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Articles Posted in Products Liability

If you are the parent of an infant or toddler, you probably already know that there are more baby products on the market than ever before. When choosing from a seeming multitude of options, how can you be assured that you are buying a product that is safe, rather than a potentially dangerous product that may eventually become the subject of a Massachusetts product liability lawsuit?

The unfortunate fact is that you cannot know, with absolute certainty, which items are safe, and which are not. However, there are some ways to research a particular product before making a purchase.

The federal government has a website that is somewhat of a “clearinghouse” for recalls and product advisories concerning several different products, including consumer products aimed at children and child safety seats.

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Massachusetts product liability cases can cover a multitude of products – from the cars we drive to the toys that amuse our children to the medications that we take to try to be our healthiest selves.

Product injury lawsuits are not easy, and litigation can be lengthy. In many cases, there are a number of obstacles that must be overcome, if the plaintiff is to ultimately receive fair compensation for his or her injuries (or for a loved one’s death).

Facts of the Case

In a recent federal case, the plaintiffs had filed individual lawsuits against the defendant pharmaceutical companies, asserting that the defendants had engaged in “off label” prescription drug marketing and fraud intended to push their antidepressant drugs on minors for whom the Federal Drug Administration had not approved usage. The plaintiffs’ actions were aggregated for pretrial proceedings by order of a multi-district litigation panel.

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As the holiday season winds down, many Massachusetts residents may be planning to begin the new year with the resolution of healthier eating – fewer starchy processed foods and more fresh fruits and vegetables. Usually, this would be a good plan.

Unfortunately, however, there have been several food contamination scares recently that could leave one wondering whether a new diet would indeed be best choice or whether eating “healthier” might end in a Massachusetts food poisoning lawsuit.

The Romaine Lettuce Recall

The United States Food & Drug Administration oversees the safety of the nation’s food supply. Often, this comes in the form of the recall of batch of foods (such as ground beef) processed within a few days time. With the recent romaine lettuce situation, however, the warning (first issued in late November) was much broader. Consumers were urged not eat any romaine lettuce and to throw out any such food product until more information was obtained by the FDA.

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A Cape Code product liability lawsuit can arise from many different types of products, including prescription medications. Drug-based product liability cases can involve products that were defectively designed or manufactured, but more often they may claim that the manufacturer failed to warn consumers of possible complications from usage of the medication.

Of course, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the defendant is liable for his or her injuries, and this can be a challenge in many cases. If the plaintiff’s complaint does not alleged sufficient facts to support a viable cause of action against the defendant, the trial court may dismiss the plaintiff’s case.

Facts of the Case

In a case recently ruled upon by the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the plaintiff was a man who claimed that he suffered serious side effects from a prescription medication and that the defendants, a drug manufacturer and a research and development company, failed to warn him of these possible issues. The drug in question was Risperdal, which is an anti-psychotic drug. The plaintiff, who is an inmate at a correctional institution in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, was purportedly prescribed the drug due to a diagnosis of a personality disorder. According to the plaintiff, the drug caused him to gain weight, have tremors, and develop gynecomastia (increased breast tissue).

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A Massachusetts product liability lawsuit can arise from a wide array of defective products. Sometimes, these products are the subject of a recall by the manufacturer or a governmental entity, but often they are not.

Nevertheless, it is wise to stay abreast of the latest recalls in order to avoid possible safety issues concerning consumer products, motor vehicles, foods, or other items.

Vehicle Recalls Recently Issues

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains a website that lists all of the latest recalls for cars, trucks, sport utility vehicles, vans, and the like. You can search for recalls specific to your automobile if you have the vehicle identification number (VIN). Recent recalls include certain Chevrolet Silverados and Tahoes, which may develop a loose or inoperative brake pedal. Because this could result in a crash, vehicle owners should contact General Motors for information on having a repair made.

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In personal injury and wrongful death cases, there are sometimes multiple theories of liability. In a Cape Cod product liability case, for instance, the plaintiff may allege that the defendant manufacturer was negligent in the design of an unreasonably dangerous product and that the defendant should be held accountable for its failure to warn the consumer of the dangerous propensity of the product in question. These theories are not necessarily inconsistent.

Sometimes, however, a plaintiff may have to decide between legal theories that could be considered inconsistent. A recent case explored the complications that can arise in such situations.

Facts of the Case

Approximately seven out of every 10 Americans take a prescription medication. While the majority of these drugs are reasonably safe (virtually every medicine has some side effect), there has been a trend in recent years for drugs to be put on the market before the full effects are adequately studied.

A number of Massachusetts product liability lawsuits have arisen as a result of personal injuries or wrongful deaths allegedly caused by prescription medications. One common claim in such lawsuits is an allegation that the patient was not adequately warned of the medication’s side effects. A complication arises, however, when the patient takes a generic version of a drug. This is because federal law requires that a generic drug provide an identical label to its name-brand counterpart, even though the drugs may be made by different manufacturers.

Facts of the Case

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is an arm of the federal government whose mission is to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce costs due to traffic crashes. The entity’s website lists many statistics illustrating its success, including a “safety success” of decreasing Massachusetts fatal car accidents in rural towns by 48% in 2015.

As part of its task of keeping people safe on America’s roadways, the NHTSA issues recalls of vehicles, car seats, tires, and equipment that may pose a risk to the public. Sometimes, a recall affects only a few products, but other times millions of consumers may potentially be affected. Either way, it pays to stay up to date on the latest information issued by the NHTSA.

Toyota Recalls 65,000 Tundras/Sequoias

The holiday season can be both joyous and stressful. Shopping, decorating, and social obligations can be challenging enough without the added issue of a potentially dangerous or defective product.

Unfortunately, product recalls do not have a “season,” and a Cape Cod product liability attorney can tell you that an accident can happen just as easily during this time of the year as any other. Thus, it is important to be ever-vigilant about the vehicle you drive to the mall for your holiday shopping, the food you arrange on the party buffet, and even the gifts you pass along to friends and family.

Recent Recalls for Automobiles

A Cape Cod product liability lawsuit can arise from something small and simple or from something large and complex. If the product in question is of the more complex variety, it is possible that there may be multiple defendants involved, especially if the product was made of many different pieces. In cases involving multiple component parts, the issue of who had a duty to warn of the end product’s propensity for harm can be very complex.

Facts of the Case

In a case recently considered by the Appeals Court of Massachusetts, the plaintiff was the executrix of a man who was found dead underneath a dump truck. The decedent’s clothing was allegedly caught up in a spinning joint on the truck, and his cause of death was reportedly accidental asphyxiation. The plaintiff filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendants, the manufacturer of the original version of the truck (which the court described as “stripped down”), and the maker of a part of the system used to tilt the dump body of the truck, asserting product liability claims sounding in negligence and failure to warn. The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendants.