Friday, December 28, 2012

Toyota Reaches Settlement in Faulty Acceleration Cases

Toyota agrees to pay $1.1 billion to settle lawsuit involving faulty acceleration in vehicles.

The Wall Street Journal (12/27, Ramsey, Subscription Publication, 2.29M) reports that Toyota Motor Corp. has agreed to pay about $1.1 billion in a settlement of a class-action lawsuit involving complaints regarding problems with its vehicles' accelerators. As the Journal describes, Toyota had received a number of complaints that its vehicles accelerated when the driver did not intend to move faster, and this affair has harmed the company's reputation and sales. The article recounts that Toyota went through several recalls of vehicles in 2009/2010 and endured negative public scrutiny, including congressional hearings.
        The AP (12/27, Risling) reports that Toyota has said that "the deal will resolve hundreds of lawsuits from Toyota owners who said the value of their cars and trucks plummeted after a series of recalls stemming from claims that Toyota vehicles accelerated unintentionally." The AP quotes Steve Berman, a lawyer representing owners of Toyota vehicles, as saying, "We kept fighting and fighting and we secured what we think was a good settlement given the risks of this litigation." As the piece notes, "hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against Toyota since 2009, when the Japanese automaker started receiving numerous complaints that its cars accelerated on their own, causing crashes, injuries and even deaths."
        Reuters (12/27, Seetharaman, Woodall) notes that a plaintiff memo indicated that the deal in the Toyota case amounts to a landmark settlement in automobile-defect class-action litigation in the US. The settlement must still be approved by a California Federal judge.
        The Detroit Free Press (12/27, Snavely, 280K) notes that "Toyota said it plans to retrofit additional models with a free brake-override system to provide an added measure of confidence that its vehicles can be stopped if they accelerate unexpectedly." The company also agreed to "pay another $250 million to reimburse owners whose vehicles cannot be retrofitted with the brake-override system."
        The Recorder (12/27, Blum) also covers this stor

Nap Nanny Baby Recliners Recalled After Infant Deaths


Over 150,000 baby recliners recalled following at least five infant deaths.


The AP (12/28) reports, "Four national retailers agreed to recall more than 150,000 Nap Nanny baby recliners after at least five infant deaths and dozens of reports of children nearly falling out of the recliners, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said Thursday." According to the AP, the recall covers several models of the Nap Nanny infant recliners, all of which were sold between 2009 and 2012. The CPSC has warned parents and caregivers that "the Nap Nanny contains defects in its design, warnings and instructions," creating a "substantial risk of injury and death to infants." The four retailers that have agreed to voluntarily recall the recliners include Amazon.com, Buy Buy Baby, Diapers.com and Toys R Us/Babies R Us. The AP adds that the manufacturer of the recliners, Baby Matters LLC of Berwyn, Pennsylvania, said earlier this month that it had gone out of business.

        The Wall Street Journal (12/28, Page B6, Rubin, Subscription Publication, 2.29M) reports that earlier this month, the CPSC filed a civil suit against Baby Matters LLC in order to force action regarding the infant recliners. The Journal notes that the CPSC sued Baby Matters LLC after it was unsuccessful in attempting to reach a voluntary-recall plan with the company. According to the article, the CPSC is aware of four infant deaths involving Nap Nanny recliners and a fifth death involving the company's Chill model.

        NBC News (12/28) notes on its website that "five thousand Nap Nanny Generation One and 50,000 Generation Two models were sold between 2009 and early 2012," and "about 100,000 Chill models have been sold since January 2011."

        The Los Angeles Times (12/28, Hsu, 692K) reports that "in addition to the fatalities, the CPSC said it received nearly 100 reports of children hanging out of or nearly falling over the sides of the seats, even when a built-in harness was used. The portable recliners featured a foam base shaped like a bucket seat and a fitted fabric cover."

        Consumer Reports (12/28, DiBenedetto) reports that the Nap Nanny baby recliner "originally was recalled in 2010 after the first reported death in a Nap Nanny, as well as 22 reports of infants hanging or falling out over the side of the product, even though most of the infants had been placed in the recliner's harness." However, "despite the improvements to the warnings and instructions, additional deaths using the Nap Nanny recliners were reported. Since the 2010 recall, in fact, the CPSC received an additional 70 reports of children nearly falling out of the product."
        The NPR (12/28, Hensley) "Shots" blog, Newsday (12/28, Berger, 402K), the Philadelphia Inquirer (12/28, Mastrull, 306K), the Philadelphia Business Journal (12/28, Van Allen, Subscription Publication), Dow Jones Newswires (12/28) and RTT News (12/28) also cover this story.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Meningitis Outbreak Update: FDA Releases List of Customers Who Received Products from NECC


 

The FDA has published a list of customers who received products from the New England Compounding Center, which has been linked to the ongoing fungal meningitis outbreak. The list includes medications that were shipped by NECC and administered to patients on or after May 21, 2012.

To date, 317 patients have been infected in the outbreak, and 24 have died.

For more information visit the CDC's website:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tussey MountainBack 2012

A BIG thanks to Michael Casper, and all the wonderful volunteers who again helped put on this years Tussey MountainBack 50 mile Ultra Marathon and Relays. It was a superb day and this really is a special event. The logistics and support were incredible.  Course is beautiful, a little hilly. I managed to finish in 7:57:25, good for 29th place, and 6th Masters. This is a terriffic race, well run, and I highly reccommend it to anyone who is looking to do thier first ultra, or to any veteran.

