Category Archives: Product Defect

Children’s Motrin Suit Ends with $63 Million Payout

Samantha Reckis was 7 years old when she took Children’s Motrin with ibuprofen and suffered through blindness, temporary short-term memory loss, 20% lung capacity, and toxic epidermal necrolysis, a rare but severe side effect that caused the loss of 90% of her skin.

Now at 16, Reckis has been granted $63 million against Johnson & Johnson for the lack of warning on the labels. She had taken Motrin before the incident with little reaction, but on November 23rd, following a fever, symptoms started showing.

Johnson & Johnson debated the claims, alleging that Motrin is “labeled appropriately” and when used as directed is “a safe and effective treatment option for minor aches and pains and fever.”

North Carolina Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Ford

The Supreme Court in North Carolina recently ruled in favor of Ford over its seat belt system product defect in the Taurus.  The court overturned the ruling in the Court of Appeals, which had also reversed the decision of a trial court.  The issue was whether the product modification defense, provided to manufacturers and sells in product liability actions, applies only if the one who modified the product is a party to the litigation.  The current law, protects manufacturers and sellers from liability for injury proximately caused by modification made by someone else to their product without their consent.

In 2003, a wife and husband were driving their children to school.  After making a U-turn the car started to accelerate rapidly.  Both the wife and husband struggled with the steering wheel before the car went up and over a curbed island and slammed into a concrete base of a light pole.  At no point did the wife apply the brakes.  As a result of the incident, all in the car suffered injuries, the kids suffering the worst injuries.  The son had to have emergency life-saving surgery as a result of the injuries he sustained and the daughter suffered injury to her spinal cord.

The plaintiffs claimed that Ford’s seatbelts caused the more serious injuries.  They argued the seat belts did not fit correctly or hold them in place during the crash.  However, the jury concluded that the plaintiffs could not sustain an unreasonable design claim for the seatbelt with regard to Cody, but did so with Cheyenne.  However, because her enhanced injuries were caused by a modification of the car, it relieved Ford of its liability.  The next court, ruled in favor of the plaintiffs stating that the plaintiffs were entitled to a directed verdict on Ford’s affirmative defense under the current law (99B-3).  Finally, the Supreme Court reversed the Appeals court ruling and stated that their ruling was not supported by the text of the statute.

Evos Slalom Glider Recalled

The Evos Slalom Glider playground equipment has been recalled after serious injuries were sustained by various children.  Recently, a couple filed a lawsuit against Landscape Structures, the playground equipment manufacturer, as a result of their daughter breaking her arm on the slalom glider slide.  The plaintiffs claim that the six-foot-high slide lacked a platform on the top and does not have sides or handles, making children fall.

The plaintiffs are seeking $7,500, which is the cost of medical treatment for their daughter’s injuries.  A total of 16 injuries from the slide have been reported.  Consequently, the manufacturing recently issued a recall of the slide and is no longer selling it.

MLB Veteran Umpire Sues Wilson Sporting Goods

Ed Hickox, a Major League Baseball veteran umpire, is suing Wilson Sporting Goods over his umpire mask.  On April 18, 2009 a foul tip struck him hard in the mask, causing a concussion and left ear injury.  He had to sit out the rest of the season, and is now suing Wilson and its parent company.  He claims that Wilson manufactured a faulty mask that “cracked into pieces upon impact and didn’t protect an umpire in the way it is reportedly designed to do.”

However, this is not the first time Hickox is suing Wilson.  Two years ago, he sued and won $775,000 from a similar foul ball incident.  Interestingly, no other suits against manufactures from umpires are known.  Hickox is also suing for mental anguish as he has had several surgeries and ongoing medical expenses.  His wife is also a plaintiff as she has been forced to care and assist her husband in excess of normal amounts.  The amount the two plaintiffs are seeking is undisclosed.  This definitely seems to be an interesting case considering the history of the plaintiff and the difficult task the lawyers have in proving that Wilson was extremely negligent in order to win punitive damages on top of actual damages.

The FDA Expresses Concern over Surgical Mesh

Recently, the FDA ordered manufacturers of surgical mesh to conduct new studies, especially when used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.  This is the first step toward tighter regulation.  Surgical mesh was originally developed in the 1950s to repair hernias; however, doctors later adapted it for other uses.  The FDA has received hundreds of reports of serious complications involving the product.  Some of the manufacturers are now facing lawsuits.  Complications reported include pain, infection and bleeding.  The manufacturers of surgical mesh include: C.R. Bard Inc, Boston Scientific Corp and Johnson & Johnson.

In July, the FDA suggested other procedures than the vaginal mesh for pelvic organ prolapse as it “poses risks.”  This product was never tried on humans before going to market.  One of the problems is that the FDA device-clearance process does not require preclinical tests in patients.  The FDA has proposed requiring tests in patients before a device is approved but has yet to make a final decision.  The consumer group Public Citizen has called for existing pelvic-organ-prolapse mesh products to be recalled.