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February 20, 2013

Toddler Deaths Prompt Million Dollar Baby to Recall Dressers

dresser.jpgYoung children love to climb. They can climb onto anything, including tables, bookcases, chest of drawers, TV stands, and open oven doors. They can climb quickly, when you turn your back, when you run to the bathroom, when you put them in their room for a nap.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that at least one child dies every 2 weeks as a result of suffocating while trapped under a piece of furniture that has turned over on to them. In addition, CPSC staff estimates that more than 22,000 children 8 years old and younger were treated for injuries at local hospital emergency rooms for injuries resulting from tip-over incidents between 2008 to 2010.These are tragic and unnecessary deaths. Parents understandably feel responsible and guilty after something like this happens. But how is a parent supposed to know about this danger?

The reality is that most parents do not know about the potential danger posed by these innocuous pieces of furniture, but the manufacturers of these products know only too well about the lurking dangers. Children have been dying and parents have been suing these manufacturers for this very problem for over a decade.To sell these products without the necessary safety equipment to make them safe for children is incredibly callous and unconscionable because these manufacturers know that if it is not "if" these tragedies are going to happen, but "when" and "how often."

This week, Bexco Enterprises Inc., dba Million Dollar Baby of Montebello, Calif. is announcing a voluntary recall of 18,000 children's four-drawer dressers. The CPSC and Million Dollar Baby have received two reports of deaths associated with these dressers. One child's parents filed a lawsuit in California as a result of their child's death. That case recently settled, and it is suspected that the voluntary recall is one of the terms of the settlement.

This dresser recall involves "Emily" style four-drawer dressers with model numbers M4712, M4722, M4732 and M4742 and similar "Ryan" dressers with the model M4733. The recalled dresser measures 33-inches high by 20-inches deep by 40-inches wide and is a part of the DaVinci children's bedroom furniture collection.

The recalled dressers were sold at JCPenney and independent juvenile specialty stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com, BabiesRUs.com, BabyUniverse.com and other online retailers from January 2006 through June 2010 for around $300.

While the Million Dollar Baby dressers met voluntary safety standards when first produced, a May 2009 voluntary industry standard, and subsequent revisions published in October 2009 and November 2009, required that tip-over restraints be sold with the dressers. The restraints attach to the wall with screws, framing or other support to help prevent dresser tip-over entrapment hazards for small kids. Million Dollar Baby is offering free retrofit kits with tip-over restraints to consumers who have older dressers.

Consumers can contact Million Dollar Baby to receive a free retrofit kit that contains a wall anchor strap, which attaches to the dresser and wall to help prevent the dresser from tipping. The kits can be ordered by visiting the firm's website at www.themdbfamily.com/safety2 and click on Safety HQ or call toll-free at (888) 673-6652 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday.

February 19, 2013

"Magnet Balls" Pose Danger to Kids - Recalled by Feds

Magnet Balls are a very popular desktop toy on the market right now. The small 5mm diameter balls are extremely strong for their size and can be molded into any shape imaginable. The magnets are made of the rare earth neodynium and are at least 15 times more powerful than normal magnets.

These little balls stick together with such force that, if they are accidentally swallowed, they can cut holes in the stomach or intestines. Life-threatening injuries like perforations, sepsis and blockages can occur within hours following ingestion. They are manufactured by several different companies and marketed in slim plastic tubes filled with 216 shiny magnetic balls. So who in the world would ever put them in their mouth and swallow them? Young kids and teenagers apparently.

A recent study says that hundreds of children and teens have been treated by physicians, with dozens needing surgery for injuries, in just the past two years after swallowing the super-strong magnetic balls, despite bold labels and warnings to keep them away from children.

The U.S. consumer product watchdog, CPSC, recalled the magnet toys. The balls are sold under brand names such as Buckyballs, Zen Magnets, and NeoCube, which was the first of these toys to hit the market in 2008. While most manufacturers and importers say they will comply with the CPSC recall, two are fighting the recall. The CPSC has sued these manufacturers to force them to stop selling the dangerous product.

The latest study is based on reports compiled by the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. That study found a total of 480 cases in which children or teens swallowed the tiny magnets, with 204 incidents occurring in just the past 12 months. Approximately 80 percent of those incidents required endoscopy or surgery.

