Monthly Archives: October 2010

Government Proposes $1.2 Million Fine In Deadly Plant Explosion

29 October 2010

On October 25, 2010, federal labor officials proposed fining a gun and ammunition manufacturer $1.2 million. The government stated that  two men who died in an explosion at the manufacturer’s Colebrook, New Hampshire facility weren’t properly trained and had been feeding explosive powder into equipment by hand. Specifically, it was alleged that Black Mag LLC, the operator of the MDM Muzzleloader plant, chose not to use or install remote starters, isolated operating stations, or appropriate shields and barriers for employees making the gunpowder. Employees also were not given proper protective gear such as fire-resistant clothing and face shields, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”).

OSHA issued 54 citations against Black Mag LLC. Jesse Kennett, 49, of Stratford and Donald Kendall, 56, of Colebrook were both killed in the blast, having been on the job only one month; another man was injured. The explosion caused heavy damage to the facility, shook nearby buildings, and forced the evacuation of dozens of homes.

Although the labor department didn’t specify the exact trigger of the explosion, it described a number of unsafe conditions it said contributed to the blast.

If a loved one has suffered serious injuries, please contact the personal injury lawyers at Swartz & Swartz, P.C. for a free consultation.

By James A. Swartz of Swartz & Swartz P.C.Permalink

Four Infant Deaths Linked To Recalled Graco Quattro™ and MetroLite™ Strollers

22 October 2010

In October, 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) announced a recall of about 2 million Graco strollers due to risk of entrapment and strangulation. Reports surfaced that the manufacturer, Graco Children’s Products Inc., of Atlanta, Ga., received four reports of infant strangulations that occurred in its strollers between the years 2003 and 2005. Furthermore, the government became aware of five reports of additional infant entrapments, as well as one report of an infant having difficulty breathing.

Children who are not harnessed in the strollers at issue can reportedly pass through the opening between the stroller tray and seat bottom, with the potential for his/her head and neck to become entrapped by the tray.  Unsecured infants younger than 12 months of age were reported to be particularly susceptible to the hazard. Infants who become entrapped at the neck risk strangulation.

The recall targeted older versions of the Graco Quattro Tour™ and MetroLite™ strollers and travel systems manufactured prior to the implementation of the January 2008 voluntary industry standard which addresses the height of the opening between the stroller’s tray and the seat bottom. The voluntary standard requires larger stroller openings in an effort to prevent infant entrapment and strangulation hazards.

If a loved one has suffered serious injuries, please contact the personal injury lawyers at Swartz & Swartz, P.C. for a free consultation.

By James A. Swartz of Swartz & Swartz P.C.Permalink

Trampolines Recalled Due to Fall Hazard

8 October 2010

On October 7, 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a recall of about 160,000 Bravo Sports Trampolines, sold under the AirZone and Variflex brand names. The top rails and legs of the trampolines, marketed and sold by Bravo Sports of California, have the potential to bend or break during normal use, which could cause the trampolines to partially collapse. The manufacturer received hundreds of reports of rails bending or breaking, as well as reports of resulting injuries.

The hazards of trampolines sold for use by consumers have been known by manufacturers for years. In addition to fall hazards with the potential to cause fractures or paralysis, potential defects include entrapment leading to asphyxiation with resulting brain damage or death. As of 2001, for example, the CPSC reported 91,870 trampoline injuries treated in emergency rooms; a vast majority of these injuries were to children under 15 years of age. Moreover, most injuries occurred at private homes.

Moreover, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) issued a position statement indicating that as of 2003, 211,646 trampoline injuries were sustained by teenagers and young children. Even young children aged 5 to 10 are at risk – the AAOS reported that this age group suffered 102,017 reported trampoline injuries.

Consumers should think twice before purchasing trampolines for home use. Consider the significant risks involved, and make an informed decision before placing such a product in the home environment, especially when children are expected to be at home and in the backyard. If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries, please contact the personal injury lawyers at Swartz & Swartz, P.C. for a free consultation.

By James A. Swartz of Swartz & Swartz P.C.Permalink

Major Fisher-Price Recalls

8 October 2010

In October, 2010, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) initiated a recall of several Fisher-Price children’s products due to the risk of serious injury or death. Fisher-Price, owned by Mattel, Inc., manufactures infant and children’s toys, and has been the focus of recalls in past years as well. For example, on August 2, 2007, Fisher-Price recalled almost a million toy units, including Dora the Explorer and Sesame Street branded toys, because of potential hazards posed by lead-based paint.

Most recently, Fisher-Price recalled Healthy Care, Easy Clean and Close to Me High Chairs due to laceration hazards. Almost 1 million of these high chairs are being recalled in the United States alone. The chairs pose a threat to children because of exposed pegs sticking out of the legs that are used for high chair tray storage. Children can fall or lean against the pegs and seriously injure themselves, including the potential for lacerations. The CPSC has advised that consumers should stop using these high chairs immediately.