Massachusetts pharmacy linked to a deadly meningitis outbreak, failed to take crucial steps to ensure the safety of its products


Massachusetts health officials report pharmacy linked to meningitis outbreak failed to follow safety rules.


The Wall Street Journal (10/24, Martin, Rockoff, Maremont, Subscription Publication, 2.08M) reports that New England Compounding Center, the Massachusetts pharmacy linked to a deadly meningitis outbreak, failed to take crucial steps to ensure the safety of its products, according to state health officials. The Journal notes the firm neglected to sterilize its products for the minimum required time, failed to keep its manufacturing equipment sanitary, and operated a leaky boiler near the room in which drugs were being packaged. In addition, Massachusetts health officials said that NECC violated industry-backed guidelines for testing the safety of the steroid now linked to the outbreak.

        The New York Times (10/24, Goodnough, Subscription Publication, 1.23M) reports that according to the state health authorities, "one finding in particular stands out: the pharmacy, the New England Compounding Center, shipped some orders of the drug implicated in the outbreak without waiting for the final results of sterility testing. And while company records indicate the tests found no contamination, regulators said they were skeptical of the company's methods." The Times observes that Massachusetts officials painted "a harrowing picture of a company that flouted crucial rules as it hurried to ship drugs around the country."

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ford Recalling 2011-2013 Fiesta Vehicles for Airbag Problems

Summary:
 Ford is recalling certain model year 2011-2013 Fiesta vehicles, manufactured from November 3, 2009 through September 21, 2012. The vehicles fail to comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 208, "Occupant Crash Protection." The passenger side curtain air bag will not deploy in the event of a side impact collision when the front passenger seat is empty. Although the side curtain air bag system was designed to suppress the side curtain air bag under this scenario, that information is not explained in the owner's guide for these vehicles as required by FMVSS No.208.
Consequence:
 An occupant in the right rear seating position will not have coverage from the side curtain air bag in a side impact collision when the front passenger seat is empty, increasing the risk of injury to the right rear occupant.
Remedy:
 Ford will notify owners and dealers will reprogram the vehicle's software free of charge so that it no longer suppresses the passenger side curtain air bag when the front passenger seat is empty, and consistent with the description in the owner's guide. The safety recall is expected to begin shortly. Owner's may contact Ford at 1-866-436-7332.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Focus on patient safety to address malpractice crisis.


McLarty: Focus on patient safety to address malpractice crisis.

In an opinion piece published on the CNN (10/12) website, Mary Alice McLarty, president of the American Association for Justice and a partner in McLarty Pope LLP in Dallas, writes that "preventable medical errors are the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and cost our country $29 billion a year," adding that while medical malpractice lawsuits are a symptom of the problem, the root of the problem is medical malpractice itself. Writing that "the civil justice system gives families of patients who have died or have been injured by medical negligence an avenue to seek accountability," McLarty argues that proposals for medical malpractice reform are misguided because they only strip away patients' rights and remove accountability. She argues that the most effective way to address the medical malpractice crisis is to focus on patient safety efforts

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

GM Recalls for Fuel Leaks

GM Recalling 40,859 Cars for Potential Fuel Leaks

General Motors Co. is recalling more than 40,000 cars sold in warm-weather states because a plastic part might crack and cause a fuel leak.
The company is recalling Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 sedans from the 2007 through 2009 model years and Chevrolet Equinox and Pontiac Torrent SUVs and Saturn Ion sedans from the 2007 model year.
The recall affects vehicles sold or currently registered in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada or Texas. Owners in Arkansas and Oklahoma also are included in the recall of the 2009 Cobalt and G5.
The vehicles have plastic parts connected to the fuel pump which could crack. If the crack gets large enough, fuel could leak out of the vehicle and cause a fire.
GM says there have been no reports of fires or injuries related to the defect. The company began investigating the issue in 2011 after a dealer reported fuel leaking from some vehicles.
GM says its warranty data indicates that the problem is far more common in warm-weather states. It will repair the vehicles for free in those states. Owners will be notified of the recall by mail.
But the company also plans to send letters to owners in other states offering a free repair within a limited time period if the parts are cracked. That offer is valid for 10 years or 120,000 miles from the date the vehicle was sold, spokesman Alan Adler said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the recall on its Web site Saturday.

 

Medical Malpractice Insurance Premiums Continue to Fall


Medical malpractice rates dropped for fifth straight year.


Medscape (10/10, Lowes) reports, "undermining a talking point of organized medicine about tort reform, premiums for medical malpractice insurance for 3 bellwether specialties dropped for the fifth straight year in 2012, according to a new report published in Medical Liability Monitor (MLM)." According to the article, "the American Medical Association and other medical societies have argued that a broken medical liability system boosts insurance premiums for physicians." Medscape notes, however, that "rates for obstetrician/gynecologists, general internists, and general surgeons decreased on average by 1.7% in 2012, following declines of 0.2% in 2011, 0.5% in 2010, 2.5% in 2009, and 4% in 2008, according to MLM's annual rate survey." However, these declines are overshadowed by annual premium increases that topped 20% in 2003 and 2004.

