Archive for Product Liability

Lithium-ion Battery Explodes In Man’s Pocket, Causes Severe Burns. “It was like a flame thrower.”

Daniel Anderson of Derby, Kansas, was working at his job in a warehouse on February 9, 2016, when his pocket containing a lithium-ion battery “suddenly and without warning exploded and caught on fire.”

“Nobody thinks twice about putting a battery in their pocket… that’s the first place it’s going to go,” said Mr. Anderson’s lawyer, Dustin DeVaughn.

According to the lawsuit filed by Mr. DeVaughn, his client bought the battery from Big E’s Vapor Shop on February 6, 2016, to use as a backup for his e-cigarette device. He was carrying the battery in his pocket together with car keys and change when the explosion happened.

“It ignites like a bomb,” Mr. DeVaughn said.

The lawsuit states the cause of the explosion was ‘thermal runaway,’ a destructive phenomenon which occurred after “an external short (on the battery) that resulted from contact with metallic objects.” The battery Mr. Anderson bought from Big E’s Vapor Shop “had no warnings or instructions concerning the risk of explosion or fire if the battery came into contact with conductive objects.”

“There are many other consumers out there that have been very severely injured just like him. Although Daniel was able to get the fire out, he suffered second and third-degree chemical and thermal burns to his left leg from thigh to the shin, and second-degree burns to his fingertips and hands,” said Mr. DeVaughn. In addition to other medical procedures, Mr. Anderson required skin grafts. He was out of work for 16 weeks, losing over $13,000 in wages and incurring medical bills in excess of $109,000.

“The burn to my leg has changed my life. I can no longer physically function the way I used to.” Mr. Anderson is seeking damages in excess of $75,000 from Big E’s Vapor Shop and the battery’s distributor, Oklahoma-based VapeUSA Corp.

According to K.M. Abraham, a pioneer of the Li-ion battery and a professor at Northeastern University, “the failure rate for lithium-ion batteries is less than one in a million.” The FDA recommends keeping loose batteries inside a case to prevent them from coming into contact with metal objects and short-circuiting.

A Defective Robot Causes the Death of a Michigan Woman at Workplace

A man blames five robotics, welding, and automotive companies for his wife’s death. He claims that the five companies did not design, build and test the robot thoroughly. Wanda Holbrook, a former employee at Venta Ionia LLC, a company that deals with stamping, molding and other related services for chrome-plated plastics, bumpers and trailer hitches, was found dead after a robot crashed her head. The robot is said to have been malfunctioning, and it crushed her while she was adjusting a machine, as narrated by her husband during a lawsuit.

She was working in either of section 140 or 150 when a robot from section 130 approached her and hit her hard and crushed her head.

Holbrook was then found by her colleagues who announced the death was an instant one due to head trauma. Her husband filed a lawsuit, blaming Prodomax Automation Canada, Flex-n-gate LLC, FANUC Corp; Nachi Robotic System Inc. and Lincoln Company for Wanda’s untimely death. FANUC America and Lincoln are blamed for making the robot while Flex-N-Gate and Prodomax are blamed for helping in installation and servicing of the robot. It was a fault for the robot to move from section 130 to section 140 where it attacked the employee. It also made a mistake of trying to load a hitch assembly since the fixture was already loaded. The complaint said that there must have been a system failure in the robot and the defects caused it to kill Wanda.

According to the lawsuit, the automation system in those working sections was not safe enough, and this must have contributed to the incident too. The safety doors made to prevent robots from moving around from one section to another were not competent enough as claimed by the deceased’s husband. The estate where she came from has sought compensation for the wrongful death and product liability. They are represented by Matthew Wikander and Smith Haughey Rice. However, Amanda Butler declined the lawsuit claims but offered his message of condolence to the family. He said that their company provides adequate safety and that the claims that the safety regulations were not effective were not accurate, but they had to review the lawsuit completely before making any comments. Prodomax, Flex-N-Gate, and Nerch had not yet replied to the emails sent to them requesting their comments on the same.

SoyNut Butter Co. Sued on the Grounds of E. Coli Contamination

Just a few days after recalling its I.M Healthy SoyNut butter, SoyNut Butter Co. gets sued by parents of an 8-year-old child hospitalized with E. coli after consuming the spread.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the boy is one of the 12 people infected with E. coli. So far, the outbreak has been reported in five states — Arizona, Oregon, New Jersey, California, and Maryland. Out of the 12 infected, eleven of them are children.

Erin Simmons and Mosby of California argue that their son was diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) after regularly eating the SoyNut butter, which is the company’s peanut butter substitute. The condition was so dire that the young boy had to undergo a blood transfusion and dialysis — hospitalized at Stanford Children’s Hospital for 21 days.

E. coli (Escherichia coli) is a bacterium that thrives in animals and human’s digestive tracts. A person can become infected with E. coli after getting into contact with stool, or feces, of animals or humans. It mostly happens when you eat food or drink water that is already contaminated by the E. coli bacterium. Out of the many types of E. coli, only a few of them are harmful and may cause the following:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Severe anemia
  • Kidney Failure
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Sometimes death

Although the case is still ongoing and we cannot predict what the final judgment will be, there are a few things to understand about this case, which can shape and influence the verdict. These are:

  1. Most cases arising from a food poisoning fall under product liability, meaning that SoyNut Butter Co. may be held liable for selling defective products.
  2. SoyNut Butter Co. could also be held liable for negligence. The company did not provide a safe environment for the production or manufacture of the SoyNut butter.
  3. There is also another possibility that the company may be held liable for breach of implied warranty. This concerns about the notion that products sold to the ordinary consumers should meet their expectations.