More than 50 percent of the cases involved children six years old or younger; 16 percent involved teenagers, who use the magnets to mimic tongue, lip, and nose piercings. Teenagers are putting one magnet under their tongue and one magnet on the top of their tongue to make it appear like a piercing.

If you have some of these magnets and you also have young kids or teenagers, you should either make sure that the balls are safe and secure, or simply trash them. If you want your money back, you can return them to the seller for a full refund under the recall.

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February 7, 2013

Beware of Counterfeit Drugs

counterfeit drugs.jpgcounterfeit drugs1.jpg
More and more generic drugs are turning out to be COUNTERFEIT! A counterfeit drug is one that is marketed and sold as the real drug, but in actuality it is missing one or more of the key active ingredients. Taking such drugs can be dangerous and hazardous to your health. Headlines have recently discussed the popular flu remedy Tamiflu as having a counterfeit on the market.

Yesterday, the FDA announced that it had identified another counterfeit cancer drug. The drug is a generic counterfeit version of the cancer drug Avastin. This is the third case involving the best-selling Roche drug in the past year. The FDA is notifying and warning doctors about this latest counterfeit.

Most of these counterfeit drugs are found on-line at discount pharmacies. The on-line pharmacies that are selling counterfeit drugs have websites that look professional and authentic. But, as the old saying goes, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is! So, beware consumers, if the price of the drug is unbelievably low, it is probably a fake. Buyers of on-line drugs must be careful that they are dealing with reputable pharmacies.

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November 28, 2012

Defective Trampoline Recalled by Feds

trampoline.jpgIf you bought a trampoline for your kids between 2005 and 2012, you should pay attention. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in conjunction with Sportspower Ltd, of Hong Kong issued a voluntary recall of the firm's best selling trampoline. More than 24,000 defective trampolines were sold at Sports Authority stores throughout the US during the last 7 years. The trampolines sold for approximately $600.00. What is not surprising is that these dangerous trampolines were made in China.

The hazard presented by these defective products is that the folding legs on which the trampoline sits can move out of position and cut through to the jumping area, creating a risk of severe injury or death, including deep, penetrating puncture wounds, cuts and bruises to children and adults bouncing on the trampoline.

The trampoline being recalled is the Parkside model TR-14FT-COM. The trampolines were sold with an enclosure net and are 14 feet in diameter.

If you purchased one of these trampolines, you should stop using it immediately and contact the manufacturer toll-free at (888) 965-0565, from 9 to 5 Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday, or online at www.sportspowerltd.net, or you can email customerservice@sportspowerltd.net for more information.

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November 1, 2012

Chronic Pain Injections in NC Tainted with Deadly Meningitis

epidural injections.jpgA pharmaceutical company, New England Compounding Center of Massachusetts, has sold and delivered a tainted batch of steriod injections to doctors' offices across the US. The injections are tained with a deadly strain of meningitis. The tainted injections have been blamed for at least 14 deaths thus far.

To date, almost 14,000 people have been given the bad medicine. Most of the people who have received the injections were given the medicine as a form of pain treatment for chronic back problems.

A Minnesota woman filed the first lawsuit last week in a federal court. She told the media that said she has experienced a high fever and nausea after getting an injection, and that she is anxiously awaiting test results.

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October 28, 2012

Monster Energy (Or "Injury") Drink??? Teens Beware!

monster injury drink.jpgFive death reports have been reported to the FDA alleging a direct link to consuming Monster Energy drink. The number of emergency room visits as a result of drinking an energy drink has dramatically risen 10 fold in the last 4 years. The FDA is finally investigating the alleged link.

The FDA does not regulate the amount of caffeine in energy drinks, which can be marketed as dietary supplements. Very high amounts of caffeine can cause dangerous irregular heart rhythms and can even be fatal for those with undiagnosed heart conditions. Perhaps a warning label would help.

Teenager Anais Fournier was at home watching a movie when she went into cardiac arrest last December. Unconscious, Anais was rushed to the hospital. In an effort to save her life, doctors put Anais in an induced coma to reduce the brain swelling. Six days later she was removed from life support. The cause of death was caffeine toxicity according her doctors, the autopsy and death certificate.

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September 29, 2012

Coppertone's Tan Fading

Coppertone.jpgThe owner of Coppertone suntan products, pharmaceutical giant Merck, agreed to pay between $3 Million and $10 Million to settle a decade old class action. The lawsuit claimed that the company made false statements about the benefits of using its products. Many people felt that they had been misled by the company's claims that its suntan products provided "all day protection", that they were "waterproof", or "sweat proof."

