Woman Sues Animal Shelter in Unique Product Liability Suit

Posted on Monday, March 4th, 2019 at 9:31 pm    

Product liability suits are not merely constrained to defective home products or dangerously false advertising. A case currently playing out in Iowa may have interesting implications for the legal community as well as animal shelters throughout the country.

In Clinton, Iowa, a woman who adopted a dog from a shelter is now facing serious charges after the dog attacked her friend’s infant, leaving the child with serious facial scarring. The woman was served a citation for owning a dangerous animal.

Ladder falls can create several kinds of liability

Posted on Thursday, April 27th, 2017 at 2:16 pm    

Ladder falls are a very common way that individuals can suffer very serious injuries. However, in many cases where private citizens slip and fall on ladders, determining who may hold legal liability (and more specifically what party may actually be able to pay for damages) can be very difficult. Often, a ladder fall may not qualify as a premises liability suit, and if it does, the suit may be against the estate of an individual, rather than against the individual’s insurer. Of course, each case is different, and it is always wise to consult with an experienced attorney who understands the specific laws of Louisiana before moving forward.

Even if your ladder fall does not qualify as a strong premises liability suit, it is possible that it could qualify as a products liability suit against the manufacturer, distributor or retailer of the ladder. In broad strokes, these kinds of suits rely on some defect in the design or manufacture of the ladder, or insufficient warnings on the ladder itself. You may even be able to challenge whether the ladder manufacturer fully fulfilled its product warranty.

Hits just keep on coming with car air bag recalls

Posted on Friday, February 10th, 2017 at 2:21 pm    

Prior to about 2014, few people knew what a Takata air bag was. Today, nearly everyone probably does and the list of people affected by vehicle recalls because of defects in the car safety devices only continue to grow.

As we noted in a post last October, federal investigators in the United States confirmed at least 11 deaths in this country. Another five occurred in Asia. The latest U.S. fatality was a 50-year-old woman.

The problem with many Takata air bags that are standard equipment in many cars and trucks is that they become unstable over time. Specifically, the explosive chemicals used to inflate the bags in a vehicle crash decay. The result is that the igniters go off with such force that pieces of metal go flying through the cabin of the vehicle with injuries, even deadly consequences.

To date, more than 42 million of the air bags have been put under recall notice. The latest announcement last week added another 3 million to the bunch. It’s estimated that about 70 million U.S. cars are carrying defective equipment.

In addition to the 11 deaths, hundreds of injuries have been recorded in the U.S. Officials are not pleased with the pace at which the recall is going. Members of Congress have labeled the effort “abysmal” and want the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to step up pressure to get things done.

Meanwhile, Takata is reported to be facing a $1 billion fine from the U.S. Several executives have been indicted by a federal grand jury of conspiracy in connection with an alleged cover-up about the product problems, and Takata is said to be on the verge of bankruptcy.

Where that leaves individuals in Louisiana who may be concerned about the safety of their own vehicles? Officials of the outgoing administration in Washington say carmakers are obligated to make good on repairs regardless of what happens with Takata. However, it’s not clear if the new administration will stay that course.

In such an environment, consulting an attorney about one’s options would seem to be advice well taken.

How might a manufacturer defend against a liability claim?

Posted on Thursday, December 29th, 2016 at 2:22 pm    

A product liability claim is a very peculiar kind of liability case, which requires a great deal of preparation and investigation to mount properly. Unlike other types of liability claims, which are often relatively straightforward in establishing the responsibility of the defendant, product liability claims can be fought against in a number of ways by the manufacturer. If you are considering filing a product liability claim, it is useful to understand the ways that a manufacturer may deflect the charges.

The most common defense against a product liability claim is that the plaintiff is responsible for his or her injuries or losses due to misuse of the product. The manufacturer would then further claim that it took appropriate measures to protect against foreseeable dangers, but that the plaintiff used the product in a way that exceeded those foreseeable dangers. For instance, if a consumer were to use shampoo as a substitute for cooking oil, and then claim that the resulting dish made them sick, the company could easily claim that shampoo is not for consumption, and the sickness is therefore not their responsibility.

A manufacturer may also respond to a product liability claim by suggesting that the plaintiff’s dependence on the product or on a warranty associated with the product was too high. This can be much more difficult to demonstrate in court, but is possible. The ways that this can be accomplished are innumerable and must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

If you believe that you may have a legitimate liability claim against a product, you deserve to have the best help you can get in pursuing justice. An experienced attorney can help you examine the elements of your case and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses. With proper guidance, you can rest assured that your claim will be heard fairly and that your rights will remain protected throughout the process.

