March 24, 2011

American Academy of Pediatrics and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Issue New Child Car Seat Guidelines


This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics, with the blessing of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the governmental entity overseeing car safety, amended child safety seat usage and recommended that you keep children in a rear-facing car seat until 2 years old. This is based on research that children are better protected in accidents in a rear facing child seat. If your child grows out of their rear facing child seat before they reach the age of 2, it is recommended you buy a convertible seat that will allow you to keep them rear facing until 2 years old, and then switch it to forward facing. According to the NHTSA “the rear-facing position reduces stresses to the neck and spinal cord and is particularly important for growing babies.”
The NHTSA also recommends that you keep your child in a car safety seat as long as possible. If your child fits in the car seat and is within the height and weight limits indicated by the manufacturer of the seat, it is safer for them to be traveling in the car safety seat. It is also recommended that as your child reaches the ages of 8-12, you should switch them to a booster seat which will allow the lap/shoulder belt of the car to fit them better. Until the lap belt lies snugly across the upper thighs of your child, not on their stomach; and the shoulder belt lie snug across your child’s shoulder and chest and not across their neck and face, you should keep your older child in a booster seat which will permit proper placement of these belts.
These are your children we are talking about and they completely rely on you to do what you can to keep them safe. Following these general guidelines regarding children riding in cars, can only help to keep them as safe as possible should an unfortunate event like an accident occur. Review and become familiar with the car seat recommendations….they help save lives.

Related Topics: Child Car Seats, Consumer Products, Other Products
January 17, 2011

Another Johnson & Johnson Recall—-When Will It End???

Late last Friday, Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit issued a voluntary recall of certain lots of Tylenol (8 Hour, Arthritis Pain & Upper Respiratory Products), Benadryl, Sudafed PE and Sinutab distributed in the United States. The lots in question were manufactured at a plant in Fort Washington, PA before April 2010 when McNeil suspended production at this facility. Production was stopped because equipment cleaning procedures were insufficient or not adequately documented.

A recall is also being issued for certain lots of Rolaids Multi-Symptom Berry Tablets because it was not labeled properly. McNeil claims that consumers don’t need to do anything with the medication they have and that the recall is only at the wholesale level, that is from the stores and suppliers. I find it interesting that they are not having consumers do anything if they have the affected lots given concerns over equipment not being cleaned properly. Even Consumer Reports indicates that given all the different choices, if you have the medication in your cabinet, its best not to risk it.
This comes on the heels of the New York Times reporting that the State of Oregon is suing Johnson & Johnson and the McNeil group for a “phantom recall” where McNeil hired outside contractors to buy back Motrin from the shelves in 2009 because of a problem with the pills not dissolving properly and never alerted the public to the “recall”. Further, just last week, the FDA announced that acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) is being overused and too much of it cause liver damage. It is expected that this announcement will lead to decreased usage of Tylenol.
Some weeks things just don’t go your way.

Related Topics: Recalls
June 25, 2010

2 Million Cribs Are Recalled Due to Concerns of Entrapment and Suffocation

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that 7 crib manufacturers have voluntarily agreed to the recall of more than 2 million cribs whose drop sides create hazard concerns of entrapment, suffocation and falls. The recall involves cribs manufactured between 2000 and 2009 and include the following manufacturers: Child Craft (out of business), Delta Enterprise, Evenflo, Jardine Enterprises, LaJobi, Million Dollar Baby and Simmons Juvenile Products. The companies will be providing free repair kits to all owners to keep the drop side from moving. As Consumer Reports indicated “the CPSC’s emphatic message to parents: Do not attempt to fix these cribs with homemade remedies.”

The CPSC has indicated it is continuing to investigate cribs for other hazards as well in order to make the market free from unsafe cribs. The CPSC has indicated that it “is committed to addressing the hazards with cribs and to restoring parents’ confidence that their child will have a safe sleep”. It is also important to note that if your drop side crib is already broken, the new hardware being provided by the manufacturers for this recall will not help and/or fix the problem. If that is the case, you need to contact the manufacturer and talk to them about an alternative remedy. Also, to obtain information about the remedy, you need to contact the individual manufacturer. To figure out how to do that, go to the CPSC site and it will provide you a link to the contact information for your manufacturer.
This is an important recall. Children are our most precious possession and we must do all possible to insure their safety.