Merck denied any wrongdoing as a result of the settlement, and they denied that anyone was injured as a result of their conduct. As with many big class action cases, the consumers are the one that really appear to be getting burned. Each consumer that joined the claim will be receiving a check from Merck for approximately $1.50.

Interestingly, Merck agreed that all of its suntan products manufactured after June 22, 2012 will not include the language "all day protection," waterproof," or "sweat proof." So, you may be seeing Coppertone labels next summer like, "Use Coppertone because it smells the best!" or "Buy Coppertone - We guarantee you'll get some sun!"

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August 19, 2012

GM & Isuzu SUVs Recalled Due to Fire Hazard

GM SUV fire.jpegDefective door lock and window switches in more than 258,000 SUVs have led General Motors and Isuzu to recall the vehicles due to a fire hazard. The recall includes Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Isuzu Ascender and Saab 97-X SUVs from the 2006 and 2007 model years.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that water may enter the driver's door and cause corrosion that could result in a short in the circuit board. The short may cause overheating, which can melt wires and switches, producing a foul odor, smoke, or a fire.

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August 18, 2011

Florida Supreme Court Upholds Cigarette Verdict

cigarettes1.jpgThe Florida Supreme Court has just declined to review a lower court's decision upholding a $3.3 million compensatory damages verdict and a $25 million punitive damages verdict for the widow of a smoker. The case name was Martin v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

The effect of the Florida Supreme Court's decision to not review the case is that the lower court decision stands as the final decision in the case. By declining to review the lower court's decision, the Supreme Court has basically said, "We think you got it right." RJR Tobacco is shocked and probably livid about the decision. For months, RJR has asserted that they fully expected the decision to be overturned on appeal.

The American Association for Justice reported that one of the lawyers for Ms. Martin said, "by leaving that ruling intact, the supreme court paved the way for juries to continue to consider all the evidence regarding the fraud and deceit of the cigarette industry and the tragic toll it's taken on American families."

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December 8, 2010

Chewing Tobacco Lawsuit Nets $5 Million In 1st Ever Settlement

Big Tobacco recently paid $5 Million to settle a wrongful death claim to the Estate of Bobby Hill. A resident of Canton, North Carolina, Hill died from mouth cancer in 2003 at the young age of 42. He had been dipping since age 13. Altria makes and sells Skoal and Copenhagen. This is the first settlement of its kind in the smokeless tobacco arena.

Many familiar with the cigarette litigation say that this settlement will cause plaintiff's lawyers to start filing more cases against the smokeless tobacco giant. Hill dipped tobacco made and sold by U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co -- which Altria acquired in 2009. The deal was struck before the acquisition. A spokesperson for Altria says this was a special situation, honoring the prior deal, and the tobacco giant does not plan to settle any other pending cases.

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November 21, 2010

FDA Targets High Engergy Alcohol Drinks As Being Dangerous

drinklineup.jpgThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warning letters to four manufacturers of caffeinated alcoholic drinks, directing them to stop adding caffeine to the popular drinks within 15 days or face stop selling them altogether.

FDA warned four companies that the caffeine added to their alcoholic malt beverages is an "unsafe food additive" and said that further action, including seizure of their products, is possible under federal law. Warning letters were issued to the following companies:

Charge Beverages Corp.: Core High Gravity HG Green, Core High Gravity HG Orange, and Lemon Lime Core Spiked

New Century Brewing Co., LLC: Moonshot

Phusion Projects, LLC (doing business as Drink Four Brewing Co.): Four Loko

United Brands Company Inc.: Joose and Max

The FDA Commissioner, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, asserted that the drinks appeared to pose a serious public health threat because the caffeine masked the effects of the alcohol, leading to "a state of wide-awake drunk." The drinks at issue are carbonated malt beverages with fruit flavors and very high levels of alcohol; Four Loko is 12 percent alcohol by volume and has up to 156 milligrams of caffeine per can. The effect of consuming alcohol and caffeine is that people get more intoxicated and engage in more dangerous behavior when they drink the combination beverages than when they drink alcohol alone.

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July 8, 2010

Defective Bicycle Sold In North Carolina Recalled By CPSC

bike - defective.jpgAs parents and students begin preparing for the coming school year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a voluntary recall for a single speed bicycle sold by Campus Cruisers LLC of Boulder, Colorado.

