February 27, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Recent recall prompts discussion of product liability
Article provided by The Law Offices of Gold, Albanese & Barletti
Visit us at http://www.goldandalbanese.com
In December 2012, the maker of the popular magnets Buckyballs officially discontinued the product after a months-long dispute with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The dispute prompts a closer look at consumer product safety and how manufacturers and sellers can be held responsible for injuries caused by defective products.
Say goodbye to Buckyballs
Buckyballs were powerful, rare-earth magnets about the size of a ball bearing that could be used to create an infinite number of shapes and sculptures. However, the balls also posed a grave health threat when swallowed. As the balls passed through the digestive system, they continued to attract each other, causing injury.
For example, a ball in someone's stomach would attract another ball in the person's intestine through tissue, causing tears and blockages. The CPSC estimates that about 1,700 such cases, many involving young children, have occurred since Buckyballs hit the market in 2009. This prompted the agency to take action against Buckyballs distributor Maxfield and Oberton Holdings in the summer of 2012.
In a rare move, the CPSC filed a complaint against Maxfield and Oberton Holdings. The complaint called for the company to stop producing Buckyballs, warn consumers about the dangers the product poses when swallowed and offer consumers refunds.
The company challenged the complaint, arguing that Buckyballs packaging includes a warning and that the product is not marketed to children. The CPSC argued these actions were not enough to keep the public safe. After the legal battle with CPSC and the poor publicity it created, the manufacturer announced in early December that it was taking Buckyballs off the market for good.
How to protect children from dangerous products
Unfortunately, Buckyballs are not the only products that pose dangers to children. Many products used around the home can be dangerous for kids, including cleaning products, tall furniture, knives and in-ground pools.
The CPSC recommends parents and others with young children in their homes take precautions to prevent children from being injured. Installing cabinet door and drawer locks, door knob covers and safety gates can prevent children from accessing dangerous products or from taking a fall down the stairs.
Similarly, parents can use furniture anchors to ensure tall pieces of furniture do not tip over onto children. If the home has an in-ground pool in the backyard, it should be covered, fenced and protected by an alarm that alerts home occupants when someone opens the gate.
Unfortunately, there will always be products that are dangerous no matter how many precautions parents take. These products may have a defect in their design, manufacture or marketing that could cause injury. In these cases, it may be possible to hold the designers, manufacturers or sellers of these products responsible for injuries caused by the defective product via product liability laws.
A design defect is one that makes the product inherently dangerous, often caused by negligence on the part of the product designer. Those injured by manufacturing defects, such as when a product does not conform to a designer's or manufacturer's specifications, can also be compensated. Lastly, there may be a flaw in the product's packaging, instructions or warnings that misrepresent the product or do not adequately warn consumers of the dangers posed by the product.
If you have been injured by a design, manufacturing or marketing defect in a product you purchased, please contact an experienced product liability attorney who can help you understand whether you may be entitled to compensation and advocate on your behalf in pursuing it.---
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