Related Topics: Recalls
April 21, 2010

Consumer Reports Addresses Recall of Lexus GX and Value of Electronic Stability Control in Cars

Toyota has seen its share of problems as of recent. Unintended acceleration, severe fines, recalls, and now the recall of the brand new 2010 Lexus GX 460 as a result some testing performed by Consumer Reports which resulted in it indicating it was a “Don’t Buy: Safety Risk.” This recall involves almost 10,000 brand new vehicles. Consumer Reports notified Toyota that during its testing of the vehicle in its standard emergency-handling tests, the rear of the vehicle slid out to the point it was almost sideways before the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system kicked in to try and bring the vehicle under control. Which raises the questions: what is ESC, what is it suppose to do, and does it have real value.

Consumer Reports, as a result of the problems it found with the Lexus GX, recently published a blog post providing the “101″ of what ESC is all about and why its so important to have it on a vehicle. Basically, if you are in a situation where you are losing control of the vehicle, the vehicle and its on board computer senses this and through use of selective braking it helps to bring your car back under control. It has been found to be especially useful during situations of accident avoidance or in slippery conditions like wet roads and ice. Various studies have estimated that ESC can reduce the risk of fatal single vehicle accidents by 51%. Specifically as to SUV’s which have an increased potential of rollovers due to loss of control, it is estimated that ESC can reduce SUV single vehicle accidents by almost 60%. Consumer Reports, as well as others have indicated that this is the most significant advancement in vehicle safety since the seat belt. In fact the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHTSA) which regulates the automotive industry has mandated that by 2012, all vehicles sold in the U.S. must have ESC as a standard feature.
Over the past year I have been handling an automotive products liability case in which one of the claims of defect is that the manufacturer should have provided ESC on the vehicle in question as standard equipment and not optional. In the accident at issue, it is claimed that with ESC, the accident would not have happened and the front seat passenger would not have died. Bottom line this is a significant advancement in vehicle safety which will assist many people in avoiding accidents in the future. If you are in the market for a vehicle, ask about its availability. It should be one of the top things you look for as being included in any new vehicle you are buying. Bottom line, its a must have!

Related Topics: Electronic Stability Control
April 8, 2010

Chinese Drywall Update: Consumer Products Safety Commission Says Gut the Homes & Federal Judge Awards Families $2.6 Million

Some good news this week for those living in anguish with their homes constructed out of Chinese Drywall. First, both HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) and CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) issued guidance regarding the method owners of these homes should undertake to rid themselves of the hazards of Chinese Drywall. The corrosion that is occurring to appliances and electrical outlets in these homes is being caused by hydrogen sulfide in the drywall. The hydrogen sulfide emitted from the Chinese Drywall is 100 times greater than drywall made elsewhere. The CPSC is still looking into whether there are long term health and safety issues caused by the Chinese Drywall.
With regard to fixing houses with Chinese Drywall, all possible drywall must be removed from the home and all electrical components and wiring, gas service piping, fire suppression sprinkler systems, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms must be replaced. For a more extensive discussion of the recommendations for remediation of these homes, see here.
As discussed in the Consumer Reports Safety Blog, what’s left to be determined is how this extensive work will be paid for. This leads to the next story which happened only today. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a federal judge in New Orleans awarded 7 families in Virginia with Chinese Drywall $2.6 million to pay for removal of the Chinese Drywall in their homes. Its a start. Problem is the defendant is a Chinese company which has not responded to lawsuits. Therefore, there will clearly be a problem collecting on this judgment. No doubt though this is a step in the right direction and a beginning to the anguish and heartache the affected consumers have had to deal with.

