Articles Posted in Product Liability

A jury in Kitsap County Superior court is deciding the outcome of a lawsuit, Estate of Fred. E. Taylor v. Intuitive Surgical Inc., filed by the widow of Fred Taylor who was seriously injured during robot-assisted prostate surgery performed using a da Vinci robotic system made by Intuitive. The jury heard five weeks of testimony before going into deliberations yesterday.

Taylor’s estate seeks $8.45M in damages from Intuitive Surgical Inc.

Taylor, who was 67 years old at the time of his surgery, suffered serious injuries during the robot-assisted surgery. His urologist, Dr. Scott Bildsten, was using the da Vinci robotic system unassisted for the first time since training when Taylor was injured. His injuries included a torn rectum, kidney and lung damages, memory loss, incontinence and a stroke. He lived for four years after the surgery but was unable to return to his normal life.

Previously, Bildsten had performed 100 prostatectomies using conventional surgery before Taylor’s botched surgery.

Taylor’s estate has already settled a medical malpractice case with the surgeon and hospital. The estate filed this lawsuit claiming that Intuitive was negligent in 10 different ways including misleading surgeons into thinking that surgery using a robot was easy and required but a day of training and providing inadequate training.

This is the first case of 26 lawsuits against Intuitive to go to trial and the outcome of the case is being closely scrutinized.

Robotic Surgery

There are approximately 400,000 robot-assisted surgery performed every year and the FDA is correspondingly receiving adverse event reports as there are more robot-aided surgeries before. Since 2012, there have been 500 adverse event reports including the deaths of five patients and reports of several patients suffering serious injuries.

A robotic surgery machine is a costly investment for a hospital. With a price tag of almost $1.5M and maintenance service agreements of $100K annually, there is an incentive for hospitals and surgeons to use the devices to recoup costs.
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seattle depuy hip recall lawyerThe first case involving the recalled DePuy ASR XL Acetabular and Hip Resurfacing Systems hip implant is now in the hands of the Los Angeles jury deliberating the case or a 65-year-old prison guard who says he was injured because of the defective design of the hip implants.

The Los Angeles case is the first of 10,000 hip implant lawsuits against the DePuy division of Johnson & Johnson to go to trial.

In 2010, approximately 93,000 of the DePuy hip implant devices were recalled after they had a higher than expected failure rate.

In closing arguments, the plaintiff’s attorney said that DePuy ignored data that the hip implants were failing and the complaints of surgeons.

The plaintiff in the case, Loren Kransky, is a former Montana prison guard who says he suffered from metallosis – metal poisoning – and other symptoms after he was implanted with the defective device.

Kransky’s attorneys are seeking $179 million in punitive damages and $5 million for pain and suffering.


The metal-on-metal design of the hip implant may cause shedding or cobalt and chromium ions. Some studies suggest that cobalt and chromium in the blood may lead to cancer and also contribute to heart disease. Both cobalt and chromium were used in the design of the DePuy hip implants.

One study published in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery found that two patients suffered cardiac and neurological symptoms because metallosis. Patients were advised to have their blood tested for the presence of the metals.

If you or a loved one has been implanted with a metal-on-metal hip implant, you should talk to your doctor if you have symptoms or concerns about your hip implant. If you require a revision surgery or have complications due to the hip implant, you may wish to consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable about the DePuy hip implant recall.

Herbert Farber, founder of The Farber Law Group, has made it his mission to keep abreast in developments in the DePuy hip implant cases. As a hip implant patient himself, he is cognisant of the pain and suffering caused by a faulty hip implant.
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Products sold in Washington stores are being affected by two recalls.

Bread Recall

Fred Meyer and QFC stores in Washington state are recalling several bread products with a sell-by-date of March 8 after customers reported finding plastic pieces in the bread that they have purchased. The bread was made in Kroger’s bakery in Clackamas, Oregon. The recalled breads are:

seattle food poisoning lawyerQFC Tender Twist Wheat Bread, 20 oz Kroger Value Wheat Bread, 22.5 oz Fred Meyer Tender Twist 100% Whole Wheat Bread, 24 oz Fred Meyer Tender Twist Honey Cracked Wheat Bread, 24 oz Fred Meyer Tender Twist Wheat Bread, 22.5 oz
While no reports of injury have been lodged, swallowing plastic could potentially damage the

Raw Milk Products Recall

Milk products from the Dungeness Valley Creamery with best-by dates of March 2 or later have been recalled due to potential e-coli contamination. Raw milk products including Jersey cream, raw Jersey whole milk or raw Jersey skim milk from the dairy should not be consumed because of the risk of illness.

