In 2009, Medtronic recalled millions of insulin pump Infusion sets (pictured above) when faulty manufacturing led to several deaths and widespread complaints from diabetic patients.
Medtronic, the largest manufacturer of medical devices in the U.S. has had more recalls for defective products than any other medical device company. Dozens of people have died as a result of their defective products.
In a product liability lawsuit against Medtronic, (Riegel v. Medtronic) the United States Supreme Court ruled against consumers and gave medical device manufacturers virtual immunity against thousands of lawsuits filed against device companies who received premarket application (PMA) approvals from the FDA.
AlderLaw trial lawyers have extensive experience in taking on corporate giants to win for consumers who have been injured or died due to defective products.
California Dangerous and Defective Products Liability Laws
What is a defective product?
Defective products are goods that are commercially produced and distributed that are:
- Unfit for its intended use;
- Dangerous or harmful for normal use;
- Does not carry adequate instructions for its use; or
- Is inherently dangerous due to defective design, assembly, or manufacture.
Types of Dangerous and Defective Product Liability Lawsuits
Product liability lawsuits must have some legal basis for the claims made. The most common product liability lawsuits involve one or more of the following legal theories:
Design Defects: The product is not safe for its normally intended use, and in some cases, for its normal foreseeable use. This second condition is important because some products are safe by themselves or only when used in certain situations, but combined or used with another product or situation could become dangerous.
Manufacturing Defects: The product was not manufactured properly, parts were defective, or unsafe in some way. For example, claims have been made that certain cell phone manufacturers in China use n-hexane to clean device screens. This chemical is known to cause peripheral neuropathy (severe nerve damage) and death. Dozens of Chinese workers have become ill; one has died. If the chemical residues are shown to have also made consumers sick, there could be grounds for a product liability lawsuit based on defects in the manufacturing process.
Marketing Defects: Products must carry warning labels and instructions for proper use. Many companies now carry warning labels that make little sense to consumers based on previous lawsuits. For example, plastic bags often are labeled as "this is not a toy" or "can cause suffocation" to avoid liability because children have been known to play with plastic bags in an unsafe manner.
About Dangerous / Defective Product Laws
Consumer product safety issues involving dangerous, defective, or faulty products are civil lawsuits that fall under Tort Law. Although, the United States Department of Commerce has instituted a Model Uniform Products Liability Act (MUPLA), this model does not constitute laws and was created for for voluntary use by states.
Tort laws are not federal laws; they are state statutory laws that vary from state to state. In fact, there are no federal product liability laws. Still, there are certain types of defective product cases where federal regulatory laws do play a part in lawsuits (i.e., lawsuits involving prescription drugs and medical devices) that are then applied in the context of state laws. For example, even in cases where federal law exists, individual state statutes of limitations and the amount of damages that can be awarded are still called into play.
Our Defective Product Trial Attorneys Know Liability Laws and How to Win Your Case
You do not need to know what type of case you have or what laws apply. Our attorneys have extensive experience in this complicated area of consumer law; we can determine if your case is one completely governed by state laws or if federal law will also affect the outcome of your case. [About Our Product Liability and Dangerous & Defective Products Law Practice]