Related Topics: Drywall
March 22, 2010

So Where Have I Been??? Also, New Warnings Issued by FDA for Zocor

Its been a long while since I’ve posted….not good. Reality is my day to day work has taken on a life of its in own. I have several significant products liability cases in their last phases before trial and been focusing all my time and energies to that endeavor. Although still in the depths of preparation for these cases, I will do what I can to bring you information of importance relating to pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, auto problems and consumer product issues.

I also write on a day where a significant event in our countries history has occurred…the passing of the Healthcare Plan. In concept, I have always had a strong belief that health care and keeping our citizens healthy should be a main priority of our government. The insurance companies have been abusing the system…and us for so many years we have gotten use to it. Many of us just feel lucky for what our employers provide, even though today most employers require at least some employee contribution to the premium they must pay for the individual’s insurance. I recall when I first started working as a young lawyer just out of law school, not only could you expect to receive rock solid medical insurance coverage from your law firm, but you would never be asked to contribute toward its cost. In the 1990s, as insurance premiums soared for employers, everything changed. More and more employers required employees to contribute to the premium and not only that, but provided less and less coverage. We would complain, be upset at our employers, but our frustration was misplaced. It is the insurance companies and their continued efforts to put more zeros in their bottom line combined with the every increasing cost of medical care that was killing the system. When i hear “opponents” to this Healthcare Plan, they spout that healthcare is not a right, it is a privilege and if you want it, go out and get a job that provides it. Not only is this such a ludicrous statement given the state of the economy and job losses, but don’t forget, we are all only one step away from being on the employment line…or worse, homeless. All it takes is some catastrophic event in our lives, to set the wheels spinning.
What passed yesterday is far from perfect. Although I have been strongly in favor of a significant overhaul to the health care system, I was not convinced, with all the political favors latched on to the bill, that this is the right way to go. But as I thought more and more about it, I realized we have to start somewhere. Sure, there will be fixes and changes along the way, but something significant needed to happen to get us moving in the right direction….and yesterday it did. Wiping out the “donut hole” in medicare prescription plans, no more denial of insurance because you are “too risky”, your kids can stay on your plan till they are 26 and are strongly on their way to creating their own life. Republicans refused to negotiate, to deal, to talk, even though much of this plan came from Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan, and plans talked about in the early 90′s by conservative think tanks. It was more about the politics, then what was good for Americans. Not to say many of the Democrats are without blame…..but there were doors open for negotiation, and the Republican leadership continually slammed them shut. Not to belabor the politics of it all, but take a gander at this “day after” commentary from David Frum, conservative political writer and former Bush speech writer. He concludes his commentary by saying “For the cause they purport to represent, however, the “Waterloo” threatened by GOP Sen. Jim DeMint last year regarding Obama and health care has finally arrived. Only it turns out to be our own.” ….Interesting comment.
Finally, and not least important, late last week the FDA issued warnings regarding the anti-cholesterol drug Zocor (simvastatin). There is concern that those taking the highest dose (80mg) are at an increased risk for muscle injury (myopathy). Although this is a concern with regard to all statin/anti-cholesterol drugs (which became of significance several years back with the recall of the statin drug Baycol which caused myopathy and in its worse and potentially deadly form, rhabdomyolysis), people taking Zocor at the 80 mg strength have a greater risk of developing muscle injury then other patients. This also goes for drugs which include Zocor as part of the medication, such as Vytorin and Simcor. The FDA is continuing to review studies on the drug to see if more action is necessary. As a consumer, if you are taking this medication and are having muscle aches and pains, especially in the legs, you should consult your physician immediately.
So there you go. I am back. Can’t make promises, because don’t want to disappoint, but hopefully I will continue to post on a regular weekly basis. Let me know your thoughts and comments about anything I discussed in this post or any other issues. Until next time….be careful out there.