Monday, October 8, 2012

WIRE GRILL CLEANING BRUSHES CAN POSE FOOD SAFETY HAZARD


 

 
          Wire grill cleaning brushes have commonly been used to clean barbeque grills.  However, recently, more and more instances are arising where wire bristles from grill cleaning brushes have fallen off the brush, unsuspectingly finding their way into peoples’ foods and down their throats.  This is potentially a very dangerous hazard. 
          The reported instances also seem to be on the rise since a number of major manufacturers have moved their manufacturing facilities to China.
          During the summer of 2012, it was reported that a number of people went to the hospital with internal injuries from wire bristles lodged in their necks or stomachs, according to the morbidity and mortality weekly report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (July 6,  2012) http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6126a4.htm these metal grill brush wires may cause extensive internal damage either in the throat, or potentially the stomach or intestinal wall. 
          “Awareness of this potential injury among health care professionals is critical to facilitate timely diagnosis and treatment,” says the report.
          CDC also warned retailers and urged retailers to examine brush designs to minimize the likelihood of pieces coming loose. 
          The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is currently studying data on injuries related to wire grill brushes.  Recently, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on the CPSC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to review whether metal grill brushes are safe for consumer use, after reports that some metal bristles broke off a brush and were swallowed sending people to the hospital.  Senator Schumer also asked these agencies to evaluate whether manufacturers or importers have failed to report product safety related information as required by law.
          Consumers should avoid using wire grill brushes because of the safety hazard of wires coming off and finding their way into peoples’ foods.  There are safer alternatives including such things as brillo or SOS pads or grill scrubbers that rely on synthetic pads to provide scouring or scrubbing action.

 

 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

FORD ESCAPE AND MAZDA TRIBUTE RECALLS FOR ACCELERATOR PROBLEMS


Faced with mounting complaints and multiple deaths involving uncontrolled acceleration of Ford Escapes and Mazda Tributes, Ford and Mazda under mounting pressure recalled more than 500,000 Ford Escapes model years 2001-2004 and Mazda recalled more than 200,000 2001-2008 Tributes, the Escape’s sister SUV.  Sadly, it took multiple deaths and complaints over more than 7 years to bring enough public attention to this issue to get the government’s attention and then to compel Ford to issue a recall.  In August 2008 a young mother was killed when her 2003 Ford Escape accelerated out of control, unable to stop it, she jumped out, hitting her head on the pavement resulting in her death.

          In 2007 a 43 year old mother died outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania when her 2000 Ford Escape accelerated out of control through busy city streets and intersections, finally flipping and hitting a school bus causing the driver’s death.  Atlee Hall, LLP attorney, Jaime Jackson, represented the family of the woman killed in a crash that occurred in a suburb of Philadelphia.  For years now, Mr. Jackson, along with other trial attorneys and safety organizations have been trying to bring public awareness to these safety problems with the Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute.  Sadly, recently 17 year old Sage Bloom’s 2002 Ford Escape flipped and crashed in Arizona in January of 2012 bringing further attention to this issue.

          Inspections of all three wrecked Ford Escapes in Missouri, Pennsylvania and Arizona found the same issue:  the speed control cable’s plastic cover broken, the cable stuck under the engine cover, forcing the throttle open – and the SUV to accelerate at very high speeds.

          Safety experts recommend that the only thing a driver can do to effectively stop the car when this happens is to put it in neutral, and steer it to the side of the road safely.  However, this is easier said than done when a driver is faced suddenly with a totally unexpected acceleration of the vehicle, not knowing what is going on and trying to control the vehicle in an effort to avoid harming people around them.  Ford had originally issued an earlier recall on the accelerator cables for 2002-2004 model year Escapes.  However, what quickly became evident was that various technicians at Ford dealers may be performing the recall repair incorrectly by lifting up on the cruise control cable to gain access to the accelerator cable.  By manipulating the cruise control cable this may cause damage or kinking in the cable that leads to the speed control or accelerator cable’s plastic cover becoming stuck under the engine cover, forcing the throttle open.  Two months after the Missouri crash, Ford sent a warning to its dealers as an update to the earlier recall on the accelerator cables for the 2002-2004 model year Escapes, advising an incorrect repair on the accelerator cable, Ford said, could cause damage to the speed control cable, which sits next to it in an Escape’s engine.

          When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began investigating this problem earlier this year, the agency identified 99 complaints from owners of struck throttles in 2001-2004 Ford Escapes and Mazda Tributes equipped with V6 engines.  It is critically important that anyone who owns a Ford Escape or Mazda Tribute that has received notice of the recall, that they immediately bring the vehicle in to a dealer to have this work performed, even if you have not received notice of the recall because these car companies have not been able to contact you, and you own a 2001-2004 Ford Escape or 2001-2008 Mazda Tribute, you should bring your vehicle into the dealership immediately to have this recall repair work performed.

Honda recalls 600,000 Accords to fix faulty hoses

Honda recalls 600,000 Accords to fix faulty hoses

Tue, 10/02/2012
Honda is recalling 600,000 Accord midsize cars in the U.S. and Canada to fix a faulty power steering hose that can leak fluid and cause a fire.
The recall affects Accords with V-6 engines from the 2003 through 2007 model years. Honda has a report of one fire but no injuries or crashes.
The five-passenger Accord is consistently among the top-selling vehicles in the United States, mainly because of its reputation for reliability and fuel economy. For years it has been the nation's second-best-selling car, beaten only by the Toyota Camry.

