Articles Posted in Defective Products

Florida product liability laws allow individuals and their families to pursue civil actions to recover damages for injuries they suffered because of a defective product. Product liability claims generally stem from design defects, manufacturing defects, or marketing defects. In these cases, there may be multiple responsible parties. Liability often hinges on the type of defect and the injury the victim suffers. Individuals who pursue these claims must establish that they used the product in the manner that it was intended, and that they followed the product’s directions and contemplated the warnings and risks associated with the product’s use.

In many cases, liable parties will defend against a claim by arguing that they issued a recall, and therefore they should not be responsible for the victim’s injuries. However, a recall does not automatically protect a manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, or retailer. Injury victims should contact an attorney to discuss how to overcome these assertions.

Generally, federal agencies do not recall products; instead, they urge companies to recall dangerous products and make announcements after the company notifies them of a recall. In some cases, companies refuse to recall dangerous products. When that occurs, federal agencies can commence legal proceedings against the company. Typically, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announces medical and food-related recalls, the United States Department of Agriculture and Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announces meat and poultry recalls, and the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) handles consumer product recalls. In some cases, the recall occurs after the company faces a civil lawsuit for injuries related to a defective product. In other situations, the company issues a recall as soon as they discover a defect.

When someone suffers an injury because of a defective product, they may be able to recover damages under Florida’s product liability laws. Product liability lawsuits are claims brought against a manufacturer or seller for putting a defective product into the stream of commerce. In Florida, most product liability claims stem from design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing defects. The majority of these cases encompass the doctrine of strict liability. Although there are many similarities between ordinary negligence clams and strict liability, the difference is critical. Lawsuits involving strict liability claims do not typically require that the plaintiff provide proof of the defendant’s failure to exercise reasonable care. Instead, liability is imposed based on the defendant’s capacity as a manufacturer, retailer, or seller.

Issues often arise when the defendant is an intermediary or sells products from a third-party, such as is the case with Amazon. Historically, Amazon has avoided liability by maintaining its position as a mere conduit between buyers and sellers. The major online marketplace has relied on the Communications Decency Act, which provides legal protections for online entities for content users post on their platforms. However, courts across the United States have started to examine whether this broad-ranging protection is appropriate.

In fact, a state appellate court recently issued a noteworthy opinion in a product liability lawsuit against Amazon. In that case, the plaintiff purchased a computer battery on Amazon, by a seller using a fictitious name on the website. Amazon charged the plaintiff, acquired the battery from one of their warehouses, prepared it for shipment in Amazon packaging, and mailed it to the plaintiff. The plaintiff suffered severe burns when the battery exploded a few months later.

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced additional products to their ever-growing list of recalled hand sanitizers. According to a recent new report, the FDA explained that the majority of the recalled products lacked enough alcohol to adequately kills germs, or the products contained potentially deadly levels of wood alcohol. This information is particularly harrowing as there has been a record number of hand sanitizer sales in Florida because of the COVID-19 pandemic. These defective products can cause serious harm because of their ineffectiveness or exposure to potentially deadly ingredients.

As COVID-19 began to wreak havoc throughout the world, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advised the public to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and frequently wash hands. These measures should help reduce the number of germs that a person carries and transmits. In many cases, individuals use hand sanitizer at higher rates because it is a convenient option. This increased use only heightens the likelihood that individuals may experience the dangers of using these products.

The majority of effective hand sanitizers are comprised of ethyl alcohol; however, the recalled products contain methanol. Methanol is a type of wood alcohol that is regularly used to create pesticides, solvents, and fuel. This alcohol is typically toxic to humans and can be poisonous if consumed. Some products state that their hand sanitizers contain methanol; however, many others are mis-marked as containing ethyl alcohol. This mistake further complicates the recall as many consumers may not know if their product contains the dangerous ingredient.

As COVID-19 continues to spread quickly throughout Florida, the state’s nursing homes have witnessed unprecedented illnesses related to the virus. During this time, many nursing homes have failed to adequately protect their staff and residents from the viruses’ toll. Although some of the spread is uncontrollable, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides regulations and guidance on how these facilities can manage and stop outbreaks. Despite a broad range of immunity that nursing homes and manufacturers of personal protective equipment (PPE) are given during this time, individuals who have suffered because of the negligence of these entities should contact a Florida product liability and nursing home negligence attorney to discuss their rights and remedies.