The e-coli was found when the Department of Agriculture tested some raw cream at the Sequim processing facility. There are no reports of illness due the product.

e-coli illness lawyerDungeness Valley Creamery distributes the milk products in Seattle at Madison Market; My Asia’s Essentials and Pike Place Market Creamery. On Bainbridge Island, the products are distributed at Real Foods; Pan D’Amore; and Walt’s Lynwood Center Market. In Bothell, the products are distributed at Tru Health. In Federal Way and Tacoma, the products are distributed at Marlene’s Market & Deli.

Pregnant women, children and people with compromised immune systems including the elderly are at risk for serious illness due to food contamination. According to government estimates, there are approximately 47.8 million food-borne illnesses annually with more than 127 thousand people requiring hospitalization and approximately 3,037 succumbing to the illness or related cause.

The most common symptoms of e-coli illness is diarrhea and stomach cramps. In rare cases, e-coli can cause severe or bloody diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and even death.
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a Class I recall for Depuy Orthopaedics, Inc. LPS Diasphyseal Sleeve, a device used in reconstructive knee surgeries. Depuy is the orthopedics product division of Johnson & Johnson.

Class I recalls are the most serious type of recall and it issued for defective or dangerous consumer products which could cause serious health effects or even death.

The FDA issued the recall after it received reports the device failing in 10 patients. In six of the reported cases, patients suffered a fracture and in four of the patients, there was loosening of the device.

According to the FDA, the connection between the Diaphyseal Sleeve to Diaphyseal Base taper may not be strong enough to bear loads when people are walking. In some cases, the sleeve may fracture which can cause the patient not able to use their limb. Other complications can include infection, damage to the soft tissue and even death.

The FDA recalled the devices which were manufactured from 2008 thru July 20, 2012. For information on the list of product codes and lot numbers in the recall, see the Recall Notice.

What does a Recall Mean?

DePuy issued the Urgent Medical Device Recall on January 4, 2013 which alerted hospitals and surgeons that the product should stop being used immediately. Any products currently in stock are to be returned to the manufacturer.

DePuy does not recommend revision (device replacement) surgery but they are urging surgeons to follow up with patients and discuss the risks involved with the device and what to do in case the patient starts experiencing symptoms of device failure.
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A Los Angeles jury is hearing the case of Loren Kransky v. Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of the of the ASR XL hip implant device.

seattle depuy hip recall lawyer10,000 lawsuits have been filed against the J&J, claiming that the company was aware that the metal-on-metal hip implant devices was defective and that the company was negligent in not fully testing the device before marketing. Attorneys also claim that J&J was sluggish in pulling the devices from the U.S. market; DePuy continued to sell the hips in the American market for more than a year after they were banned from England, France and Australia. In those countries, because of national joint replacement databases, early data showed that the devices were failing at a rate of 12.5% within five years.

Kransky is a retired business guard who received his ASR XL hip implant in 2007 and he had to have the device removed and replaced in 2012. Kransky’s blood was tested in October of 2011 and it was found that he had seven times the normal level of the metal cobalt in his body.
Kransky’s attorney said, in his opening statement, “This hip, this medical implant, incorporated dangers to an extent beyond what any reasonable doctor would have anticipated or expected.”
It is believed that the metal-on-metal design of the hip can cause shedding of cobalt and chromium ions which can cause a condition called metallosis. Metallosis can be serious and has been linked to cancer, premature tissue death, inflammation and osteolysis or bone resorption.

Those implanted with the DePuy device are closely watching the outcome of Kransky’s case. J&J had offered a $200,000 case settlement to each of people who filed a lawsuit, according to some case watcher.

Trial Witnesses

The first witness at Kransky’s trial was Magness Flet, a leader of a designed and troubleshooter for Johnson & Johnson who testified that DePuy identified early on problems with the ASR hip but rejected plans to redesign it even though the redesign would have potentially lowered the amount of cobalt and chromium shed by the device.

A second witness, Professor Dennis Bobyn, who is a specialist in Biomedical Engineering at McGill University, testified that the DePuy hip implant “has multiple design defects” which caused it’s high failure rate.
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With the holiday toy-buying season upon us and just in time to inform parents, grandparents and other who will be buying toys this season, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission released the report for 2011 of toy injuries.

The CPCSC works to protect children and adults from injury or death from consumer products. According to the CPSC, in 2011, there were an estimated 193,200 toy-related injuries to children under the age of 15 which required treatment in an emergency room.

Forty-four percent of the children treated in emergency rooms suffered lacerations, contusions or abrasions and nearly 50% were injuries to the head or face.

Toy related deaths are a tragedy to every family. In 2011, 54% of toy-related fatalities involved hanging, positional asphyxiation or traumatic asphyxia. These injuries are often related to balloons or small balls. 31% of the deaths involved drowning or motor vehicles.

