Articles Posted in Product Liability Cases

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/04/Screen-Shot-2020-04-22-at-7.17.42-PM-150x150.pngThe Supreme Court of Texas recently issued an opinion in a lawsuit against an insulation products company. According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiffs built a home in Texas and purchased products from a spray foam insulation company. The insulation was designed to make the home quieter and energy efficient by sealing areas where air loss occurs. Shortly after the installation, the family began suffering from various ailments, including coughing spells, burning eyes, allergies, and headaches. The company advised the family that the spray foam smell would dissipate over time. The company then sent an “independent contractor” sales representative to inspect the property; however, the family never received the inspection results.

In response, the family filed a lawsuit against the spray foam company, alleging various claims, including products liability and negligence. They argued that their injuries arose from the sale and installation of the spray foam used in their home. In response, the company contended that because the company never sold or advertised any of the products in Texas, the state did not have jurisdiction over the matter. Further, they argued that they did not have any involvement with the company that inspected the property. The appeals court agreed, finding that the plaintiffs failed to establish that Texas had either general or specific personal jurisdiction over the defendants.

Under Texas law, a court must have subject matter and personal jurisdiction over the parties to issue a judgment. Texas courts can assert personal jurisdiction over a nonresident if the state’s long-arm statute permits exercising jurisdiction and comports with federal due-process guarantees. Specific jurisdiction applies when the defendant’s contact with the state is purposeful, and the cause of action arises from those contacts.

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pexels-moose-photos-1029896-300x200CANCER CAUSING BENZENE FOUND IN SUNSCREENS LINKED TO HIGHER RISK–KILLER TAN CAN BE DEADLY – 40 SUNSCREEN BRANDS RECALLED

July 17, 2021, San Antonio, Texas:  Sunscreen products have been pulled from shelves across the country after they were found to contain significant amounts of benzene, a known carcinogen.  Experts say any benzene exposure poses a health risk. Benzene has been linked to increased cancer risk since and had five times higher than normal risk of leukemia.

“There’s no such thing as a safe level of exposure, and that’s especially true for children,” said Philip Landrigan, director of the Global Public Health Program and Global Pollution Observatory at Boston College.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2021/06/Screen-Shot-2021-06-23-at-4.18.35-PM-251x300.pngVarious state and federal agencies regulate the safety of infant and baby products. While these agencies possess the power to administer and enforce federal safety laws, many dangerous products continue to make their way into the consumer stream. Every year infants and children in Texas experience exposure to dangerous and potentially life-threatening products. When this occurs, family members should consider filing a Texas product liability claim against the defective product’s manufacturer or retailer.

For instance, Fisher-Price is once again recalling one of its most popular infant products. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission received reports citing the Rock n’ Glide Sleeper as the cause of four infants’ deaths. In each of the cases, the infants were placed unrestrained on their backs in the sleeper but were later found unresponsive on their stomachs. The deaths included infants ranging from 11 weeks to 4 months old. The current recall comes after a similar situation in 2019, in which the company agreed to recall its Rock’ n Play sleeper after several babies suffocated after rolling to their stomachs in the device.

Texas product liability lawsuits generally fall under one or more of the three types of defective product claims. The claims generally stem from design defects, failure to warn claims or manufacturing defects. Design defect claims apply when a product’s defective design poses a danger to the user. Claimants in these cases must establish that the company could have used a less dangerous design, the alternative design would not pose an unreasonable financial burden, and the alternative design would have maintained the product’s purpose and use. Failure to warn claims applies when a product poses an unreasonable danger even when used according to its directions. Finally, manufacturing defects claim that the product is defective because of an error that occurred during production.

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activity-board-game-connection-desk-613508-300x200The Supreme Court of Texas issued a decision in Emerson v. Johnson, upholding a multi-million dollar verdict in a Texas product liability lawsuit. The record indicates that the plaintiff, a highly experienced HVAC repairman, suffered severe burns to over 60% of his body while installing an HVAC unit. After an outdated and malfunctioning compressor in the unit exploded, the unit released scalding hot liquid all over the man. Despite the man’s HVAC experience, there was no way he could have known that the new compressor incorporated outdated technology inside the unit.

The man filed a product liability lawsuit against both the product’s manufacturer and an affiliate who designed and made the unit. He argued that the defendants defectively designed and manufactured the terminal and compressor. After a trial, a jury found that the older terminal design was unreasonably dangerous. The defendant asked the court to overturn the verdict based on legal sufficiency grounds or for a retrial because of a jury charge error.