Thanks to the Keystone Trail Association for the Susquehanna Superhike

Another superb job, to the KTA for putting together a highly successful 2012 Superhike. A very tough, but rewarding race. A punishing course, I was very happy to survive the race and finish 8th overall in 5:32:34 (http://www.kta-hike.org/images/SSH/2012_Documents/2012_SUPER_HIKE_RESULTS.pdf) Thanks to all you put this together, and look forward to doing it again next year.

Monday, October 1, 2012

GM Recalls Vehicles for Fuel Leak Problems


General Motors recalling more than 40,000 cars due to fuel leak concerns.


WDIV-TV Detroit (10/1) reported, "General Motors is recalling more than 40,000 vehicles, citing concerns that a fuel pump module could crack and cause a fire in the event of a fuel leak." According to the story, this recall "affects five models from 2007 through 2009: the Chevrolet Cobalt (2007-2009), Chevrolet Equinox (2007), Pontiac G5 (2007-2009), Pontiac Torrent (2007) and Saturn Ion (2007)." The piece added, "GM said the models were originally sold or registered in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, Oklahoma and Texas."

Texting and Child Endangerment--Parents Should Read this Article in the Wall Street Journal


Friday, September 28, 2012

The Importance of Trial by Jury and The Civil Justice System


 

Seventh Amendment

·         A cornerstone of our democracy is a uniquely American civil justice system that allows judges and juries to enforce the law and protect the principles of accountability and responsibility. 

·         Our founding fathers knew that without the ability to enforce the law, the law becomes meaningless. 

·         The 7th Amendment to the Constitution grants the right to trial by jury and is at the very heart of our civil justice system. 

·         The 7th Amendment:

o   preserves the right of Americans to a fair and impartial trial even against large and powerful interests;

o   ensures that every citizen can get a “fair fight” when injured and harmed by others’ wrongdoing; and

o   gives citizens the right to participate directly in our democracy in an important and meaningful way.

·         Through the 7th Amendment and access to the civil justice system, Americans can to affect positive changes in our society, including:

o   safer consumer products;

o   enhanced safety in the workplace; and

o   increased quality and safety in health care.

·         It is important to our democracy and our society that the 7th Amendment is protected and that the civil justice system remains accessible to all citizens so that they can seek justice and accountability.

 

 

Civil Justice System

          America’s civil justice system gives people a fair chance to receive justice and hold wrongdoers accountable.

          When corporations and their CEOs act irresponsibly – by delaying or refusing to pay fair and just insurance claims, producing unsafe products, polluting our environment or swindling their employees and shareholders – the last resort for Americans to hold them accountable is in our courts.

          Over the years, big corporations and their front groups have attacked the civil justice system, trial attorneys and those who are injured through no fault of their own – all in an effort to pad their profits and escape accountability.

          Our legal system also serves as a powerful deterrent for corporations to act responsibly.


          The campaign to limit Americans’ access to justice is run by corporate front groups looking to undermine the civil justice system so negligent corporations can avoid accountability.

          These corporate front groups have been funded by tobacco, chemical, oil, and insurance companies – all who have the most to gain by preventing Americans from accessing the courts.

          The U.S. Chamber is the most active tort reform group on the state and national level, spending millions of dollars annually to destroy the legal system and prevent Americans from holding negligent corporations accountable.

          All Americans should have a fair chance to receive justice through the legal system – even when it means taking on the most powerful corporations or their front groups.

 

"Representative government and trial by jury are the heart and lungs of liberty.

Without them we have no other fortification against being ridden like horses,

fleeced like sheep, worked like cattle, and fed and clothed like swine and hounds."

John Adams, 1774

 

“I consider [trial by jury] as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by

which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”

Thomas Jefferson

 

“The right to trial by jury in civil cases at common law is fundamental to

our history and jurisprudence. A right so fundamental and sacred

to the citizens . . . should be jealously guarded.”

William H. Rehnquist, Former Chief Justice, United States Supreme Court

Nominated to the Court by Richard Nixon; nominated Chief Justice by Ronald Reagan

 

GM Recalls Pontiacs, Malibus and Saturns for Transmission Problem

General Motors Co. is issuing new recall campaigns, calling back 480,000 vehicles to fix transmission gear shift cables — including 430,000 in the United States.
The Detroit automaker said Friday it is recalling 426,240 Chevrolet, Pontiac and Saturn sedans in the United States to repair a condition in which the transmission gear position may not match the gear on the shifter. That could lead to the vehicles rolling when drivers think they are in park.
"The driver would be able to remove the key from the ignition, but the door locks may not unlock automatically and the PARK indicator lamp would not be illuminated. The driver may not be able to restart the vehicle and the vehicle could roll away," GM said.
The recalled vehicles are 2007-10 Chevrolet Malibu, Saturn Aura and Pontiac G6 models, all with four-speed automatic transmissions. GM is aware of four crashes but no injuries because of the condition.
Dealers will add reinforcement to the shift cable end fitting to prevent the end fitting from fracturing. GM is also recalling 47,600 in Canada, Mexico and other markets outside the United States.
GM discovered the issue while responding to a related investigation by the National Highway Traffic safety Administration into the 2007-08 Saturn Aura on a related shift cable condition. That investigation remains open.
GM observed elevated shift cable warranty claims on certain GM models with a unique shift cable design produced by a new supplier starting the second half of the 2008 model year.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Specialized recalling about 12,000 bicycles over concerns about front forks breaking


Specialized recalling about 12,000 bicycles over concerns about front forks breaking.