Source: Findlaw.com, “Legal Basis for Liability in Product Cases,” accessed Dec. 30, 2016

Negligence and reasonableness in product liability claims

Posted on Friday, November 25th, 2016 at 2:23 pm    

When an injury happens as a result of carelessness, the injured party will have the right under the law in most cases to seek financial restitution from the careless, or at-fault party if the carelessness was at the level of “negligence.” Defined as an individual failing to reasonably act in a way that strives to prevent unnecessary harm to others. This notion of negligence extends to many different areas of life, including consumer product manufacturing.

If, for example, a product manufacturer creates a toy for toddlers, and the toy has small parts that can easily break off, then it will endanger toddlers who could break pieces off, put them in their mouths and fatally choke on them. A manufacturer that fails to reasonably design its toys for toddlers in a way that prevents small pieces from breaking off would likely be considered negligent because the manufacturer did not make a reasonable effort to prevent serious injuries from happening to consumers.

The issue of the “reasonableness” of these actions is very important in terms of establishing whether negligence truly occurred. The litmus test for reasonable is to compare the at-fault party’s actions to those actions of the average person. For example, the average person who sees a toy with pieces that could easily break off would be making a reasonable effort to prevent injury if he or she did everything possible to prevent the dangerous toy from getting into the hands of a small child.

If you believe that the manufacturer of a product that injured you or your family member failed to make a reasonable effort to prevent your injuries, then you may have a viable claim for product liability damages. By reaching out to a product liability lawyer in the Louisiana area, you can further evaluate the nature of your potential claim and whether it warrants filing in court. You can find more information on our website.

Liability suits on the way for marijuana industry

Posted on Thursday, November 3rd, 2016 at 2:24 pm    

While almost all eyes are on the Republican and Democratic nominees as the election date draws closer, the effects of other ballot initiatives are also just behind that door, regardless of who wins the highest office in the land. California leads eight other states who feature a vote to legalize the use of marijuana, either medically or recreationally, and with it could finally bring about a most surprising consequence — marijuana product liability suits.

Public opinion on marijuana has seen a huge sea change in recent years. Just a few months ago, Louisiana surprised many of its citizens by legalizing the drug for medicinal use, possibly setting a trend in the traditionally conservative deep south. But, regardless of how legal marijuana may or may not become, it is still a substance that holds innate risks for its users by impairing their faculties.

As formal acceptance of the drug expands, so does formal regulation, and the ability to sue for faulty products. One can only imagine the breadth of variety in these kinds of cases, from side-effect complications and misleading marketing, to unsafe growing practices.

Of particular interest to many speculating on the emerging sector are marijuana-infused edibles, which trade off the dangers any smoke inhalation poses to the lungs for the relatively misunderstood data behind processing the product with the stomach and liver. Furthermore, the regulatory agencies and legislation needed to keep these products safely manufactured and spread knowledge on how to use them safely are still well behind the turning tide of public opinion on general or medical use of marijuana.

It is still to be seen which kinds of product liability suits will have the first swings at this emerging market, but it is only a matter of time before they become a reality. If you have been injured because of a defective product, regardless of the industry that created it, you deserve to be fairly compensated for your suffering and losses. With the assistance of an experienced attorney, you can safely explore your options as you pursue justice.

Source: Bloomberg Business News, “Pot Product Liability Suits Coming,” Julie A. Steinberg, Nov. 02, 2016

Children are not quality control

Posted on Friday, August 7th, 2015 at 2:27 pm    

Every parent knows that nothing is 100 percent child proof. With so many product recalls and safety issues out there right now parents have to be asking themselves what is safe? The truth is, we really don’t know. It’s not completely unheard of to have last year’s most popular toy turn into this year’s most urgent recall.

It is no longer just the explicitly dangerous items we have to watch out for either. Parents need to be aware of a wide range of products that may pose a risk to their children. Of course that’s much easier said than done. With everything from pajamas to baby carriers in question, it is too difficult to keep every danger out of reach. If your child has already suffered an injury because of a product’s design, mislabel or defect, there are a few things to keep in mind. Remember that product liability claims can be made against any entity responsible for creating the product and bringing it to the consumer. This means manufacturers, retailers and everyone in between could potentially be on the hook for a product liability claim.

There are plenty of online resources out there to check into current product recalls or safety issues. The Consumer Product Safety Commission updates recall lists daily and gives users the ability to report dangerous products or complaints online. Likewise a products liability attorney can help explain the steps in filing a claim as well as the process of reporting the injury.