Although the bicycle is popular among high school and college students, the CPSC has received several reports of crashes caused by the bicycle's front fork cracking and breaking. This type of front fork failure is extremely dangerous because such a break generally causes the rider to go head first onto the ground or pavement. Serious head and neck injuries can result from this type of crash. The bicycle was sold to independent bicycle dealers in North Carolina and in other states from March 2010 through May 2010. The cost of the bicycle was approximately $450. The bicycle was manufactured by a company in China.

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May 13, 2010

Class Action Heats Up Against Toyota For Diminished Value

toyota building.jpgThe National Law Journal recently reported that plaintiffs' class action attorneys could seek more than $7 Billion in damages from Toyota Motor Company for the decreased value to Toyota consumers' vehicles as a result of the problems associated with sudden unintended acceleration.

Plaintiffs attorneys believe that the members of the Toyota class action will enjoy some distinct advantages over members of other class actions, in that numerous consumer rating agencies have indicated that the value of Toyota vehicles have dramatically declined from 2.6% to 3.77%. Those figures may not sound like much, but, when you consider that Toyota sold almost 9 million vehicles in 2008 and is the world's largest automaker, it quickly adds up.

The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) also fined Toyota the maximum amount ($16.4 Million) for its failure to timely disclose its knowledge of the sticky pedal problem. The basis for the fine was that manufacturers are required to notify the government whenever they have reason to believe that a product they manufacture may not be safe. Toyota did nothing until the issue was picked up by the national media. NHTSA has confirmed that Toyota knew that there were safety issues with its gas pedals for several months before they publicly disclosed the problems.

Toyota could have easily taken issue with the amount of the fine and demanded explanations about the method NHTSA used to arrive at the record penalty. $16.4 million is a mere drop in the large bucket of cash Toyota has amassed in recent years. Toyota paid the full fine last month without so much as a whimper. The auto manufacturer was careful not to admit any legal liability with regard to the sticky pedal problem. The following statement by Toyota indicates that the plaintiffs are probably going to be in for a fight as they seek to recover for their harms and losses.

"We have acknowledged that we could have done a better job of sharing relevant information within our global operations and outside the company," Toyota said, "but we did not try to hide a defect to avoid dealing with a safety problem".

At this point, Toyota would probably just like to "move forward."

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March 18, 2010

Popular High Chair Poses Danger to North Carolina Children

gracochair.jpgThe Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced a recall of over 1.2 million Graco "Harmony" high chairs. Fourteen injuries have been reported from children falling out of the chairs because the screws holding the front legs of the high chair can loosen and fall out. The plastic brackets that hold the legs together can also crack, causing the chair to suddenly tip over. The injuries reported include cuts, bruises and scratches to infants heads, arms and legs from the falls. One parent reported a broken arm. If you own a Graco Harmony High Chair, you are asked to call 1-800-345-4109 to get a repair kit.

This is the latest of many recalls issued by Graco over the last several years. Prior recalls have involved child car safety seats, bassinets, strollers, booster seats and cribs. The company uses cheap and unreliable materials in its products in order to keep manufacturing costs down and profits high. Such conduct has led to multi-million dollar fines against Graco by the CPSC and also several multi-million dollar jury verdicts, including one verdict for $11.3 Million. These fines and verdicts have yet to get Graco's attention, in that they continue making and marketing cheaply made and unsafe child products.

If your child or the child of a loved one was seriously injured because of defective crib, car seat or other child product, you may want to contact a defective product attorney about a possible product liability lawsuit.

March 8, 2010

North Carolina Firefighters May Seek Damages for Hearing Loss

Asheville fire truck.jpgA recent verdict in Pennsylvania may open the way for firefighters in North Carolina and across the country to recover damages for hearing loss caused by defective sirens. Most cases filed against the manufacturers of firetruck sirens have been dismissed by various courts around the country, but that may be changing.

In the first case to go to trial in Philadelphia, a state court jury found that Federal Signal Corporation negligently designed the Q-Sirens it sold the the City of Philadelphia, and that those sirens were a cause of firefighter Edward Smyl's hearing loss. The lawsuit alleged that the sirens were defective because they emitted such an intense noise that it caused permanent hearing damage to the firefighter. The jury's verdict found that the firefighter was entitled to $100,000.00 in damages. This is a huge victory for firefighters in North Carolina and across the nation.

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