Articles Posted in Defective Products

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Jacksonville-based Winn-Dixie is recalling some of its ground beef products because they may be contaminated with the E. coli virus. The stores are removing packages of “Fresh 93% Lean Ground Beef” from its locations in Florida and the rest of the southeast. This recall falls on the heels of a bigger recall recently announced by the National Beef Company.

If you purchased a package of this type of ground beef from Winn-Dixie, throw it away or return it to the store for a full refund. To determine if the ground beef you bought is part of the recall, look for a UPC with the numbers 20167100000 or 24370700000. The meat was delivered to Winn-Dixie stores July 18 or after.

E. coli is a type of bacteria that lives in animal and human intestines. While most types are harmless, some strains can cause symptoms ranging from mild stomach issues to kidney failure and sometimes even death. Children are more likely to show symptoms of the virus than adults.

Products most susceptible to E. coli contamination include undercooked ground beef, unpasteurized milk and juice, raw fruits and vegetables and soft cheeses.

The E. coli virus can get into food during the harvesting or packaging process. Cross-contamination between people can also occur. According to the Centers for Disease Control, most E. Coli illnesses arise from eating undercooked, contaminated ground beef. When cooking ground beef, you can lower your risk by making sure it is well-done with no pink showing. Meat should be heated to at least 160 degrees.

Product recalls are fairly common, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Last year, consumers were alerted of nearly 2,500 recalls, equating to 6.5 each day. This included food, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and other consumer products, a 14 percent increase compared to the previous year. The increase in recalls may be due to more regulation, improved testing procedures, and the widespread use of social media to alert consumers. Recently, The U.S. Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service launched a Twitter feed to notify consumers about recalls in their state.

You can also get information about food recalls through the Food and Drug Administration’s website. The site also lists recalls for drugs, medical devices, vaccines, cosmetics and animal and veterinary products to name a few. The site can even provide you with alerts of new product recalls through a new mobile phone app.

Manufacturers, distributors, retailers and suppliers can be held liable if their products harm a consumer. Product liability law protects consumers if a company acts negligently in its safety processes or fails to warn people about the dangers associated with a product.

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Every year, hundreds of toys and games are recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission because they are found to be unsafe. How can you ensure that the toys and games your children have are safe, especially now with the myriad of new toys they received during the holidays?

Determining toy safety can be tricky because it is not always evident that a toy can be dangerous. As consumers, we must take a “buyer beware” attitude to purchasing safe toys whether purchased in Jacksonville, online or anywhere in the country.

Even toys that may seem to pose no threat to children may have some hidden risks. For example, many times there are choking hazards that are not obvious to consumers. Just before Christmas 2012, a toy stuffed animal for infants was recalled due to small beads in the center of the toy, which if released, could present a choking hazard to small children. This particular play item is designed to attach to a car seat or stroller, giving the child easy and often unsupervised access to it. More than 45,000 of these defective toys have been recalled because the manufacturer received several reports of the small beads coming loose from the body of the stuffed animal.

Most retailers will remove a defective product from its shelves, but it is still important for consumers to do their own research when purchasing a toy for a child. Even if a toy is age appropriate for the child, inspect it for small parts that can easily be removed. It is also a good idea to check the toy for other hazards, such as sharp edges, cords that could strangle, or exposure to toxic chemicals. Many young children are prone to placing small objects in their mouths and sometimes even their little noses or ears. Parents should supervise their children while playing with new toys to make sure they do not present any risks.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group recently released its 27th Annual Trouble in Toyland report, which reveals a list of hazardous toys still on store shelves.To find out if a toy has been recalled, go Parents.com Recall Finder or the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website.
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Every now and then you hear an alarming story about someone ingesting a foreign object in their restaurant meal. Common items include bones, food packaging materials, glass chips, and broken utensils.

Unfortunately, biting down on a foreign object, or swallowing one, can cause serious personal injury. Our Jacksonville injury attorneys have handled numerous cases where unsuspecting consumers were injured by a restaurant serving food items with a foreign object hidden within.

Injuries include broken teeth, broken dental work, esophageal injury, gastrointestinal bleeding, and digestive complications, to name a few. Sometimes, pursuant to Florida product liability law restaurants can be held strictly liable for injuries a person suffers from consuming a foreign object or for illness from contaminated food.

If this has happened to you, it is important to keep the foreign object and the remaining food product. Inform the store manager and seek medical attention immediately. If your injuries are visible, take a photograph to document the severity.

Written by Elizabeth Allen Continue reading

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An 87-year old man diagnosed with fungal meningitis filed suit in Orange County, Florida, against a Massachusetts drug compounding company for allegedly distributing contaminated steroids. These epidural steroids, used for back pain, are thought to be the source of the national fungal meningitis outbreak, which has affected 285 people. The injectable drug was recalled by the FDA on October 5, 2012.

Fungal meningitis develops when a fungus infects the protective membranes on the spinal cord and brain. According to the Centers for Disease Control, symptoms may include stiff neck, fever, headache, incoherency, nausea, vomiting and light sensitivity.

Eighteen Florida patients contracted fungal meningitis after taking the contaminated steroids, and three of those patients died. There are no reported cases of fungal meningitis in Jacksonville, Florida. However, 16 medical facilities in Northeast Florida received the steroids from the Massachusetts drug company and are undergoing thorough investigations to determine if anyone was administered the steroid. Any clinic administering the contaminated steroid is obligated to inform affected patients.

Companies making defective products available to the public are subject to product liability laws. The lawsuit in Orange County contends that the drug company is guilty of fraud, product liability and product negligence. Product liability and defective product cases are extremely complicated and require a law firm with the experience and resources to thoroughly pursue the claim. The attorneys in Jacksonville at The Lawrence Law Group, P.A., have successfully represented a range of product liability cases.