With new products bombarding us every day it’s tough to figure out which ones are safe and which ones are not. To keep your family safe, stay knowledgeable about your rights as a consumer.

Several injured as defective fireworks go astray at show

Posted on Friday, July 17th, 2015 at 2:31 pm    

The Fourth of July holiday is a time for celebrating the freedoms we enjoy in this country and thanking the men and women who make it all possible. Of course, it wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without fireworks. Most people love to set off fireworks to celebrate or go to their town’s local fireworks show to revel in the patriotic atmosphere. For the most part, these shows go off without a hitch, but it’s not uncommon to hear of events where a defective product turns a celebration into a medical emergency.

That’s what happened at the Fourth of July celebration of a small town near Vail, Colorado. Everyone was enjoying the show when, about 17 minutes in, the explosions got a little too close for comfort. A defective firework malfunctioned, exploding on the ground and sending shells into the crowd of 20,000. The burning hot debris flew through the onlookers, causing several injuries. In all, nine people were burned and had to receive medical treatment at the show. Thankfully, all of the burns were relatively minor considering the situation.

Through good fortune, no one was killed or permanently maimed, but many have been over the years. Many fireworks come from China and don’t undergo the scrutiny of as many regulations as you might imagine.

In a case like this, not only could the manufacturer be held financially responsible, the company responsible for the fireworks show could be as well.

The civil courts exist, in part, to help give injured people a way to recover compensation for things like medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of wages and pain and suffering. If you feel a defective product caused an injury, you may want to think about speaking with a Louisiana attorney.

Source: cnn.com, “Nine burned when ‘malfunctioning’ fireworks go into crowd,” Kevin Conlon, July 4, 2015

Officials: eight deaths caused by defective airbags

Posted on Friday, July 3rd, 2015 at 2:32 pm    

When you rent a car from a car rental agency, you have a reasonable expectation that they maintaining the cars with the highest level of safety in mind. This can include getting necessary work done to the engine, installing new tires and responding to recalls for manufacturing defects. Of course, not all rental car companies are as responsible as others and that negligence can sometimes lead to injuries and even death.

That was the case last September when a person was killed by a faulty air bag inflator in a rental car. The death was the eighth such incident related to Tanaka airbags, one of the world’s largest manufacturers. Tanaka has been aware of the issue for some time and issued recalls in the past when it was discovered that the airbags launched projectile shrapnel into the driver’s body and face when it expanded. To date, they have recalled 34 million airbags. That means that roughly out of every seven cars on the road, one has a defective air bag inside.

Investigations may reveal even more injuries and deaths related to the faulty airbags, but to the families of those affected, the knowledge will come too late. They may be asking, “Why wasn’t this taken care of sooner?” and, in this particular case, “Why did the rental car company fail to get the recalled airbags replaced prior to renting the car out?”

Victims of defective products like these should know that they have rights. An attorney may be able to help them fight for compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of wages and pain and suffering.

Source: cbs4indy.com, “Takata airbags at center of major recall linked to 8th death,” June 22, 2015

Ignition defects in G.M. cars responsible for 109 deaths link

Posted on Thursday, June 11th, 2015 at 2:33 pm    

As Americans, there’s an assumption that the cars we drive have been vetted for our safety, both by the manufacturers of the vehicles and the government agencies responsible for such regulation. Sadly, that’s not always the case and that makes an already dangerous endeavor even more perilous.

Take these recent General Motors ignition issues for instance. G.M. released millions of cars to the public that contained switches that would shut off suddenly, killing the engine and rendering the airbags inoperable. Investigations found that the defective part has been responsible for at least 109 deaths. G.M. was forced to pay a fine of $35 million because investigators discovered that the company’s product specialists and engineers knew about the defect. In addition, the country’s biggest automaker may be facing criminal charges for their role in the deaths and countless injuries.

In early June, federal regulators fessed up to their role in the debacle, saying they made mistakes and admitting to the fact that they missed the clues that indicated there was a problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is using the mess to rethink the way they regulate vehicles and police manufacturers in the future.

The lessons learned here come too late for the victims and their families, but it’s a wake-up call for the rest of the nation. We often think of car accidents as the fault of the other driver, but manufacturers can also be held responsible. If an attorney can prove negligence, he or she may be able to get compensation for the victims.

Were you impacted by the recent hurricanes?


721 Kirby Street, Lake Charles, LA 70601