Sunday, June 24, 2018, 12:06 p.m. – Eight year old Moshe (name changed for anonymity) was playing outside of his house. The door to his parents’ 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan, parked in the driveway, was unlocked, so he entered the front seat and began to investigate. He noticed a plastic door underneath the steering wheel. He opened it, and found a bright colored pull-cord, which curiosity then obliged him to pull. He soon realized that he had just shifted the van into neutral, beginning the process of the vehicle’s decent down the somewhat steep driveway. Nervous about getting in trouble, Moshe jumped out of the car and – tragically – ran in front of the vehicle to try and stop it. The 4,330 pound van would proceed to run him over, seriously injuring him. Unbeknownst to Moshe and his parents, Chrysler had recognized that this problem and serious risk existed long ago, and began the process of recalling these vehicles and replacing these cords weeks earlier.
Defective Products Are All Around Us
Moshe’s parents recognized (as did Chrysler) that this pull-cord was unreasonably dangerous, for many reasons. His parents soon joined the long list of clients we have represented who were injured by what are known as “defective products.” Defective products are products that were defectively designed (and therefore all products of the same design are defective); defectively manufactured (the product was designed correctly and safely, but this specific product is defective); or do not properly warn users of the risks when using the product. Manufacturers are obligated to consider and implement designs that minimize risks of their product, so long as it does not eliminate its utility. Failing to do so can require them to compensate a person injured by the defect.
Some defective products cases are more obvious than others. More obvious cases include our client whose heating pad was defectively manufactured, which resulted in her leg getting severely burned and permanently scarred. They also include our client whose hand was severely burned and left with permanent nerve damage from using a hot glue gun. We have also heard one too many stories about fires erupting from defectively designed electronic devices, cables, and equipment, at times resulting in the most traumatic and horrific consequences to cherished members of our community.
But there exist numerous other examples that are less obvious. For example, we represent a severely injured child whose mother was exposed, while she was pregnant with him, to toxic gas fumes leaking into her car from a defective gas line. Our world-renowned experts testified that breathing in these fumes caused her baby’s grievous birth defects.
Other examples involve medical and personal care products. For one, the link between the use of Baby (talc) Powder by women for personal care and the development of ovarian cancer is well-known; so too is the link between Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and the use of pesticides such as Roundup. Also well-known, although rarely publicized, is the use of certain stents – designed for use in the heart – in the arms and legs. These stents are defective because they are not designed to withstand the constant movement that is present in the arms and legs, yet the manufacturers advocate for their use in these other areas of the body. They quickly fail, requiring additional surgeries and often serious additional injury.
As has been stated in various forms in this column, a person injured by a product is not expected to know what appropriate designs could have been implemented to avoid the injury. A simple phone call to an attorney is all that is needed for an investigation to be started into whether a defective product was responsible for the injury.
By: Ari L. Taub, Esq.
Ari Taub is an attorney at Phillips & Paolicelli, LLP, a Manhattan firm specializing in personal injury and malpractice cases. Ari has dedicated his career to representing seriously injured clients, including many from the frum communities in Monsey and Brooklyn. He is a Columbia Law School graduate and is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey. Call him directly at (646) 581-9228 for a free and strictly confidential consultation.