Articles Posted in Products Liability

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On March 6, 2012, an woman was driving her four-year-old nephew to a tennis lesson when she was hit by another car. As the woman was waiting to make a left-hand turn, a pickup truck crashed into the back of the car. The gas tank of the Grand Cherokee the woman was driving, which was located behind the rear axle, was punctured as a result of the collision. Soon afterward, gas began to leak, causing the Jeep to catch fire. The woman was able to escape, but tragically she could not save her nephew, who was in the backseat.

Grand CherokeeThe child’s parents filed a lawsuit against Chrysler, alleging that it acted with a reckless or wanton disregard for human life in its design or sale of the Grand Cherokee and breached a duty to warn the public of the danger. The case went to trial, and the jury found in favor of the parents. On appeal, Chrysler argued the court should not have allowed the jury to hear evidence about 17 other rear-end collisions involving Jeeps. In Chrysler Group LLC v. Walden, a Georgia appeals court found the trial court properly allowed the jury to hear the evidence.

To support the claim that Chrysler knew of the danger of the gas tank’s location, the parents submitted evidence of 17 other crashes involving Jeeps in which the Jeeps were rear-ended and gas leaked. In those cases, the fuel tanks were also located behind the rear axle. In those incidents, the Jeep was rear-ended, and fuel escaped from the tank. The parents also presented evidence that Chrysler had notice of those crashes before this tragic crash occurred.

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In a recent case, a woman sued a tire manufacturer after her husband died in a tragic car accident. She alleged that the company was liable based on negligent design and manufacturing, strict liability, and failure to warn, arising from the tire’s tread separation. The parties exchanged discovery, and during that period, the company learned the woman had kept only the “carcass” of the tire from the accident. The issue arose whether the woman should have retained the entire vehicle, and if so, whether she should face any court sanctions for destroying the vehicle.

TireApparently, after the accident had occurred, a service came to transport the wrecked car. The owner of the service later told the woman she was incurring a daily storage fee to keep the car there. The company’s owner offered to sell the car to a salvage yard in exchange for waiving the fee. The car had been totaled, so the woman did not see any reason to keep the car and agreed to allow the owner to sell the car. At the time, the woman’s husband was still alive in critical condition and had told the woman the tire had blown up and caused the accident. Thus, thinking the tire may be a necessary piece of evidence, the woman told the owner to keep the left rear tire. Although the tire itself was saved, the remnants of the detached tread, the other tires, and the wheel on which the tire was mounted were all destroyed.

Because of the woman’s actions, evidence relevant to the lawsuit had been destroyed. As a result, the tire company moved to dismiss the complaint or to bar the woman from presenting evidence to rebut the company’s defense as a sanction for the woman’s conduct. A Georgia court denied the company’s motion and declined to sanction her for her conduct. A Georgia appeals court upheld the decision. The court agreed that it was not reasonably foreseeable for the woman at the time to have known litigation would occur. Thus, her duty to preserve evidence was not triggered, and she was not sanctioned.

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If you are a property owner, you have certain obligations under federal, state and local laws. While these can vary, it is important to know that property owners are obligated to keep their buildings and land safe for those who are visiting or doing business there. If you fail to do this, then innocent people may suffer a personal injury that leaves them with extensive medical bills and other issues. However, while you may be aware of the most common property liability cases, here’s a glance at some additional ones for you to be familiar with. 
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Defective products are made by manufacturers every single day, but most do not end up causing injury to the consumer. Those that do are subject to litigation, but proving a product is defective can be difficult. Our Atlanta accident injury lawyers have some tips for how you can tell if you have a case against a product manufacturer.
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Injuries and other damages can be caused by faulty products, and these defects typically result in a product liability claim. Here are the three main types of defective liability claims that most Atlanta personal injury law cases fall under.

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In mid-May of this year, three kids –ages 5, 6 and 10 fell out of an inflatable bounce house after a gust of wind lifted it 50 feet off of the ground. According to witnesses, they saw the bounce house rise above both the trees and a nearby apartment building due to the small tornado. The 10-year-old girl fell out first. She sustained scrapes and a minor injury to her shoulder. As the inflatable floated higher, the other two children fell out. One boy was dropped onto a parked car and the other landed in the street. Witness Taylor Seymour recalls, “It dropped off the first little kid in the middle of the road, then it came the other way, it passed over my apartment, it dropped the second one, he hit his head on the back of my car and then he fell to the ground.” The boy who landed on the car suffered a serious head injury and the boy landing on the pavement suffered two broken arms, a broken facial bone and jaw and a ruptured spleen. The bounce house floated over a stretch of woods and landed in an athletic field behind a middle school.

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When many people think of frivolous lawsuits, the first thing that comes to mind is hot coffee. More specifically, a lawsuit brought against McDonald’s after a New Mexico woman spilled their coffee on her lap and was subsequently awarded more than 2 million dollars.

Almost twenty years later, its infamy lives on. The hot coffee case is regularly used as an example of how average people have taken advantage of our legal system. Is that a fair assumption, though?

Stella Liebeck, then 79 years old, was in the car with her grandson when she tried to remove the lid from her coffee they had just purchased from the drive-thru to add cream and sugar. When the coffee spilled onto her lap, she was horrifically burned. She suffered 3rd and 4th degree burns (some all the way to the bone) on her thighs and groin. Her burns were so severe that she almost died, and her initial hospitalization was eight days, followed by skin grafts and two years of follow-up treatment.

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A California jury listened intently as DePuy’s own compliance manager told them that the company “took inappropriate steps to identify and eliminate risks in the design of 93,000 all-metal hip implants” that J&J recalled in 2010. Smith, who oversaw a 2011 review of a design team’s safety standards for the ASR hip cup, said his audit found that a DePuy group used irrelevant controls in a so-called failure mode and effect analysis, or FMEA, before the ASR was sold in 2005 in the US.  Moreover, Smith testified that DePuy never released a summary of a “post-mortem review” of the ASR that it conducted in November 2010 and neglected to perform a similar analysis “in response to the mounting number of complaints about the device that it received from doctors and others in 2008 and 2009.”   The McAleer Law firm can review whether you may have a products liability claim that fits in this category and, if so, what your remedies could be.

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This is easier said than done.  Much of the work that goes into preparing a case for trial is getting to know our clients, their families, their friends — what makes them tick?  But this is only half of it.  You also have to get to know the wrongdoer just as well in order to determine their motivation for careless or intentional conduct.  Oftentimes, the wrongdoer is not even visible — it can be and often is a corporate culture of profits over worker or consumer safety.  The Trial Lawyers at McAleer Law work diligently to discovery the real story in a case.

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The CDC says two more people have died, bringing the death total to 23. There are now 285 cases in 16 states.  Of these cases, 284 cases are “peripheral joint infections,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  One of the new deaths occurred in Tennessee and North Carolina had its first death related to the meningitis outbreak.  New cases occurred in Indiana (2)  New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (3), Tennessee (3) and Virginia (3).  Tennessee’s death toll has risen to 9, and state Department of Health officials reported 69 total cases across the state as of Saturday afternoon.

The 76 clinics in 23 states that received methylprednisolone acetate from the three lots recalled by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts, have been instructed to notify all affected patients.  The CDC said the “potentially contaminated injections were given starting May 21.”

If you or a loved one have been harmed by a dangerous and defective product or drug, contact the Atlanta Personal Injury Attorneys at McAleer Law today — Call now 404-816-7374.