Monthly Archives: January 2013

Product Safety & Recalls


Toyota recalls over one million vehicles for air bags, wipers.

The AP (1/31, Kageyama) reports that Toyota is “recalling 907,000 cars, mostly Corollas, due to air bags that can improperly inflate when the vehicle's electronic signals damage a chip in the part that controls the air bags. It also is recalling 385,000 Lexus IS luxury cars with wipers that can get stuck if there is heavy snowfall.” While Toyota had initially said there were no accidents related to the problem, a spokesperson on Wednesday said that there were two crashes in the US related to the air bag problem. In addition, Toyota has confirmed 18 cases of injuries form the air bag problem and a total of “46 reports of problems involving the air bags from North America, and one from Japan, and 25 reports of problems related to the windshield wipers.”

USA Today (1/30, Woodyard, 1.71M) reports, “Toyota says the air bag control module for the supplemental restraint system in the Corolla and Corolla Matrix vehicles could have been manufactured with faulty circuit boards. If it malfunctions, it could cause a short, causing a buildup of heat or potentially causing the air bags or seat belt pretensioners to deploy when there hasn't been a crash.” While “in the case of the wiper blades on the Lexus IS, the loose nut could cause the wipers to fail if they encounter a heavy load that puts them under pressure, like the buildup of snow, Toyota says.”

The Los Angeles Times (1/30, Hirsch, 692K) notes that “Toyota has had a series a large recalls in recent years and has paid record federal fines for not recalling its vehicles fast enough. But that doesn't seem to bother buyers.”

The Detroit News (1/31, Shepardson, 119K) reports that the investigation into the air bags “began in August when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asked other automakers for information on air bag malfunctions using the chip that was used in Chrysler Jeep Liberty SUVs that were under investigation.”

Also reporting on the recall are the New York Times (1/30, Jensen, 1.68M), the Christian Science Monitor (1/30, Velasco, 47K), the Washington Times (1/31, Chumley, 76K), Cars (1/30), WUSA-TV Washington (1/31), the Detroit Bureau (1/31), and WWJ-TV Detroit (1/30).

FDA warns company over unapproved nasal spray.

In continuing coverage, USA Today (1/31, Weise, 1.71M) reports that the FDA sent a warning letter to Boca Raton, Florida-based Flu & Cold Defense LLC, saying its GermBullet “nasal spray's claim that it is 'laboratory tested and shown to reduce illness-causing bacteria, cold and flu viruses' is a 'false and misleading promotional statement.'” The FDA says the company is selling GermBullet over the counter, illegally, because despite claims that the drug can “treat or cure” influenza, Flu & Cold Defense has never submitted trial data and an application for approval of the product as a drug to the FDA. The company has 15 days to respond to the agency's allegations. Meanwhile, the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Compliance Office Director, Howard Sklamberg said that if Flu & Cold Defense “continues to make unsubstantiated claims about the product, the agency may take enforcement action that could include seizure of the drug or criminal prosecution.”

Another pet-food company removes dog treats containing Chinese chicken from shelves.

ABC News (1/31, Galli) reports on its website that “another major pet food company has pulled dog treats that use Chinese chicken from shelves after finding residue of illegal antibiotics. Hartz Mountain, which manufactures Hartz Chicken Chews and Hartz Oinkies Pig Skin Twists wrapped with Chicken, has pulled both products off the market, saying they contain trace amounts of an antibiotic not approved for use in the U.S.” According to the ABC News website, “earlier this month, Del Monte and Nestle Purina voluntarily pulled chicken jerky pet treats made in China off the market after the New York State Department of Agriculture found possible contamination by an antibiotic illegal in the U.S. in Del Monte's Milo's Kitchen products and in Nestle Purina's Waggin' Train and Canyon Creek Ranch treats.”


Law School Applications Continue to Drop

  Paul Sakuma/Associated Press The law school at Stanford University has increased its attention to hands-on training. Another story today in the NYT about the drop in law school applications. If you live and work in the profession, you could see this coming a mile away. Law schools do not provide the training for newContinue Reading

Johnson & Johnson’s Fall From Grace?

  There was a time when I would presumptively refuse any product liability case involving J&J. To me they were the standard bearer for corporate ethics. Judge for yourself as to whether J&J has fallen from that pedestal as we follow accounts from two trials ; One in California involving ASR Dupuy Hips and theContinue Reading

BP Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter

The CBS Evening News (1/29, story 4, 1:50, Pelley, 5.58M) reported, “British oil company BP is guilty of criminal charges of manslaughter in the deaths of 11 workers from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. A Federal judge in New Orleans accepted BP's guilty plea today.” CBS (Strassmann) added, “BP's guilty plea concedes BP managers ignoredContinue Reading

J&J Defective HIP Implant Evidence Revealed

  In a front-page story, the New York Times (1/23, A1, Meier, Subscription Publication, 1.68M) continues coverage of the lawsuits Johnson & Johnson faces over its 2011 hip implants recall, noting that newly disclosed court records revealed that an “internal analysis” J&J conducted shortly after issuing the recall “estimated that the all-metal device would failContinue Reading

1.7 Million Pieces of Thermal Wall Cookware Recalled

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a recall of about 1.7 million pieces of 9-ply “Thermal Wall” cookware sold by Royal Prestige. The agency said the cookware can collapse or severely deform when heated, posing a burn and fire hazard. There have been more than 1,100 reports of cookware deforming, including oneContinue Reading

Following series of safety incidents, FAA temporarily grounds all US-operated Boeing 787s.

The New York Times (1/17, Drew, Mouawad, Subscription Publication, 1.68M) reports, “The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday that it was temporarily grounding all Boeing 787s operated by United States carriers after several incidents in recent weeks, including a battery fire, and after an All Nippon Airways flight in Japan was forced to make an emergencyContinue Reading

168,000 Air Misters Recalled from Target

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a recall of about 168,000 hand-held air misters that can shatter during use, posing an injury risk. The product, sold exclusively at Target retail stores are clear plastic cylinders with colored tops and bases and hold about two ounces of water. There have been three reports of theContinue Reading

Product Safety News

FDA issues “sharply worded” warning to heart device manufacturer. In continuing coverage, the New York Times (1/16, B2, Meier, Subscription Publication, 1.68M) reports that the Food and Drug Administration “on Tuesday released a sharply worded warning letter to St. Jude Medical, in which it said it might soon fine or take other actions against theContinue Reading