The CPSC provides the following safety tips:

product liability attorney

  • Balloons — discard broken or deflated balloons immediately and then them away from children under the age of 8.
  • Small balls — keep small balls away from children under the age of 3 because they pose a choking hazard.
  • Small parts — toys with small parts like Legos can pose a choking hazard so they should be kept away from small children.
  • Riding toys and skates — children can fall or go into traffic or into a swimming pool on riding toys and skates so children should be supervised and they should wear protective pads and helmets as appropriate in case of a fall.
  • Magnets — can be very dangerous if they are swallowed so they should be kept away from children under the age of 14.
  • Packaging — packaging should be discarded immediately because they can cause asphyxiation.
  • Batteries and toys requiring chargers and adaptors — may pose a burn or electrocution hazard so children should be supervised when using these items.

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A new study published in the journal Pediatrics reports that injuries to children on inflatable bouncy houses, slides and moonwalks have increased fifteen times over since 1995.

According to the study, approximately 30 children a day were treated in emergency rooms for injuries sustained on inflatable blouncers in 2010. There were 11,311 reported injuries in 2010 compared to 701 in 1995. The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System provided data for the study.

trampoline injury lawyerInjuries to children under the age of 18 included fractures, strains or sprains spinal cord, and head and neck injuries.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that parents be vigilant when children are playing on the inflatable structures. Their safety recommendations include:

  • Do not allow older and younger children to bounce together.
  • Do not allow children unde the age of 6 to play on an inflatable.
  • Allow only one child to bounce at a time.
  • Do not allow children to do stunts including summersaults or flips which could result in a spinal cord injury.

The study’s lead author, Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, says it is time to to draft national safety guidelines for the structures.

Injuries to children on the bouncy structures have increased while trampoline injuries have been decreasing. Manufactures and resellers of trampolines have been held liable for injuries to children in some cases. In product liability cases involving serious injuries, courts focus on whether the instructions and warnings were adequate.
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The fungal meningitis outbreak that we wrote about just 9 days ago has claimed more lives. The outbreak of the rare fungal meningitis that is linked to a tainted medication has killed 14 people and 170 more have reportedly become infected.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that up to 14,000 people are at risk of the illness. While no patients in Washington state have become ill, there has been one case reported in neighboring Idaho.

Many patients who had a steroid injection in their spine, hip or knee since May are anxiously awaiting to see if they show signs of illness. According to the CDC, in some patients it takes weeks before the disease to manifest itself and “potentially contaminated injection were given starting May 21, 2012.”

Meningitis Is a disease which causes inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. In this latest outbreak of meningitis, the source appears to be steroid medication sourced from a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts.

A lawsuit was filed this week in a Minnesota court by a woman who believes she was infected from a steroid injection she had to relieve back pain.

In all eleven states have had cases of meningitis and it is believed that 23 states have received drugs from the compounding pharmacy Continue reading

The U.S. Centers for Disease control has linked an outbreak of fungal meningitis to a steroid medication traced to a Massachusetts compounding plant. The medication is suspect in the deaths of five people and it is believed to have sickened 35 others. Several of those that became ill have also suffered strokes linked to the infection.

seattle dangerous drugs lawyerFungal meningitis is a rare illness but it is life threatening. It is usually seen in patients with high risk factors including AIDS, leukemia or people with immunodeficiency. It is not transmitted from person-to-person and is usually contracted by inhaling fungal spores in the environment or in contaminated soil.,

In this case, however, the outbreak of aspergillus meningits appears to have been contracted from a contaminated medication used in a steroid injection in the spine to treat back pain. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration tested some sealed vials of the steroid medication and it was found to contain the fungus.

So far, the reported cases of meningitis have been in Virginia, Maryland, Florida, North Carolina, Indiana and Tennessee.

The New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass. has  recalled three lots of the medication and pharmacies are warned to discontinue all products from he New England Compounding Center until the investigation is complete.

Compound pharmacies combine drugs to create a customized medication or they repackage drugs bought in bulk into single dosages. The fear is that the sterility of medications can be compromised during the repackaging process and that might be the problem in this case.
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Ford Motor Corporation has issued a recall of approximately 485,000 Escape SUV’s because of reports that sticking gas pedals caused motor vehicle accidents.

Ford issued the recall of the 2001-2004 model years equipped with a 3-liter V-6 engine with cruise control.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the recall was issued 13 accidents which resulted in one death and nine injuries occurred.

Ford says the problem was due to an inadequate clearance between the cruise control cable and the engine cover which resulted in the throttle sticking when a driver was using cruise control.

Owners of the Escape are advised to contact Ford to schedule a repair.

This recall comes on the heals of a recall of 2013 Escapes with a 1.6 liter engine due to problem with the fuel line which could result in a fire.

Unfortunately, defects in automobiles are usually not discovered until accidents or other problems occur.
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