The AP (9/26) reports, "Specialized Bicycle Components Inc. is recalling approximately 12,000 bicycles because a part can potentially break off and lead riders to fall and get hurt." The story notes that Specialized Bicycle Components "which made the announcement in conjunction with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, said Tuesday that the front fork on the bicycles can break. It has received four reports of front forks breaking, resulting in facial fractures, head and shoulder injuries and cuts." The CNN (9/26, Sperry) website and WTVQ-TV Lexington, KY (9/26) also cover this story.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Jury Holds York Hospital Responsible in Patient's Death


A York County jury has held York Hospital and a local cardiology practice responsible for violating patient safety rules, which, as a result, caused the death of a 53-year-old York County woman.  

While representing the victim's family, Jaime Jackson, Esq., an attorney with the law firm of Atlee Hall, LLP in Lancaster,  presented extensive evidence concerning multiple violations of patient safety rules, including the fact that a York Hospital resident did not follow the cardiologist's orders to notify the doctor if the patient's blood pressure dropped too low or heart rate rose too high.  

Jackson also argued that the resident and doctor violated a patient safety rule that shock must be treated as an emergency because they failed to promptly act and order the proper tests.  

Another fundamental patient safety rule discussed at trial was that "doctors must communicate clearly with one another." Some of the trial's most dramatic points centered around a telephone call between the York Hospital resident and on-call cardiologist.  

At times during their testimony, it looked as though the two were blaming each other. The incident in question occurred after the patient had just undergone a successful cardiac stent procedure and been transferred to the hospital's ICU for observation. She arrived in the ICU with a blood pressure of 65/46 and a heart rate of 128 -- clear signs of shock, yet, according to testimony, the resident proceeded in a routine fashion, without ordering any tests to find the cause of the shock and/or attempt to fix the problem before the patient was harmed. 

The resident testified that he spoke to the on-call cardiologist and described the patient's status, including low blood pressure, high heart rate, anxiety and pain, and that he was concerned because she was in shock.  

However, the cardiologist testified that he was never given any such information and was informed that the patient was in stable condition. The cardiologist further testified that had he known the patient's true condition, he would have responded with emergent treatment and ordered tests to find the cause of the shock and fix it. If he had done so, the patient's life could have been saved at any time. 

In his closing arguments, Jackson urged the jury to do the right thing: share this type of information with the community -- that hospitals and doctors cannot violate patient safety rules; doing so, resulted in the death of a human being. As such, they should be held accountable and responsible. 

Upon reaching a final verdict, the jury announced a $6 million decision on behalf of the woman's estate and surviving husband of 33 years, along with their three children.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

St. Jude Defibrillation Leads Recall

The Wall Street Journal (8/27, Weaver, Subscription Publication) reports that patients who are dealing with the recent recall of heart devices from St. Jude Medical Inc. are also facing the potential problem of rising bills as a result of the recall. According to the Journal, physicians are increasingly removing the Riata defibrillation leads from patients due to safety concerns, but the procedure to have them taken out of a patient can be risky and expensive, for the victims of this safety problem. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

GM Recalls Trailblazer for Fire Hazards

General Motors, Isuzu announce recall.

In continuing coverage, ABC World News (8/19, story 5, 0:30, Muir) reported, "We move on to a consumer alert, General Motor and Isuzu recalling 250,000 SUVs because of a possible short circuit that can cause fires." According to the segment, "the recall includes five models including the Chevrolet Trailblazer from 2006 and 2007." The recall was prompted by concerns that "chemicals that clear roads of snow and ice can get inside the driver's door and short circuit the switches controlling power windows and door locks." To date, 28 fires have been reported, though, no injuries have been linked to the defect.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Toyota Recalls SUVs

Toyota Recalls 878K Vehicles
Drivers say failed rear suspension sent cars, SUVs out of control
Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday it is recalling 878,000 vehicles because some drivers say the rear suspension has failed, causing them to lose control.
The recall includes 760,000 2006-2011 RAV4 SUVs and 18,000 2010 Lexus HS 250h cars in the U.S., and comes less than two months after the government opened an investigation into reports of failures in rear tie rods.
An additional 100,000 vehicles, including 99,000 RAV4s, are being recalled in Canada.
Four drivers reported they lost control while driving at high speeds.
Toyota says nine crashes and three minor injuries resulted from the problem.
The Japanese automaker told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the problem is not a manufacturing defect, but rather the result of improper tightening of turnbuckle nuts by service technicians.
Toyota said that if the nuts on the rear suspension arm are not tightened properly during a rear wheel alignment, excessive movement may occur at the threaded portion of the arm, followed by rust.
The automaker said it first began receiving reports of the condition in 2008, but didn't detect a "clear trend of failure" and said the failure rate was low. In August 2010, Toyota introduced a new suspension arm on the vehicles.
In August 2011, it inspected 52 vehicles and found that just one, with a history of rear wheel alignments, had loose nuts.
In May, Toyota received a complaint of a customer crash. The automaker inspected the scene of the crash and learned that non-factory applied lubricant had been used, evidence of rear wheel service. The company inspected 25 vehicles in service and found loose nuts on one vehicle.
NHTSA opened its investigation in June.
"Toyota has concluded that this issue is caused by the improper tightening of the lock nut during adjustment of the rear wheel alignment in the field," Toyota told NHTSA.
"However, Toyota decided to conduct a voluntarily safety recall campaign to ensure proper tightening of the lock nuts."
Toyota is developing a fix. Once the remedy is available, the automaker will notify vehicle owners.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ford Escape Accelerator Problems

