TGF Legal Updates

11/01/2012

THE GOULD FIRM LEGAL UPDATES                          NOVEMBER 1, 2012

DEFECTIVE PRODUCTS  

Graco Recalls Classic Wood Highchairs Due to Fall Hazard

This recall involves approximately 86,000 units in the United States and 3,400 in Canada sold at Babies R Us, Burlington Coat Factory and other retail stores nationwide and at Target.com and Walmart.com and other online retailers between September 2007 and December 2010 for about $130.

Gracco’s  high chair's seat can loosen or detach from the base, posing a fall hazard to the child.

Consumers can contact Graco at (800) 345-4109, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or www.gracobaby.com for more information. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled high chairs and contact Graco for a free repair kit. Photos of this product are available at http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml13/13006.html.

This recall involves all Graco brand Classic Wood Highchairs sold in three wood finishes. The high chair has a top seat, bottom leg assembly and removable tray. The high chair is sold with a beige fabric seat cover. Model number 3C00BPN, 3C00BPN TC, 3C00CHY, 3C00CHY TC, 3C00CPO or 3C00CPO TC is printed on a label on the underside of the seat assembly.

Graco has received 58 reports of the high chairs' seats loosening or detaching from the base. There have been nine reports of children falling as the seat detached from the base, resulting in reports of bumps, bruises and scratches. Graco has received one report of a concussion in Canada.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is still interested in receiving incident or injury reports that are either directly related to this product recall or involve a different hazard with the same product. Please tell us about your experience with the product on SaferProducts.gov.

Under federal law, it is illegal to attempt to sell or resell this or any other recalled product.

If you have been injured by this product please call THE GOULD FIRM today at

(619) 291-9858 

Pfizer to pay $164 million in investor lawsuit over Celebrex

Pfizer Inc has agreed to pay $164 million to settle a shareholder class action accusing the drug maker of misrepresenting the clinical trial results for Celebrex. The settlement was disclosed in court papers recently filed in U.S. District Court in New Jersey. The accord came about two weeks before the company was to go to trial over allegations that it misled investors by distorting the results of a study of the arthritis drug.

Christopher Loder, a spokesman for Pfizer, in a statement Tuesday confirmed Pfizer had reached a settlement. Pfizer continues to deny wrongdoing, he said. Patrick Coughlin, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, did not respond to a request for comment.

Pfizer acquired Pharmacia Corporation, which manufactured Celebrex, in 2002. Celebrex is Pfizer's fifth biggest-selling medicine, with annual sales of about $2.5 billion.

In 2003, shareholders sued Pfizer and certain former officers of Pharmacia for alleged violations of federal securities laws. These lawsuits alleged that the defendants from 2000 to 2001 misrepresented the clinical trial results of Celebrex to make its safety profile appear better than rival drugs.

In 2007, U.S. District Judge Anne Thompson certified the investor class in the lawsuit. But she subsequently that year granted a motion by Pfizer to dismiss the case.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the case in 2009. The U.S. Supreme Court denied Pfizer's petition to review that ruling in May 2010. Pfizer sought again to have the case dismissed in January, but Thompson denied the motion in May. A trial was scheduled for October 22.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs are applying for a contingency fee of 27.5 percent of the settlement, or $45.1 million.  The case is Alaska Electrical Pension Fund, et al. V. Pharmacia Corporation, et al., U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, 03-cv-01519

 

Family sues energy drink maker over girl's death

The parents of a 14-year-old Hagerstown girl who died in December are suing an energy drink company in a California court, alleging that caffeine in the beverages contributed to her death, according to court records. A complaint filed Friday by Wendy Crossland and Richard Fournier states that their daughter, Anais Fournier, went into cardiac arrest after drinking two 24-ounce Monster Beverage Corp. drinks within a 24-hour period. Monster is based in Riverside County, Calif., where the case was filed.

Fournier was "unconscious when emergency personnel arrived at her home," the complaint said. At Johns Hopkins Hospital, doctors induced a coma in an attempt to reduce brain swelling. After several days, "the decision was made to terminate life support," it said.

The opinion of the Maryland medical examiner's office is that Fournier died of cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity that impeded her heart's ability to pump blood. The autopsy report also concluded that Fournier suffered from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome — an inherited disorder that can make connective tissues, like skin and blood vessel walls, flexible and weak, according to the Mayo Clinic.

"Monster does not believe that its beverages are in any way responsible for the death of Ms. Fournier," Evan Pondel, a spokesman for the company, said in a statement. "Monster is unaware of any fatality anywhere that has been caused by its drinks. The Fournier family has chosen to file a lawsuit, which Monster intends to vigorously defend and, in light of such pending litigation, Monster's policy is to not comment further."

