October 27, 2016

By: Peter M. Hileman, Esq.
Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C.

Did you know that product liability suits have made all of our lives safer by forcing companies to make safer products? Out of hundreds of examples we could cite, here are nine high-profile cases involving products that harmed children, women, and consumers generally.

Products that Harmed Children :

Crib deaths – Bassett Furniture stopped making cribs once it learned babies were dying due to accidental hanging on the headboard. Only after the company lost a lawsuit did it notify owners of the hazard and begin a recall.

Childrens pajamas – Dayton Hudson was aware that children could be severely burned by their pajamas, but chose not to treat them with flame-retardant chemicals. A jury’ verdict forced their product off the market.

Football helmets – manufacturers knew for years that inadequate padding led to numerous spinal injuries and deaths to children using their helmets. Improved design spurred by liability claims eliminated deaths for the first time in 60 years.

Products that Endangered Women:

Tampons – Playtex disregarded studies and medical reports showing that its super-absorbent tampons could cause Toxic Shock Syndrome. Women who died from the condition were awarded damages, and the product was taken off the market.

IUD – Dalkon Shield’s intrauterine device was known to cause pelvic disease and septic abortions. Only after a lawsuit and a large damage award did the manufacturer pull the product from the shelves.

Products Unsafe for All Consumers :

Asbestos – manufacturers knew for years that their product was deadly, but concealed its danger to workers and the public. Because of thousands of claims, asbestos is no longer a danger in our society.

Tylenol – When mixed with alcohol, Tylenol destroys the liver. Johnson & Johnson knew of the danger but refused to put a warning on the product until after it lost a products liability lawsuit.

Car Safety Issues:

Automatic transmissions – Ford knew that its faulty design caused vehicles to lurch out of control but did nothing until plaintiffs successfully sued Ford Motor Company and were awarded a large verdict.

Ford Pinto – Ford knew it had made a dangerous lemon, but sold millions of them until plaintiffs lawyers successfully proved Ford’s wrongdoing in court.

At Drake Hileman & Davis we have been representing consumers in products liability cases for thirty years. We are also doing our part to help hold manufacturers accountable, bring justice to victims of dangerous products, and make products safer for all of us. Here are some recent examples of products cases that we have successfully prosecuted:

Aerosol Degreaser

We recently obtained a $100,000 defective product settlement involving an automotive aerosol degreaser product. Due to lack of adequate instructions regarding the proper use of the product, a consumer living in Pipersville, Bucks County, Pennsylvania suffered a permanent inhalation injury while using multiple cans of an automotive aerosol degreaser on a boat motor. An expert in consumer labeling testified that this “over-the-counter” consumer product was unsafe because it lacked a necessary warning that a respiratory mask was required. In particular, the expert found that the manufacturer failed to warn that use of two or more cans of the product would expose the consumer to dangerous concentrations of toxic airborne particles and thus an elevated risk of respiratory injury.

Utility Wagon

In 2008 we secured a $290,000 settlement for injuries caused by a defective garden utility cart that injured a consumer in Allentown, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. As the consumer tried to inflate the cart’s tire, it exploded, splitting its rim, which in turn ripped through the consumer’s flesh, muscle and bones, causing permanent injuries. An expert metallurgist determined that the Chinese steel was of inferior quality and that the split rim design was inherently dangerous.

Electric Powered Utility Scooter

We represented a disabled consumer in Tobyhanna, Monroe County, Pennsylvania who suffered a complex fracture to her arm when her two day old electric powered scooter tipped over due to lack of stability wheels. An expert found that the scooter should have had anti-tip wheels due to its narrow design. The case settled for $65,000.

Have you or someone you know have sustained injuries from using or being exposed to a dangerous or defective product? You may have a call us for your free case analysis and evaluation.