Recently, a national news source reported on a controversy over inadequate PPE that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sent to nursing homes to battle the COVID-19 crisis. Nursing homes and long-term assisted living facilities were included as benefactors of an effort to provide healthcare workers with PPE. However, when the facilities received the shipments, they were shocked to discover that the boxes included loose gloves in unmarked plastic bags, outdated surgical masks, and gowns without openings. Health officials advised these facilities to refrain from using the equipment as they are unaware of whether they have been compromised.

FEMA responded to the claims and stated that there were only a few shipments with outdated and ineffective equipment. Additionally, they claimed that the gear does meet federal standards but agreed to contact the private contractor and asked them to provide replacements. The PPE problem highlights the many issues that these facilities and their residents are facing with sufficiently managing the health and safety of their residents.

Under Florida law, dentists and dental surgeons may be liable for medical malpractice if their negligence causes disfigurement, damage, or harm to their patients. Individuals who suffer injuries because of their dentist’s negligence must meet specific requirements to recover compensation. Generally, there are four elements to a Florida dental malpractice lawsuit, the duty of care the dentist owed the patient, whether they breached that duty, the injury the victim suffered, and the damages the victim incurred. These lawsuits require a thorough and comprehensive understanding of various substantive and procedural rules, and it is essential to contact an attorney to discuss how to pursue your claim successfully.

The first element of a dental malpractice claim requires the patient or their loved one to prove that the dentist owed them a duty of care. In these cases, the standard duty of care is that of which any other ordinary, prudent, similarly situated dentist would be under. A breach of the standard of care occurs when the dentist fails to meet this standard. However, in some situations, a patient may suffer an unwanted result that was not necessarily due to the dentist’s negligence.

Next, plaintiffs in these cases must be able to establish that there was a causal relationship between their injuries and the dentist’s breach. Essentially, the plaintiff must be able to provide evidence that their injuries would not have occurred but for the dentist’s negligent conduct. Many dental medical malpractice claims stem from failed procedures, erroneous extractions, nerve damage, tooth damage, disfigurement, and exposure to harmful chemicals.

Every year thousands of individuals in Florida suffer serious injuries or death because of a defective product, food, or device. In some cases, manufacturers catch faulty products before they cause serious injuries; however, in the vast majority of cases, defective products are recalled after a significant amount of damage has occurred. Florida product recalls usually happen after a manufacturer or a government agency discovers that the product is inherently or unreasonably dangerous to consumers. Although some manufacturers voluntarily recall their products, some prolong the recall for as long as possible. However, manufacturers who issue recalls are not automatically held liable for the injuries that their product causes. Floridians who suffer injuries because of a defective product should contact an attorney to discuss their rights and remedies in these cases.

Typically, Florida product liability lawsuits are complex and require a thorough and comprehensive understanding of evidentiary and procedural rules. However, at their most basic level, these cases require a plaintiff to establish that the product was defectively designed, manufactured, or lacked appropriate warnings. Then a plaintiff must prove that they used the product as intended, but that the product was the proximate cause of their injuries. Finally, the plaintiff must show that they suffered an actual, compensable loss because of the defective product.

These cases often stem from defective medical devices, car parts, infant products, children’s toys, boats, pool equipment, and recreational vehicles. For example, recently, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall of a recreational off-highway vehicle (ROV). The recall involves certain Honda Pioneer side-by-side vehicles. According to the recall notice, the ROV poses crash and injury hazards because it can move or roll when it is parked. Currently, the company has not received notification that anyone has suffered injuries; however, they received notice that the ROV began moving while parked. They advised consumers to immediately stop using the product and contact an authorized dealer for their next steps.

Individuals who suffer injuries because of a defective or unsafe product may hold the product designer, manufacturer, or distributor liable for their damages. Florida product liability laws cover many industries and products, including pharmaceuticals, nutrition supplements, food products, automotive parts and products, housewares, recreational equipment, infant products, and construction materials and tools. Florida permits product liability plaintiffs to recover for their injuries under three types of claims; negligence, strict liability, and breach of warranty.