The ABC15 Investigators are expanding a probe into a potential safety defect that has the federal government taking action.
A QUICK DECISION
Estee Piehl kept the tiny piece of plastic that she says almost ended her life.
“It’s a miracle that we escaped,” she said, holding the cruise control cable from her 2004 Ford Escape.
On April 14, 2010, Piehl was driving her 6-year-old son to soccer practice in Aurora, Colorado outside of Denver, when she accelerated to change lanes. She let her foot off the gas, but her car sped up.
She told her son, “Carson, mommy can’t stop the car. Carson, mommy is trying to stop the car, I’m trying but I can’t stop the car right now.”
“The only thing he said is, ‘Mommy, something’s burning,’” Piehl said. It was her brakes.
Gaining speed down a busy street, she had a quick decision to make – “whether to slam into the back of the cars in front of me going about 65 miles an hour,” she said, “or swerve into the continuing traffic.”
She chose to swerve and narrowly missed the other cars, she said.
Both feet slammed on the brake, she said she managed to slow the car down to about 55 miles per hour.
“Literally, just by the grace of God, there was a left-hand turn lane that was open,” she said, “so I was able to get over.”
Then she did the only thing experts say you can to stop a runaway car: Put it into neutral.
With a less experienced driver, Estee thinks the outcome could have been tragic.
“When this happened to me,” she said, “I specifically said, if this had been a teenager driving that car, they probably would have died.”
A TEENAGER’S DEATH
On Jan. 27 of this year, 17 year-old Saige Bloom died after her 2002 Ford Escape accelerated out of control and crashed in Payson, Arizona.
The ABC15 Investigators were there as Bill Williams, an inspector hired by the Bloom family, used a small camera on the end of a wire to look under the Escape’s hood for the first time. He claims he found what caused the crash: a damaged cruise control cable.
He says its cover broke, the cable stuck and it forced the throttle open – and the car to travel at very high speeds.
Ford tells ABC15 that the company hasn’t completed its own investigation into what caused the Bloom accident. At this time, no lawsuits have been filed about the Bloom accident.
Read Ford’s full statement on the Bloom accident below.
NHTSA’S INVESTIGATION
But Williams says the problem goes beyond Estee and Saige’s Escapes – to any Escape equipped with the same cruise control cable and engine cover design as the 2002-2004 V6 models.
“As long as that car is on the road,” he said, “it’s going to need service.”
The cruise control cable on some Ford Escapes can break too easily, creating the potential for sudden acceleration.
“I know that there’s more out there,” he said, “that are running around with that bind in there, just waiting for the right circumstance to happen.”
A Ford mechanic found the same type of broken cable and stuck throttle under the hood of Estee Piehl’s Escape in Colorado. “Fitting had become wedged due to the inner cable guide being broke,” the mechanic wrote when Piehl brought her car in for service after it accelerated out of control two years ago.
Now the federal government is concerned about the same issue.
After the ABC15 Investigation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into V6 engine Ford Escapes and Mazda Tributes for a potential safety defect that could lead to stuck throttles and vehicle crashes.
The agency is investigating 730,000 model year 2001-2004 Escapes and Tributes.
The agency says it found 99 complaints alleging stuck throttles in these SUVs, including 13 crashes, 9 injuries and one death. The complaints the agency is investigating include those of “accelerator cable failure, cruise control cable failure and/or stuck throttles,” according to NHTSA.
The agency has not reached any conclusions in its investigation and Ford tells ABC15, “we are aware of the investigation and we are fully cooperating with NHTSA on it.”
Mazda tells ABC15, “we are cooperating with NHTSA on their investigation and will advise on next steps at an appropriate time.”
The ABC15 Investigators found in complaints posted on NHTSA’s website that some owners of affected Escapes describe similar issues found in both Piehl’s Escape and the one Saige Bloom was driving the day she died.
In California, an owner wrote that “the cruise control cable failed and jammed the throttle cover” in a Ford Escape. In Ohio, another writes, “the cruise control cable was the cause of the failure.”
Estee Piehl’s is one of the 99 complaints cited in NHTSA’s investigation. Hers is case number 10325817.
“The dealer performed a diagnostic test which revealed that the vehicle cruise control cable had broken,” Piehl’s NHTSA complaint says.
Piehl says she’s still amazed that she and her son survived the incident.
“I’m just grateful that he’s going into third grade next year,” she said, “and we lived through it.”

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Jaime Jackson Joins the Academy of Product Safety Attorneys

Jaime Jackson Joins the Academy of Product Safety Attorneys

Tue, 07/31/2012
The Academy of Product Safety Attorneys (APSA) is a group which advocates for the safety of various common goods we use every day. Jaime’s part in this organization will be to aid in the creation of a unified voice against unsafe products along with the several other attorneys around the country. APSA takes the vast knowledge and experience lawyers have about the preventable tragedies brought on by faulty equipment and use it to better the quality of safety requirements for all products. The organization’s website includes stories written by members of ASPA that show the faces of defective products, and more importantly how this sort of problem could have been solved by the company. Through his knowledge of product safety teamed up with the other members of the academy, Jaime will help to increase safety standards of all products, and hopefully make everyday living a little more safe for everyone. Best of luck to Jaime and the efforts of APSA! To check out the ASPA website see The Academy of Product Safety Attorneys.