On appeal to the Supreme Court, the defendants’ case largely rested on their contention that the plaintiff failed to present evidence that the terminal was unreasonably dangerous. A defective design inquiry requires the jury to find that the product is unreasonably dangerous as designed. The jury must consider the utility of the product and the risk of its use.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2021/04/Screen-Shot-2021-04-27-at-2.37.08-PM.pngSelf-driving, or autonomous cars, are revolutionizing the way the public looks at travel and car ownership. These vehicles turn active drivers into passive passengers, allowing motorists to rely on the car’s advanced computerized system to navigate the roads and avoid collisions. However, these cars may result in a serious Texas car accident, as the new technology is still being refined.

Autonomous vehicles rely on complex computer systems, sensors, actuators, and various algorithms to operate on the roads without an active driver. In theory, these cars provide a glimpse into a more environmentally friendly and safer future for road users. However, as it is, these features often present more dangers than benefits.

For example, recently, a national news report described a fatal Tesla crash involving a driverless vehicle. According to reports, the vehicle did not have a driver and was operating on high or full automation mode. As such, one of the occupants was in the front passenger seat, and the other occupants were in the back seat. The car was speeding along a dangerous curve when it slammed into a tree. Emergency responders used over 30,000 gallons of water to put out the massive fire that the collision sparked. Tesla did not respond to this incident but previously stated that their vehicles are intended to be used with an attentive driver who has their hands on the steering wheel. However, safety officials argue that the company does not do enough to deter drivers from depending too much on the vehicle’s features.

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pexels-gustavo-fring-3985170-300x200Vaccines are one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of infectious diseases throughout the world. The overwhelming majority of people who receive vaccines do not experience serious problems, and the benefits greatly outweigh the threat of risk. However, similar to the risks associated with natural supplements and other pharmaceuticals, some vaccine recipients may suffer adverse reactions. Depending on the nature and circumstance of the injury, victims may file a Texas medical malpractice or pharmaceutical error lawsuit. Further, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) provides compensation to individuals who have suffered injuries from certain vaccines.

Nearly 40 years ago, in response to growing lawsuits against medical providers and pharmaceutical companies, the federal government created the VICP. The creation followed a slew of lawsuits stemming from some parents’ beliefs that certain vaccines resulted in injuries to their children. Many companies halted the production of vaccines because of the onslaught of lawsuits. The vaccine shortage posed a serious threat to the nation’s health. As such, the VICP fund works to compensate those who suffer injuries because of a reaction to a childhood vaccine.

The VICP only covers certain vaccines such as those that prevent diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, human papillomavirus, influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, rotavirus, and varicella. If a Texas injury victim or their loved ones believe that they suffered a vaccine error, they should contact an attorney to file a petition through the VICP. Currently, the program does not cover the COVID-19 vaccine; however, some sources have reported that Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccinations may result in a rare clotting condition. Federal officials have halted the use of the pharmaceutical company’s vaccine to determine, what if any, the vaccine plays in the clotting condition. In many cases, a person’s reaction to a medication or vaccine is not because of a defect in the vaccine or medication but rather an allergic reaction that a medical provider missed.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2021/03/Screen-Shot-2021-04-01-at-11.07.48-AM-300x284.pngDuring the course of the COVID-19 global pandemic, tens of millions of people across the country experienced moving their work lives, but also their active lives, into their homes and away from typical common spaces such as gyms or exercise studios. As people began both working and attempting to stay active during quarantine and to practice social distancing, demand for at-home exercise options and equipment has been on the rise. But even at home, could these equipment options pose risks to you and your family? Those injured due to a dangerous piece of exercise equipment may be able to pursue a Texas product liability claim against the manufacturer.

According to a recent news article, an accident involving a Peloton treadmill has left a child dead. Although Peloton’s exercise equipment is wildly popular, their products are no exception when it comes to accidents involving children. The CEO of the company recently acknowledged the issue and claimed that the accidents have been confined to only a “small handful of incidents.” To prevent further accidents from taking place, the company is urging Peloton users to adhere to safety warnings, such as keeping exercise equipment in a separate area away from children and storing safety keys away when the equipment is not being used.

