Articles Posted in Defective Products

Recently, Consumer Reports (CR), a nonprofit organization that provides research and reviews to improve products, issued a report that Ikea, a popular furniture retailer, is facing a class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that the company advertised and sold millions of dressers that they knew were inherently dangerous and prone to tipping over. Further, the complaint states that the retailer did not appropriately notify consumers or issue refunds for the dresser after they were recalled in 2016. The class-action lawsuit highlights the serious dangers and injuries that Massachusetts consumers may face because of defective products.

Statistics by CR indicate that someone in the United States suffers injuries less than every half hour because of an appliance or furniture tip-over. Further, dresser tip-overs account for over 200 deaths in the past twenty years. Many of these victims were under six-years-old. The above-referenced lawsuit was filed on behalf of a family who purchased the dressers before the recall. When the family tried to return the dressers in 2018, the store denied their attempt. The lawsuit claims that other families experienced similar denials. The class-action lawsuit seeks to redress consumers who purchased defective dressers and compel the retailer to remove the dressers from the homes of customers. Several consumer protection groups wrote to Ikea, stating that they did not do enough to notify parents about their dressers’ risks or make it easy to return or remedy defective products.

Many consumers are not aware that the furniture industry operates under a “voluntary tip-over” testing standard. The testing evaluates whether a dresser that measures higher than 30 inches can stay upright with 50 pounds hanging from an open drawer. However, because testing is not mandatory, manufacturers are not required to conduct the test or meet that standard. Research into these accidents reveals that close to half of these accidents occur when children are left alone in a room. CR advises that consumers refrain from putting televisions on top of dressers, citing reports that the majority of tip-over fatalities involved televisions and dressers tipping over. The most effective way to prevent these accidents is to secure dressers to the wall. However, this is not always possible for consumers, and manufacturers should provide the public with safer products and a way to affix dressers to walls.

Defective products can result in serious injuries and death, and Massachusetts injury victims should understand their rights and remedies in these situations. Massachusetts encourages companies to act responsibly in the design, manufacturer, and distribution of their products by providing safety standards. If a person is injured because of a defective product, the victim or their family may hold the maker or seller of the product liable for their damages.

Under state law, there are three types of Massachusetts product liability claims: negligence, breach of warranty, and unfair and deceptive practices. Negligence claims require the victim to establish that the manufacturer breached a duty of care owed to its customers by acting unreasonably regarding their defective product. Plaintiffs pursuing a breach of warranty claim must prove that the product is not fit for the ordinary purpose for which the product is generally used. Finally, under the state’s unfair and deceptive practices law, plaintiffs may recover attorneys’ fees and additional damages if they can establish that the manufacturer acted in bad faith.

Typically, product liability claims stem from a product’s defective design, defective manufacture, or a company’s failure to warn or appropriately market the item. For example, recently, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service announced that Nestle Prepared Foods Company is recalling nearly 30,000 pounds of a chicken product found in Lean Cuisine Fettuccini Alfredo. The product does not provide a warning that the meal contains soy, a common allergen. Additionally, the product contains chicken; however, the meal is not supposed to contain meat, and does not list chicken as an ingredient.

Over the past few years, thousands of product liability cases have been filed against consumer product giant, Johnson & Johnson, based on the company’s baby powder and other talc-based products. Those in Massachusetts who have been affected by Johnson & Johnson baby powder may be able to recover compensation for any injury or illness they suffered as a result of using Johnson & Johnson baby powder through a Massachusetts product liability lawsuit.

According to a recent article by the New York Times, Johnson & Johnson currently faces upwards of 16,000 lawsuits. The plaintiffs in these cases suffered serious illness from using the company’s talc-based baby powder, including lung disease, ovarian cancer, and mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the lining of internal organs that is most often associated with asbestos exposure.

Recently, in an interesting development in the baby-powder litigation, the State of New Mexico filed a claim against Johnson & Johnson claiming that the company misled consumers about the safety of the company’s baby powder. In his complaint against Johnson & Johnson, the Attorney General of New Mexico states that the company continued to market and sell the baby powder for decades, all while knowing the safety risks the product posed. What makes the New Mexico case especially interesting is that it alleges for the first time that the company specifically targeted children and black and Hispanic women.

Food product manufacturers have an obligation to make sure that the items they sell are reasonably safe for public consumption. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. If you or a loved one has been injured due to an unsafe or contaminated food product, you need to reach out to a diligent and reputable Massachusetts products liability attorney who can help. At The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates P.C. , we are dedicated to holding negligent food manufacturers accountable for the harm that they cause.

Last month, a popular cereal was recalled after people got sick by salmonella. Kelloggs issued a recall for Honey Smacks cereal in 31 states because the popular breakfast food was linked to a salmonella outbreak that caused more than 70 people to get sick, including five in Massachusetts, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Of the 73 people infected with the outbreak strain, 24 were hospitalized. Even if some of the cereal was eaten and no sickness developed, the CDC warns that the rest of the cereal should be thrown away or returned for a refund. In addition, if you store cereal in unmarked containers, any Honey Smacks cereal it should be discarded immediately.

Salmonella is a dangerous type of bacteria present in food items that are not properly handled. Consuming products contaminated with salmonella can result in serious illness. In fact, salmonella can sometimes produce fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy people infected with salmonella can suffer fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, chills and abdominal pain.

Continue reading

Contact Information