Fisher-Price also recalled infant toys with inflatable balls due to choking hazard. The specific recalled products are Baby Playzone™ Crawl & Cruise Playground™, Baby Playzone™ Crawl & Slide Arcade™, Baby Gymtastics™ Play Wall, Ocean Wonders™ Kick & Crawl™ Aquarium (C3068 and H8094), 1-2-3 Tetherball™, Bat & Score Goal™. There have been almost 3 million units recalled in the United States. The inflatable balls that are attached to these products can become dislodged, presenting a potential choking hazard to young children. The CPSC recommends that consumers immediately remove the inflatable ball from the product and keep away from children.

The CPSC and Fisher-Price also recalled approximately 100,000 Little People Wheelies Stand ‘n Play Rampway due to a potential choking hazard. The wheels on the purple and green cars can detach, and are small enough to be ingested.

Finally, Fisher-Price recalled about 7 million its Children’s Trikes due to risk of serious injury. The protruding plastic ignition key has the potential to cause genital injuries to children riding the bikes as intended.

Consumers have an expectation that Fisher-Price toys, as well as children’s products marketed and sold by other well known manufacturers,  are safe for use by children within the recommended ages. However, this false sense of security can lead to severe injuries when a defective product makes its way into the streams of commerce. Consumers must use caution when selecting toys, and cannot assume that the products being sold have been properly tested and designed. If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries as the result of a dangerous toy or children’s product,  please contact the personal injury lawyers at Swartz & Swartz, P.C. for a free consultation.

By James A. Swartz of Swartz & Swartz P.C.Permalink

Hip Implant Litigation

4 October 2010

There are several reasons why patients require hip replacement surgery. It is typically recommended for those who suffer from extensive fractures or arthritis. There are several indications for surgery such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and traumatic arthritis. Osteoarthritis is when the cartilage that covers the hip bones wears away, which causes bone-on-bone movements. Osteoarthritis results in pain and stiffness and usually occurs around the age of 50. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that causes inflammation to the synovial membrane and damage to articular cartilage. Traumatic arthritis occurs due to serious hip injuries or fractures, which may cause articular damage and osteonecrosis.

Implants are often the “ball and socket” model in which a half-spherical cup (socket) is implanted into the pelvis, which fits next to a head (the ball). The head in attached to a spike that is cemented or drilled into the femur. These implants are usually manufactured form metal or plastic.

Lately, defective hip implants sold by manufacturers have been responsible for many significant injuries, leading to civil product liability lawsuits to recover damages suffered by victims. Recently, for example, the DePuy ASR hip replacement has been recalled. Sulzer Orthopedics Inc. has also recalled thousands of knee and hip replacements, leading to approval of a $1 billion settlement with injured patients.

Although there have been recalls of many hip replacements, not all such implants need to be replaced. Therefore, it is crucial that patients return to their doctors for an evaluation to ensure that their hip replacement is functioning properly.

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury due to a defective hip replacement, contact the law office of Swartz & Swartz, P.C. in Boston, Massachusetts.

By James A. Swartz of Swartz & Swartz P.C.Permalink

Recall of Infant Sleep Positioners Prompted By Reports of Twelve Infant Deaths

1 October 2010

On September 29, 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers to stop using infant sleep positioners. In recent years, the government received 12 reports of infants (ages ranging from 1 month to 4 four months) who died when they suffocated in sleep positioners, or became trapped and suffocated between a sleep positioner and the side of a crib or bassinet. According to reports, most of the babies suffocated after rolling from a side to stomach position. In addition to the reported deaths, dozens of reports were received regarding infants who were placed on their backs or sides in sleep positioners, later to be found in potentially hazardous positions within or next to the products.

The two main types of infant sleep positioners are flat mats with side bolsters or inclined (wedge) mats with side bolsters. The FDA has never cleared an infant sleep positioner to prevent or reduce the risk of SIDS. In addition, at the time of the recall, the government are unaware of any scientific studies demonstrating that infant positioners prevent SIDS or are proven to prevent suffocation or other life-threatening harm.

CPSC and the FDA warned parents and child care providers to:

  • STOP using sleep positioners. Using a positioner to hold an infant on his or her back or side for sleep is dangerous and unnecessary.
  • NEVER put pillows, infant sleep positioners, comforters, or quilts under a baby or in a crib.
  • ALWAYS place an infant on his or her back at night and during nap time. To reduce the risk of SIDS, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends placing infants to sleep on their backs and not their sides.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also does not support the use of any sleep positioner to prevent SIDS.

If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries, please contact the personal injury lawyers at Swartz & Swartz, P.C. for a free consultation.

By James A. Swartz of Swartz & Swartz P.C.Permalink