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Last night, a sport utility vehicle (SUV) crashed on I-10 in Baker County, Florida, killing one occupant. The single car accident happened near Macclenny, which is about thirty minutes west of Jacksonville, Florida.

At least three people were ejected from the Ford Explorer when it overturned. Five people were in the SUV. The cause of the accident and the rollover are being investigated by the Florida Highway Patrol.

Typically, only non-seatbelted people get ejected in rollover accidents. Being ejected often results in the most serious of personal injuries in rollover accidents.

Some years back, there were a flurry of accidents and lawsuits regarding the liklihood of Ford Explorers to roll over. These cases were often matched with complaints about Firestone tires having defects causing the vehicle operator to lose control ultimately resulting in the SUV rolling over. Ford Explorers have since been engineered to be less likely to roll over. The age of the SUV in this accident has not been reported.
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A Ford Expedition carrying nine people lost control, veered off of I-95 and overturned yesterday after the SUV experienced a tire blow out. Four adults and one teenager died in the Flagler County accident. Flagler County is two counties south of Jacksonville’s Duval County.

Two of the nine occupants were wearing seatbelts and several of the passengers were ejected from the vehicle during the crash. In addition to the adults and teenager who perished in this accident, four children suffered personal injuries.

It is unknown if this tragic single car accident resulted from a product defect with the vehicle’s tires, or if the tire was simply worn beyond its safe lifespan. With tire blowout accidents, it is critical that all evidence is sucured and maintained, including the vehicle, the tire, the wheel and any parts of tread that can be found. All of this evidence must be examined by one or more expert witnesses to determine the cause of the vehicle’s crash.

Some years back, there were a number of product liability lawsuits against Ford Motor Company and Firestone Tires for similar accidents with blow-outs. In such claims, the plaintiffs alleged personal injuries and wrongful deaths occured because of manufacturing or design defects in which it was alleged that the Ford SUVs were susceptible to rolling over when Firestone Tires blew out.
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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued an alert for the potential for personal injuries caused by certain foods – guacamole and salsa. Of course, both of these dishes are common in our restaurants in Jacksonville.

Guacamole and salsa have been shown to be linked to salmonella and E. Coli. The biggest problem with these food products come from freshly made dishes instead of processed items. Freshly made products usually do not contain preservatives and stringent production safeguards when being made.

Salmonella and E. Coli are two of the most common food-borne illnesses in the United States. In the last few years we have seen alerts from certain fresh vegetables including spinach and tomatoes. Such illnesses, which can cause personal injuries and wrongful death, can lead to a product liability or negligence case against the manufacturer of the product, the distributor of the product and the restaurant or grocery store selling the product.

Because it is often difficult for the consumer to prove how toxic bacteria or other substances got into food products, Florida law allows for the consumer to bring a “strict liability” defective product case, where all companies involved in the manufacturing, distribution and sale of the product may be liable if the the product was defective an unreasonably dangerous.
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A recreational vehicle (RV) was involved in a single vehicle accident this weekend as it was traveling south on I-95 in St. Johns County when the right front tire blew out. The driver lost control of the RV, which veered off the highway and crashed into several trees. Both the driver and a passenger sufferred personal injuries and the passenger was taken to Shands Jacksonville Medical Center.

Sometimes tires can fail due to excessive wear. Other times blow outs are the result of a manufacturing defect and can lead to a product liability case for personal injuries. Such cases are very expensive as one or more expert witnesses are needed to analyze the tire to determine the cause of its failure.

If you have a tire blowout or vehicle rollover case it is important to hire an attorney with the experience and financial ability to thoroughly pursue your case. It may be important that the attorney you hire be willing to front all costs of expert witnesses, as such expenses can easily exceed $25,000.00.
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Back on June 5, the last day of school, a fifteen year old was driving a Ford Explorer with eight other teens as passengers. As they traveled on I-295 near Pritchard Road in Jacksonville, Florida, a tire blew out and the vehicle flipped over.

All eight of the passengers were ejected from the vehicle. None of them were wearing seatbelts. Tragically, five of those ejected died. The driver was wearing his seatbelt and was not ejected and did not suffer serious personal injuries.

The driver has been charged with eight felony counts of driving without a license in a car crash where people were killed or suffered personal injuries. The mother of one of those killed asked the Judge to allow the driver to be released from jail because she did not blame him, instead she blamed the manufacturer of the blown tire.

Several years ago, there was a lot of news coverage about both tire defects and Ford Explorers resulting in rollover accidents. If the tire was defective, the parents of the injured or killed teens may bring a product liability case against the manufacturer. Such a case will focus on expert analysis of the remnants of the blown tire and efforts to explain what caused it to fail.

Cases such as this are complex and expensive. Expert fees will likely range in excess of $100,000.00. Just because a tire blew does not mean that it was defective. The tire may have been very old and need of replacement prior to the accident or it may have struck an object in the road causing it to separate or blow out.
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Three Florida plaintiffs took on pharmaceutical giant, Hoffman-La Roche, for bowel injuries suffered as a result of their use of the drug Accutane. Each of the plaintiffs alleged that they contracted ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease as a result of using the acne medicine.
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The injured plaintiffs alleged that the drug was a defective product in that the manufacturer failed to adequately warn of the possibility of severe bowel injuries as a side effect of the medication. The jury agreed with the plaintiffs and awarded them $13,000,000.00.

If you have any questions regarding injuries which may have resulted from a defective product, please contact our Jacksonville personal injury attorneys for a free consultation.