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Bunnies by the Bay Pull Toys Recalled

On June 16, 2015, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a recall for about 800 Bunnies by the Bay Bud and Skipit Wheely Cute Pull Toys (pictured above). The CPSC report states that the hub cap on the wheels of these toys could break or come off of the wheels, posing a choking hazard for young children.

Choking incidents related to dangerous toys account for numerous deaths and injuries of young children each year. Please do not assume that because a toy is available for sale online or at your local retailer, that it is necessarily safe for your children. Carefully inspect they toy ahead of time whenever possible, and read all packaging and labels, including warnings and instructions. If you or your loved ones have questions about these particular children’s toys, or any other children’s toys or products, please contact an attorney at Swartz & Swartz, P.C. We will answer any questions you may have and can advise regarding your legal rights. 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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Takata Acknowledges a Defect in Air Bag Inflators

A recent article has reported that the air bag manufacturer, Takata, has agreed to a national recall of certain types of their driver and passenger side air bag inflators. These air bag inflators were made with a propellant that degraded over time causing ruptures that have been linked to the death of six people worldwide. See, http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/DOT-action-on-takata-air-bag-defects

The number of vehicles to be recalled for defective air bag inflators has risen to almost 34 billion, nearly doubling the potential number of vehicles affected. Takata’s formerly limited regional recall’s of air bag inflators located in hot and humid climates has been expanded to a nationwide recall involving, more than 16 million vehicles passenger side air bag inflators, and over 17 million vehicles driver side air bag inflators.

The Department of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) has required Takata to assist in all future actions, in addition to their cooperation in NHTSA’s current investigation and oversight of the air bag manufacturer. U.S. Transportation Secretary, Anthony Fox, assures the public that the NHTSA is actively taking steps to ensure that the faulty inflators are replaced as quickly and efficiently as possible. NHTSA has created a new website to provide information regarding the status of recalls and the ongoing investigation. See www.SaferCar.gov/RecallsSpotlight

No definitive root cause of the air bag inflator’s malfunction has been found. However, some early investigative results and engineering reports point to moisture infiltrating the inflators over extended periods of time as a possible factor.

Car accidents and product defects have devastating effects on families across the country. Swartz & Swartz, P.C. is committed to assisting the many families whose lives have been forever tragically altered as a 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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Recent Death Highlights Treadmill Dangers

The recent death of Dave Goldberg has spotlighted the hazards of treadmills, as reported in a recent article. See http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/06/health/goldberg-treadmill-accident-cases/index.html.

The question is being asked: how does a seemingly healthy 47-year-old businessman, husband and father die in a treadmill accident? Unfortunately, treadmill-related accidents are more common than most of us realize.

Mr. Goldberg’s death has been attributed to a fall from the exercise equipment he was using, resulting in head trauma. He reportedly suffered from traumatic brain injury and hypovolemic shock, a condition tied to severe blood and fluid loss. As reported in the referenced article, emergency rooms saw 24,000 injuries related to the treadmill in 2014, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The machines’ dizzyingly fast belts can lead to a loss of balance, resulting in bruises, broken bones or worse. One can also get entangled in its cords, which can cause asphyxiation.

Although deaths are not as common as injuries, six years ago a 4 year old girl was strangled by a cord connected to such a machine, even though it was not being operated at the time.

What can consumers do to be safe and avoid incidents? First, keep children away from treadmills — both stationary and moving. Second, use the safety key provided, which will help ensure that the treadmill stops should the user fall. Third, don’t start the machine while on the belt, to avoid injury due to the sudden movement of the belt. Finally, be familiar with the location and operation of the shut-off button.

Still, the first and most important responsibility regarding safety of such exercise equipment rests with manufacturers and distributors, who must ensure that all safety regulations and statutes are followed, as well a design approach that takes into consideration the environment of end use. Thus, treadmills must be safely designed to account for children in the household, as well as the potential for consumers to fall while exercising. While not all injuries can be avoided, proper and safe design can help minimize the impact of foreseeable uses.

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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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MEDICAL DEVICE ALERA UPGRADED TO A CLASS I RECALL BY FDA

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:

http://www.berkeleybeacon.com/news/2015/1/6/second-lawsuit-accuses-emerson-of-mishandling-rape-case

Posted in Negligence, Personal Injury, Premises Liability, Safety, Sexual Abuse | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment