From defective automobiles to flawed medical devices, 2013 saw many important
developments in the area of product liability law. Below is a brief review:
Key Settlements and Verdicts: Overall, 2013 was a successful year for plaintiffs in several high-profile
lawsuits. Earlier this year, C.R. Bard Inc. was ordered to pay $2 million
for its failure to warn patients about defects in its Avaulta vaginal
mesh products, while Johnson & Johnson is currently appealing an $11.1
million verdict in a New Jersey vaginal mesh lawsuit. More recently, another
unit of J&J agreed to pay more than $2.2 billion to resolve criminal
and civil charges that it improperly marketed the antipsychotic drug Risperdal.
Popular Vehicles Recalled Over Air Bags: Thousands of popular vehicles were recalled in 2013. One of the most
disturbing trends is the number of recalls that involve defective airbags.
Since 2011, faulty airbags have prompted nearly 7.75 million vehicle recalls,
more than the previous eight years combined. 2013 will likely be another
record year, with recalls by Honda, Toyota, and Nissan. In other vehicle
safety news, Toyota Motor Co. also agreed to pay $3 million to settle
one of the first lawsuits involving unintended acceleration to make it to trial.
FDA Medical Device System: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized a new system for
tracking medical devices, which aims to better target product recalls
and improve patient safety. The unique device identification system (UDI)
uses bar codes to detect and track malfunctions with specific devices
and alert the public more quickly. The new device tracking system will
be phased in over the next year, starting with the most high-risk devices.
Risks of High-Powered Magnets: Consumer products increasingly include dangerous high-powered magnets.
Although the products are generally intended for adults, the U.S. Consumer
Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has received numerous reports of children
ingesting the magnets. According to 2013 study by researchers at the University
of Washington in Seattle, the number of magnet ingestions requiring medical
treatment increased from about one child in every 200,000 in 2002 to six
children per 200,000 in 2010. The CPSC is currently in the process of
drafting new safety rules for these dangerous products.
San Diego product liability attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.