Based on a 2020 study from The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, most at-home treadmill injuries take place involving children under 16. In light of the COVID-19 global pandemic, there has been an increase in the number of people purchasing exercise equipment for their homes, but also with children home from school with remote learning. As a result, the risk of an injury involving children and exercise equipment may be amplified because of current conditions involving the pandemic. Common injuries involving treadmills, the study found, usually involve damage to the fingers and hands, such as friction burns.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/09/Screen-Shot-2020-09-28-at-8.44.28-PM-300x112.pngIn light of COVID-19, everyone seems to be shopping online more frequently. Whether you’re shopping online to adhere to social distancing concerns or simply out of boredom, Amazon has become an important part of regular online shopping trips in many households. When a product purchased from the online retailer, however, injures someone in your family, is Amazon liable in a Texas products liability lawsuit? Or is the entity or individual who sold you the product responsible?

In a recent Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion, the court had to consider a Texas products liability case involving a parent’s worst nightmare. The plaintiff’s husband purchased a remote control from Amazon.com. A year later, the couple’s 19-month-old baby girl swallowed the battery from the remote control. Surgeons had to remove the battery.

The plaintiff claimed that the battery’s fluid from its electrical charge resulted in severe, permanent, and irreversible damage to the child’s esophagus. After the plaintiff notified Amazon of the incident, Amazon notified the seller, who did not respond. The seller’s account was subsequently suspended. The plaintiff sued Amazon and the seller, alleging strict liability and negligence under a variety of product liability theories.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2021/01/Screen-Shot-2021-01-15-at-7.18.55-PM-300x57.pngWhen a consumer purchases a new product, they rightfully trust that the designer, manufacturer, and retailer took measures to ensure the product’s safety and efficacy. However, despite testing standards and federal oversight, some dangerous products make their way into the consumer stream. Products with a design or manufacturing defect or that are inherently dangerous may cause serious injuries and lead to a Texas product liability lawsuit. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC) requires manufacturers, distributors, and similar entities to report any issues with their products and issue recalls if necessary. However, these parties may still face liability even if they issued a recall.

Texas product liability laws cover claims stemming from design defects, manufacturing defects, and warning defects. The law allows injury victims to recover damages against manufacturers or sellers of a defective product that causes personal injury, death, or property damage. Texas design defect claims are generally the most onerous product liability claim. In these cases, plaintiffs must establish that the victim suffered injuries because the product’s design was inherently dangerous. The law requires plaintiffs to present evidence of a safer and economically feasible alternative design. Manufacturing defects are relevant when the product’s design is appropriate, but something went awry during the manufacturing process that made a specific item dangerous. This type of claim may be appropriate when a manufacturer fails to meet safety or design standards. However, the claims do not apply to those who suffer injuries from a defective product manufactured before updated safety standards. Finally, failure to warn claims are applicable when a manufacturer did not provide appropriate instructions or warnings.

The New York Times recently reported that The Home Depot recalled a popular indoor/outdoor fan, after reports that the fans’ blades were detaching while spinning. The Home Depot issued a voluntary recall after nearly 50 consumer reports of detaching blades. The USCPSC, reported that The Home Depot voluntarily recalled the fans and ceased sales when they discovered the issue. They maintain that the fans are not inherently dangerous, and the hazard resulted from a manufacturing defect.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/09/Screen-Shot-2020-09-28-at-8.44.28-PM-300x112.pngBecause of social distancing requirements in the wake of COVID-19, people in Texas are taking advantage of shopping from the comfort and safety of their own homes. In addition, the ease and availability of all kinds of products through online retailers has made it possible to purchase everything from your family’s weekly grocery haul to the newest gadget. But when that package arrives on your doorstep, is the item you have received safe? Outside of the convenience factor of the shopping experience, can we trust online retailers and their products? If you are a Texan who has purchased a faulty product from an online retailer that has become a hazard or dangerous, you may be eligible to receive compensation through a product liability claim.

According to a recent article, an investigation has revealed that dozens of AmazonBasics electronics and other products have remained for sale despite consumers reporting that they were potential fire hazards. AmazonBasics is one of the massive retailer’s most popular lines, with a variety of budget-friendly products that range from kitchen and home basics to electronic accessories. The investigation yielded nearly 1,500 reviews on the Amazon website involving more than 70 products described as potentially dangerous. Despite reviews on these items using terms like “hazard” or “fire” or demanding the product to be recalled entirely, many of these items still remain for sale on the retailer’s website.

Following these reports, three lawmakers are demanding the recall of any hazardous products bearing the Amazon brand. Although the retailer did not respond directly to the investigation, electrical engineers told investigators that other factors may be at play when using these products, such as faulty wiring within a home or user error. According to the engineers, electronics sold under the AmazonBasics name should not typically pose a danger to the public when properly made and used according to instructions. Critics disagree.

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