Hyundai Recalls for Airbag Problems

Hyundai is recalling 221,630 vehicles for airbag problems, according to filings today with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Of the total, 199,118 Santa Fe crossovers from the 2007 to 2009 model years are being recalled because of faulty front passenger-seat sensors that may not detect smaller adults. As a consequence, the passenger airbag may not deploy when required in a crash. Seat sensors measure weight and tell the airbag system whether or not to deactivate the passenger airbag -- such as when children are sitting up front or if the seat is unoccupied.

The remaining 22,512 are 2012 and 2013 Sonata sedans for side curtain airbags that can deploy inadvertently because of leaks in the gas inflater modules. The Sonata recall will begin in August. Hyundai owners can contact the company at 1-800-633-5151. Hyundai has not announced a recall date for the Santa Fe. No related injuries have been reported.

In September last year, Hyundai recalled 2007 and 2008 Santa Fe models because of driver's-side airbags that could fail to deploy. In March, 1,633 Sonata Hybrid models were recalled for center rear seatbelts that did not comply with NHTSA regulations; Hyundai petitioned the agency to not conduct further recalls because the issue was "inconsequential" to passenger safety. In 2010, Hyundai recalled more than 138,000 Sonata models because of loose steering-wheel joints and 5,833 Sonata models for door locks that wouldn't lock.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ford recalls 421,000 Escapes for Stuck Throttle Problems


Ford recalls 421,000 Escapes.


ABC World News (7/26, story 7, 0:25, Elliot, 8.2M) reported "nearly half a million SUVs, Ford Escapes and Mavericks being recalled after our Phoenix affiliate aired a series of investigations. The cars have what's called a sticky pedal. A defect in the cruise control cable that can cause the cars to speed out of control."

        The CBS Evening News (7/26, story 9, 0:20, Pelley, 6.1M) reported, "Thirteen crashes and one death have been linked to this defect." The Los Angeles Times (7/27, Hirsch, Times, 629K) notes that while the recall came "just a week after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an inquiry into the problem, noting 68 complaints, including 13 accidents, nine injuries and one fatality," a consumer watchdog group, the Center for Auto Safety, "said the automaker has not acted quickly enough and should be fined."

        Bloomberg News (7/27, Naughton, Plungis, 1M) says "almost 424,000 US vehicles with three-liter, six-cylinder engines will be covered under the recall, according to documents Ford provided to NHTSA.." NHTSA spokeswoman Karen Aldana said that an "investigation remains open, pending the agency's review of the documents provided by Ford in its recall action." She said, "NHTSA will continue to monitor any future issues...to ensure there are no additional safety risks that warrant further action."
        Also reporting this are USA Today (7/27, Woodyard), the AP (7/27), the New York Times (7/27, Jensen) "Wheels" blog, and Reuters (7/27).

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Stryker Hip Replacement Recall

Stryker Hip Replacement Recall


LANCASTER, PA, July 19, 2012 – Stryker Orthopedics recently announced the recall of two devices used in hip replacement surgeries: Rejuvenate and ABG II.

Stryker terminated distribution of the two hip replacement devices after fears of corrosion of the metal-on-metal components, which they said could lead to pain, swelling and adverse reactions in surrounding tissue. According to Styker the recall is due to post-market surveillance, meaning that there have already been several complaints of problems with the devices.

“Hip recalls are not like bringing your car in to the shop to have your floor mats fixed, we are dealing with real human losses to real people who need help,” said Jaime D. Jackson, Esq. a lawyer at Atlee Hall, LLP who specializes in products liability.

This is not Stryker’s first recall over metal-on-metal hip replacement devices. In April, Stryker recalled the Accolade femoral stem, which was used with the MITCH TRH modular head/acetabular cup, due to significantly high revision rates.

The experienced lawyers at Atlee Hall, LLP are evaluating possible lawsuits on behalf of victims injured by Stryker’s defective hip implant components. They are dedicated to fight for the rights of all victims and get them the compensation they deserve. They are there to help the Stryker hip recall victims to navigate through the complex recall waters and help make sure their rights are protected.

About Atlee Hall LLP

For over 30 years, Atlee Hall LLP has helped victims who have suffered from serious personal injuries due to the neglect of another. Atlee Hall, LLP is a full-service law firm with offices in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, but has represented clients across the nation. Their injury attorneys have over 125 years of combined experience. They have earned some of the highest ratings a law firm can have in the state of Pennsylvania. For more information on Atlee Hall, LLP, visit their website: www.atleehall.com

Peg Perego recalls 223,000 strollers amid safety concerns


Peg Perego recalls 223,000 strollers amid safety concerns.


ABC World News (7/24, story 9, 0:30, Sawyer) reported, "A consumer alert now about a huge recall of baby strollers. Tonight more than 200,000 strollers manufactured by Peg Perego are being recalled. There's a risk the child's head will become trapped between the seat and the tray, which could strangle the child. One death has already been reported. Two models, both older, manufactured between 2004 and 2007, are being recalled."

        The Wall Street Journal (7/25, Jones, Subscription Publication) reports that Peg Perego USA Inc. is now recalling about 223,000 strollers because of concerns over safety risks. The safety concerns are especially related to the death of a six-month-old baby from strangulation eight years ago in Tarzana, California. The Journal notes that the US Consumer Product Safety Commission found that the baby was strangled when his head became trapped between the seat and the tray of his Peg Perego stroller.