Related Topics: About Me, Drugs
December 15, 2009

Recalls of the Week

Yes, holiday times are here. Everyone rushing around buying gifts, going to parties, hanging out with friends and family. Its a time you want to sit back and sort of breath a little. Alas, my work schedule does not allow me. Hope all of you are enjoying this crazy, hectic and in some many ways beautiful time of year. So for the Recalls of the Week, here we go:
1. All Roman Shades : This one is hot off the presses today. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today a voluntary recall of ALL Roman shades and roll-up blinds…yes that is correct, ALL….to prevent strangulation issues to young children. Over the past several months, certain specific shades have been recalled for this reason, but this time, it is across the board with no exceptions. It is reported that this recall involves millions of Roman and roll-up shades. Since 2006, the CPSC has received reports of 5 deaths and 16 near strangulation with Roman Shades and 3 deaths since 2001 for roll-up blinds. If you have these shades in your home, you need to contact the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) at www.windowcoverings.org or by calling 800-506-4636 and you will be sent a free repair kit. It is an issue with the cords used with these blinds. For more information regarding this recall and for instructions on what to do until you receive the repair kit, see here. roman%20shades%202.jpg
2. Sylvania Portable Nightlights: About 26,000 LED Rocketship PalPODzzz Portable Nightlights manufactured by Sylvania are being recalled due to the bottom plastic cover on the recharging base can break, which can expose internal electrical parts posing risk of shock to consumers. The recall involved model number 72174. The nightlight is shaped like a rocket and sits on a plastic base that plugs into the wall. The nightlights were sold at Home Depot, Stop and Shop and at other retailers and online at Amazon.com and other websites. You should immediately stop using the light and contact Sylvania for a free replacement and a $5 coupon to by other Sylvania products. For more information, see here.
3. Evenflo ExerSaucer 1-2-3 Tea for Me Activity Learning Centers: This recall involves activity learning centers for young children. About 66,000 of these have been sold in the U.S. at Toys “R” Us and other juvenile product stores between December 2008 and March 2009. There is a cake toy that is part of the Learning Center and the candle flame attached at the top can detach and create a choking hazard for small children. The two-tier cake is light blue, dark pink and yellow. Models included in the recall are 6161834 and 6161920. The model numbers are on a label located on the underside of the base of the product. You should immediately remove the cake toy from the product and contact Evenflo for a free replacement. For more information, see here.
4. Amby Baby Motion Beds: These “beds”, which essentially are a steel frame and a fabric hammock which is connected to the frame by a large spring and crossbar, are meant to lay infants down to sleep. However, the side-to-side shifting of the hammock can cause an infant to roll and became entrapped in the fabric, creating a potential for suffocation. The manufacturer, Amby Baby, is aware of 2 suffocation deaths in the hammock. There is only one model of the hammock. It was sold by online retailers, including Ambybaby.com between 2003 and October 2009. If you have one of these hammocks, stop using it immediately and contact Amby Baby for a free repair kit. In the meantime, find another place for your child to sleep. For more information, see here.
That’s all for this week. Please, with the holidays and all the rushing around, remember this is all about family and spending time with the ones you love and care about. As always, be careful out there.

Related Topics: Consumer Products, Recalls, Recalls of the Week
November 19, 2009

Wall Street Journal Reports FDA Issues Warning that Prilosec and Nexium Can Interfere with Plavix

The Wall Street Journal reports that the FDA warned doctors earlier this week that they should tell their patients taking the anti-clotting drug Plavix not to take popular heartburn drugs like Prilosec and Nexium because they may lessen the effects of Plavix. This may be problematic since about half of the patients taking Plavix also take Nexium, Prilosec and other similar medications to prevent stomach bleeding and ulcers which are common side effects of taking Plavix. The alternatives which at this time don’t appear to have any effect on the anti-clotting properties of Plavix are heartburn drugs like Zantac, Axid and Pepcid and older formulations like Mylanta or Maalox, which work differently than Nexium and Prilosec.
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A previous study indicated that if you took heartburn drugs like Nexium and Prilosec with Plavix, the risk of heart attack and stroke increased by 50%. For a specific description of the FDA’s position, see the FDA’s press release issued on November 18th.

