One result of the United States' consumer culture is that there are large numbers of goods that must be transported from place to place in a huge country. Whether carrying widgets manufactured in Wyoming to Florida, or trinkets imported through Texas ports to California, large trucks tend to be the most efficient and cost-effective way for companies to get their products to market. During the December holidays, consumer demand tends to rise, meaning even more tractor-trailers on the roads.
A few weeks ago, we discussed the concept of strict liability of manufacturers of defective products. That is, we talked about a part of civil law that allows consumers to hold makers of defective items placed into the stream of commerce liable even if they weren't negligent about doing so. We've also previously mentioned that sometimes the seller of a product may be liable if someone is injured by a defect. This liability is somewhat different from that which attaches to the manufacturer, as we shall see.
Today, many people are turning to using e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking. The belief-however false-is that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative. As I discussed in a previous blog, this belief is not based in reality. E-cigarettes can cause an array of health ailments, including popcorn lung. In addition to harming your health because of chemicals, e-cigarettes can also harm you by exploding. News stories have been popping up all across the globe about exploding e-cigarettes.
Taxotere is a chemotherapy drug that can cause the devastating side effect of permanent hair loss. As part of an effort to try the cases in a systematic and cost-effective manner, multidistrict litigation (MDL) has been ordered, with the pretrial proceedings being consolidated in the Western District of Louisiana. In addition, as part of this streamlining process, a panel of lawyers on both the plaintiffs' and defendants' side have been appointed to the Taxotere Settlement Negotiating Team. One of these lawyers includes Reich & Binstock partner Dennis Reich, a founder of our law firm.
Everyday, there are those residing in Texas and elsewhere who are exposed to toxic substances while at work -- knowingly and unknowingly. At first, the exposure may not seem to cause any harm, but overtime, the resulting damage can be serious -- if not fatal. Lead is a substance that is used in many things in the workplace, making lead poisoning a fairly common issue.
The federal Food and Drug Administration periodically publishes warnings when it finds that empirical studies have suggested potential harmful effects from the use of medications. They also require the manufacturers of these pharmaceuticals to update their labels to reflect the information the administration has gleaned from these scientific studies. Drug companies generally must adhere to these labelling standards in order to allow doctors to make good decisions in how to prescribe medications as well as letting consumers know what the risks are in taking any individual drug.
Car accidents can be terrifying events, particularly when the other car is an 18-wheeler. Under the Obama Administration, there were strict standards imposed on truck drivers that limited the weight and length of trucks. Ostensibly, these limits, we would think, would lessen the number of accidents on the highways. However, it could be that the opposite was the case. By restricting the weight and length of trucks, the end result was that more trucks were on the road, resulting in an increase rather than a decrease in the number of accidents.
Last March, this blog reported that a Texas jury had found against huge medical manufacturer Johnson and Johnson and one of its corporate entities for marketing a defective hip replacement device, and awarded a large sum to the plaintiffs in damages. That case was one of several bellwether cases that had been consolidated under Texas Multi-District Litigation rules. Recently, in another of these cases, a jury in Dallas returned an even larger award against the company for the same device.
It's that time of year again! With Christmas and Hanukah just around the corner, people are getting their homes ready and are filling the streets looking for gifts, looking at lights or just enjoying the wintery weather. With the increase in activity comes an increase in the risk for accidents.
One of the most basic rules governing physics is that force equals an object's mass times its acceleration. Known as Newton's Second Law of Motion, this simple equation tells us that the heavier something is, the more force it will have upon impact. This description of the world helps explain why accidents involving commercial trucks, such as 18-wheelers, can be so devastating. When a loaded truck travelling at highway speed comes into contact with another vehicle, the amount of force applied is often huge. The result is a high probability of serious injury or death to drivers and passengers in other vehicles.