Breach of warranty claims arises when a plaintiff argues that the designer or manufacturer breached its express or implied warranty claims regarding their product. Strict liability claims do not require a plaintiff to prove fault, but only that the defective product caused their injuries. Negligence claims, on the other hand, require the plaintiff to establish that they suffered damages because the defendant negligently designed, manufactured, or marketed their products. To recover for their injuries, plaintiffs must be able to prove causation-in-fact and foreseeability. When there are multiple defendants or causes for the plaintiff’s injuries, plaintiffs must also be able to prove that the defendant’s negligence was a “substantial contributing” factor to their injuries.

For example, a Florida appeals court recently issued its opinion in a case stemming from injuries a man suffered after exposure to benzene products during his lengthy career as a carpet and flooring installer. The man filed lawsuits against multiple defendants, arguing that he developed bone marrow and blood diseases because of long term exposure to benzene products. The defendants successfully moved for summary judgment, contending that the man failed to establish which product caused his illness. The man responded that the defendants were relying on the incorrect “but for” standard instead of the appropriate “substantial contributor” standard.

Recently, a national news report described several parents’ accounts of issues they encountered while using a popular, patented baby formula dispenser. Parents across the United States issued complaints to the company after pediatricians discovered that some infants consuming bottles from this machine were failing to gain weight and subsequently diagnosed with “failure to thrive.” Currently, there are more than 100 complaints against the company and various product liability lawsuits. Florida parents and caregivers who believe their child has suffered injuries or illness because of a defective product should contact an experienced Florida injury attorney to discuss your rights and remedies.

This particular product, Baby Brezza, is widely available at various physical and online retailers, and markets itself as the “most advanced” way to mix and create baby formula and water. However, many babies who used the product began to exhibit signs of hunger, including, temperament changes, sleep disturbances, and weight changes. One couple rushed their child to their doctor, where tests revealed that the baby was not consuming enough nutrients and calories. The culprit was the baby formula maker, as it was dispensing incorrect ratios of water to formula, resulting in a watery nutrient-deficient final product.

There are currently two class-action lawsuits against the company, in addition to various individual claims. The company’s marketing team stands by its products and contends that they precisely calibrate their machines to work with thousands of formulas. They further argue that they regularly test their devices, and any issue is likely the result of user error, including failure to maintain the product by cleaning the machine.

When individuals purchase or use products, they naturally expect the product to work as advertised and, if used as directed, not cause the person harm. If someone is injured by a dangerous product, Florida’s product liability laws allow victims to recover for their damages. Under Florida law, manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers of a defective product may all be defendants in a product liability lawsuit.

Generally, there are two main theories that a Florida plaintiff may pursue against a defendant: negligence, and strict liability. Claims often arise from design defects, manufacturing defects, label defects, breach of warranty claims, fraud, and misrepresentation. The negligence theory allows Florida product liability injury victims to recover damages if they establish that they suffered injuries because the defendant was negligent in some aspect of the design, production, or marketing of the defective product. Under a strict liability theory, a Florida injury victim may successfully recover compensation against a culpable party if they can establish that the product caused the plaintiff’s injuries because it was unreasonably dangerous. The law does not require plaintiffs in these cases to prove negligence or carelessness.

Design defect claims allege that the inherent design of a product makes it unsafe for its intended purpose. Manufacturing defect claims arise when an injury victim concedes that the product’s design is safe, but some error in manufacturing occurred that renders the product unsafe. Finally, defective warning claims typically arise when a manufacturer fails to warn consumers and users about the inherent dangers of a device or product.

According to a recent new report, after several tragic deaths, numerous baby product manufacturers recalled their incline infant sleepers. The recalls arose after pediatricians and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) alerted companies to concerns that the sleeper posed serious dangers to infants. Individuals whose loved ones suffered injury or death while using an incline infant sleeper or other baby product may be able to hold various parties liable under Florida’s product liability laws.

Historically, these products have been widely popular among parents who were experiencing issues with their infants sleeping. Manufacturers touted their products alleging that the recline and rocking mechanism helped babies that were suffering from reflux and colic. However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the safest way for a baby to sleep is on their back on a firm, flat sleep surface. Safety experts and doctors began alerting consumers and patients to the dangers of these products after several babies died after rolling over and suffocating. After avoiding warnings and remarketing their products, Fisher-Price finally recalled their products. Following in line were several other companies that sell similar products.

There is likely no sum of money that can compensate a family who has lost a child. However, that fact does not absolve companies from liability, even if they recalled their products. Under Florida law, families may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the company based on personal injuries or wrongful death.

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