Related Topics: Drugs, Nexium, Plavix, Prilosec
November 13, 2009

Recalls of the Week

Time boys and girls for the update on Recalls of the Week. These are some of the most significant recalls which have occurred over the past week. You are welcome to contact me by calling or using the “contact” form here if you have any thoughts or questions on any of these recalls.
1. Maclaren Strollers: This is the big one for the week and the one that has been all over the news. Approximately one million strollers distributed in the U.S. by Maclaren are being recalled because the stroller’s hinge mechanism can cause fingertip amputation and laceration to the child when the consumer is opening the stroller. Maclaren has received 15 reports of children putting their fingers in the hinge mechanism which has resulted in 12…yes 12 fingertip amputation of small children. Not much of a shock, these strollers were made in China. They have been sold at Babies “R” Us, Target and other retailers between 1999 and November 2009 (yup, 10 years this unsafe product has been on the market). The recall involves all “umbrella” strollers, single and double, with the name “Maclaren” on the stroller. If you have one of these strollers, stop using it immediately and contact Maclaren at 1-877-688-2326 to receive a free repair kit. For more information and photos of the type of strollers involved, see here. Consumer Reports has a good suggestion for anyone using any type of stroller with children. Make sure to keep your child far away while you are folding and unfolding the stroller and make sure it is fully opened and engaged before putting your child in the stroller (and buckled up too). 548741_a_dogs_life.jpg
2. Samsung Over-The-Range Microwave Ovens: Approximately 43,000 Samsung Over-the-Range Microwave Ovens are being recalled due to an installation bolt potentially contacting an electrical component inside the microwave and if the oven is plugged into an ungrounded outlet, it could cause a shock. This involves the 1000 watt microwave ovens. For the model and serial numbers involved see here. These microwaves were sold nationwide between January 2009 and July 2009. If you have one of these microwaves, unplug it immediately and contact Samsung at 888-402-6974 to schedule a free repair.
3. Adventure Playsets Wooden Playset: These playsets are being recalled because the plastic coated lumber that is on the “monkey bar” can weaken over time as a result of rotting and lead to a fall hazard. Adventure Playsets, which have been sold at Walmart, Toys “R” Us, Academy Sports, Menards and Mill stores as well as on line, has received over 1400 reports of rotting ladders and there have been 16 injuries reported. You should immediately stop your children from using the Playset and call Adventure Playsets at 877-840-9068 to obtain ad replacement kit. For a further description of the model sets involved in this recall, see here.
That’s all that is going on presently. Again, if you have any questions about these recalls, or any other recalls, you can contact me toll free at 1-866-977-4529 or through the “contact” form on this page. Until next time, be careful out there.

Related Topics: Consumer Products, Recalls of the Week
November 4, 2009

American Bar Association’s Magazine Runs Article Addressing Running a Solo Practice Featuing Yours Truly

Well, time to toot my own horn. The most recent November 2009 edition of the American Bar Association’s Magazine, the ABA Journal, included a feature article entitled “So You Want To Go Solo? You Sure?” which included an interview (and yes a picture) of me regarding how I have incorporated social media, and specifically this blog, into my work as a solo practitioner. I am honored to have been approached and interviewed for this article published in one of the most widely read publications by lawyers throughout the country.
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I would also like to thank Susan Cartier Liebel, founder of Solo Practice University who recommended me for this interview. Susan approached me several months after I started my own practice and asked if I’d be willing to teach a course at Solo Practice University on Products Liability. Given Susan’s enthusiasm and cutting edge concept about how to assist solo practitioners in developing and growing their practice, I could give no other answer but yes. I started teaching my internet based classes earlier this year and it has been a great thrill and honor to be part of the start of a such a valuable, timely and much needed tool for the enterprising lawyer looking to start a solo or small firm.
Putting myself out into the social media world of Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and my blog has allowed me to interact with individuals throughout the country and the world on issues related to products liability and helping the injured victims exposed to defective products. I highly recommend all lawyers, of both big and small firms, to venture into the world of social media. The contacts and interesting people you meet, some of whom you actually help, is invaluable to any practice.

Related Topics: About Me, Solo Practice University