In addition to wrongful death, Fournier's parents are contending that Monster failed to warn of their beverage's potential dangers, that the drinks are "unreasonably dangerous and defective," and that Monster was negligent in the design, manufacture and sale of the drinks.

Tricam Industries Recalls Easy Reach Step Stools Due to Fall Hazard; Sold exclusively at The Home Depot

The recalled products are 84,000  Easy Reach by Gorilla Ladders 3-Step Pro Series step stools, model number HB3-PRO. The step stools have three plastic steps, a steel tubular frame and a plastic-molded tool holder. The model number is located on the underside of the middle step on a blue label. The label also states that the step stools are rated to support 225 lbs. Recalled step stools have a "J" stamped into the underside of the top step and/or the underside of the tool holder.  Reports indicate that  the top step/standing platform can break, posing a fall hazard to consumers.

Customers should immediately stop using the recalled step stools and contact Tricam Industries for a full refund  toll-free (855) 336-0360, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or www.gorillaladders.net, then click on Recall for more information.

Tricam has received five reports of the standing platform breaking, one of which included a report of scrapes and abrasions to a consumer.  These were Sold Exclusively at  The Home Depot from April 2012 through August 2012 for about $27.

The ladders were Imported by Tricam Industries Inc., of Eden Prairie, Minn. and made in China. Photos are available at: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml13/13020.html?tab=recalls

Under federal law, it is illegal to attempt to sell or resell this or any other recalled product.

Nissan Motor Co recalling  top-selling Altima

Nissan Motor Co is recalling 13,919 of its top-selling Altima sedans in the United States because bolts that may not have been tightened properly during production could fall off, increasing the risk of a crash, according to U.S. safety regulators.

The Altima sedans are from the 2012 and 2013 model years and were made at the Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi, from May 10 to July 26, Nissan North America told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"Some of the subject vehicles may have been manufactured with four transverse link bolts and two power steering rack bolts that were not torqued to the proper specification," Nissan told regulators in a letter NHTSA showed on its website.

As a result, the bolts may shake loose during driving, the letter states, and drivers may notice a rattling noise. Nissan said there have been crashes or injuries as a result of this issue.

Through September, 27 percent of the vehicles Nissan sold in the U.S. market were Altima sedans. Altima sales through September were up 17 percent from last year, at 234,040.

Altima owners will be asked to bring their cars to Nissan dealerships, where the bolts will be torqued to the proper specification, NHTSA said. The cars are under warranty protection.

"Based on engineering judgment, it was determined that if a loose bolt falls out completely, the driver may experience difficulty in controlling the direction of the vehicle," Nissan told NHTSA.

Nissan said that on July 26, the last day the vehicles involved in the recall were produced with the potential problem at the Canton plant, workers noticed the issue during a routine test.

On September 21, Nissan confirmed that some of the subject vehicles were at its dealers. On October 3, it decided a safety defect existed and a recall would be conducted.

Owners will begin to be notified on October 29, Nissan told NHTSA.

 NEGLIGENCE

Wrongful death suit over wrong-way Santa Cruz crash

 A Northern California man faces murder charges and a wrongful death claim by family of victim.

 The surviving children of Ana Barajas, the 48-year-old medical technician killed last year in a wrong-way crash on Highway 17, have filed a wrongful death suit over their mother's death.

Filed in July, the suit names driver Eric Rsel Weers, his father, and the Santa Cruz Community Counseling Center where Weers was a resident at the time of the July 11, 2011 accident. It also claims Weers, who was under treatment for schizoaffective disorder, was using illegal drugs and impaired at the time Barajas was killed. Weers also faces murder charges over the crash, with prosecutors alleging he deliberately drove the wrong way onto the highway. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Weers was recently in court, a hearing attended by members of the Barajas family. A prosecutor said a long-delayed court-ordered psychiatric report by Dr. James Missett has been completed but it has not yet been sent to the attorneys.  Judge Paul Burdick ordered the report be delivered by Friday.

Weers has a history of mental illness and was living in subsidized housing for psychiatric patients in Santa Cruz at the time of the crash. His attorneys previously said Weers was prescribed five psychiatric medications in 2010 but hadn't taken them for several days before the crash.

Calling the Community Counseling Center's actions negligent, the suit claims staff there failed to exercise ordinary standards of care. The suit further says staff knew, or should have known, that Weers was a reckless driver who disobeyed traffic laws, and that he was likely to injure someone while driving.

The suit also names Weers' father, Robert Weers, who owned the 2001 Acura MDX Weers was driving at the time of the crash.

Robert Weers filed a cross-complaint with the county on Aug. 5. His attorney, Arthur Casey, said Friday that claim would be dismissed, and declined to address the allegations further.

"With the pending litigation, it wouldn't be appropriate to comment," Casey said.

The suit was filed by Barajas' four children, one of whom is a minor. The Community Counseling Center did not return a call seeking comment.