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Taking the fight against Manufacturers of Injurious Children’s Products

Between 1993 and 1998, a particular brand of baby’s crib took the lives of six children, all below 2 years old. The defective design of the crib caused it to collapse on its own, trapping the necks of the children and strangling them.

After the last death in 1998, which involved 16-month-old Daniel “Danny” Keysar, a report surfaced regarding the recall that was issued on the crib way back in 1993. Obviously, the news of this recall never reached the parents of the babies, three of whom died in 1995 and two in 1998; otherwise, the five others would not have died.

The task of regulating the manufacture and sale, as well as the safety of consumer products, including children’s toys and nursery items, falls on the shoulders of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a government agency that was created in 1972. Some of CPSC’s specific tasks include:

determining the allowed size of children’s toys; setting limits for toxicity of, and noise produced by, toys; making sure that toys’ batteries and magnets are inaccessible to children; ensuring the removal of sharp parts and edges which can wound children; requiring manufacturers to display product labels that will warn parents about a toy’s possible dangers; issuing recalls on harmful products; banning of products that can cause danger; and, formulation of product safety requirements.

About 69,000 children in the US are rushed to emergency departments every year due to defective nursery products. In 2014, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission issued recalls on 17 million units of children’s products which included infant carriers, high and hook-on chairs, full-size and non-full-size cribs, portable cribs, infant bathtubs, infant slings, strollers, walkers, play yards, swings, stationary activity centers, and toddler beds, among others.

Also in 2014, a non-profit organization, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), released a report titled, “Trouble in Toyland”; it identified potentially hazardous toys and gave parents tips on how to purchase only safe toys for their children.

Another non-profit organization, the World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.), helps to protect children from harmful toys by sharing valuable information on dangerous children’s products.

When a defective product injures or severely harms anyone, most especially a child, all those involved in the chain of distribution, from the manufacturer to the retailer, can be named as defendants in a civil lawsuit, which is called a product liability lawsuit.

Medical Dangers in Defective Hips

Recent settlements for undisclosed amounts in two product liability cases against Johnson & Johnson for the DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implant represent the tip of the iceberg of what could eventually cost the medical supplies giant billions of dollars. The cases of Robert Ottman filed in California and MacDonald etal filed in New Jersey against DePuy Orthopedics Inc., both scheduled to be heard in court in mid-October had been settled out of court. It is speculated that DePuy owner J&J may shell out as much as $3 billion to the more than 11,000 plaintiffs who have filed individual and consolidated cases for the defective medical device.

The flurry of litigation followed closely upon the August 2010 recall of the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received more than 400 complaints from patients who had received the hip implants. After steadfastly denying that the medical devices were defective despite the fact that 12% of the hip-implant recipients needed revision surgery, an unusually high failure rate, J&J finally recalled the products 18 months after the first lawsuit was filed in June 2010.

Medical dangers associated with the hip implants included metallosis, the subsequent deposit of metal fragments in soft tissue that resulted from the metal-on-mental friction of the implants. These personal injuries resulted from a defect in the product’s design, which could lead to the misalignment or loosening of the components. Infections, bone fractures, necrosis, bone staining, swelling and pain are just a few of the side effects of the device, classifying the cases as product liability cases rather than medical malpractice. Plaintiffs allege that DePuy had known of the defects of the products long before the first complaints were made to the FDA but concealed this knowledge from surgeons and patients.

The recall involved 93,000 implant units, 37,000 of which were in the US. It is anticipated that more cases would be forthcoming. The statute of limitations for product liability cases vary from state to state. Inquire with a lawyer in your state about your legal options if you or a family member has suffered from the hidden medical dangers of your DePuy hip implant.