        CNN (7/25, Sperry) reports on its website that in a separate incident in 2006, "a 7-month-old New York girl nearly died from similar circumstances." The story quotes the CPSC as saying of the Peg Perego stroller, "Entrapment and strangulation can occur, especially to infants younger than 12 months of age, when a child is not harnessed. An infant can pass through the opening between the stroller tray and seat bottom, but his/her head and neck can become entrapped by the tray. Infants who become entrapped at the neck are at risk of strangulation." The Digital Journal (7/25, Goessl) and the Minneapolis Star Tribune (7/25, Stoxen) "Health Check" blog offer similar coverage.

Ford Recalls Escapes for Fuel Line Problems

Ford recalls 9,320 Escapes for fuel line problems
Ford Motor Co. is recalling 9,320 Ford Escape SUVs, model year 2013, for possible
fuel line problems.

The vehicles in the recall have engine compartment fuel lines whose exterior surfaces may have been mechanically scored during manufacture, Ford told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. When installed onto a barbed connector fitting, a scored fuel line may develop a split that can result in a leak, the auto maker said.

TI Group Automotive Systems of Ashley, Ind., was the supplier of the fuel lines, Ford said.

Ford manufactured the recalled vehicles at its assembly plant in Louisville, Ky., between Oct. 8, 2011 and July 11,

2012, the company said. Ford first noticed a problem with the vehicles when a Ford employee at Louisville, driving a vehicle to the shipping lot, noticed an underhood fire, it said.

Ford will replace the fuel lines free of charge. It notified dealers of the recall July 18 and owners the week of July 20.

The company is warning owners not to drive their vehicles until the replacement is made and advising them to contact their Ford or Lincoln dealers to arrange vehicle pickup. Ford will provide rental cars as needed

Monday, July 16, 2012

Stryker Orthopaedics Recalls Rejuvenate Modular Hip System

Stryker Orthopaedics Recalls Rejuvenate Modular Hip System

In July 2012, Stryker Orthopaedics voluntarily recalled its Rejuvenate Modular Hip System. The recall includes both Stryker’s Rejuvenate Modular and ABG II modular-neck hip stems.

Risks

Stryker initiated this voluntary recall due to potential risk associated with modular-neck stems. This risk includes:
  • possible fretting and/or corrosion at the modular-neck junction, which may result in pain and/or swelling.
Other risks associated with Stryker’s hip replacements include:
  • Joint loosening/dislocation
  • Device wear and tear, such as corrosion and fretting
  • Excessive metal debris leading to metal ion generation
  • Inflammation of tissue
  • Hypersensitivity/allergic response
  • Broken devices

History of Problems with Stryker’s Hip Implants

Stryker Orthopaedic’s voluntary recall follows a May 2012 Health Canada recall and an April 2012 Urgent Safety Alert that Stryker released about serious health risks associated with the product.
The FDA issued warnings to the company from 2005 – 2007 before instituting, in January 2008, a nationwide recall of parts manufactured for use in the socket portion of hip replacements. The FDA recalled the products citing reports that the methods used in Stryker’s manufacturing plants did not conform with good manufacturing practices and that ‘manufacturing residuals’ at levels that exceeded company standards could contaminate the components.

Senator Questions NHTSA on Toyota Investigation


Grassley writes NHTSA over Toyota investigation.


In an article carried by 91 outlets, the AP (7/13) reported that Sen. Charles Grassley sent a letter Thursday to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which questioned "whether the government thoroughly investigated electronic gremlins that could have caused Toyota vehicles to accelerate unexpectedly." According to Grassley, "key questions remain unanswered about what caused Toyota's unintended acceleration problems, despite investigations by NHTSA and NASA that found electronic defects weren't to blame." Specifically, "Grassley questions whether a phenomenon called 'tin whiskers' inside the gas pedal assembly or other electronics could be a cause, citing information sent to his office by whistleblowers." In his letter, Grassley requested that NHTSA explain its stance on tin whiskers and whether they could have caused unintended acceleration in Toyota. NHTSA said it would respond to Grassley's letter. Lynda Tran, a NHTSA spokeswoman, said in a statement that the known reasons for unintended acceleration in Toyotas were sticking accelerator pedals and gas pedals that became trapped by floor matting.

        The Los Angeles Times (7/13, Puzzanghera) reported, "Grassley said whistle-blowers recently have provided his office with information suggesting that the investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with the help of NASA engineers, 'may have been too narrow." Grassley also wrote "that NASA engineers said just because they did not find proof that Toyota Motor Corp.'s electronic throttle control system caused the reports of unintended acceleration 'does not mean it could not occur.'"

Friday, July 13, 2012

Stryker Recalls Hip Replacement Devices

Stryker Recalls Hip Replacement Devices
Stryker Orthopaedics has voluntarily recalled two brands of devices used in conjunction with artificial hips in hip replacement surgeries, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration U.S. Food and Drug Administration
There have been at least 45 adverse event reports from patients who say the devices caused pain and/or tissue swelling.
Michigan-based Stryker, which has its biotech division in Hopkinton, Mass., said this week it would remove Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck stems, which attach to artificial hips, from the market and cease global distribution. The company said the incidence of complications is extremely low, but patients who experience symptoms of pain and/or swelling at the local joint site not attributable to other conditions, should speak to their surgeon.
“While modular-neck stems provide surgeons with an option to correct certain aspects of a patient’s anatomy and hip biomechanics, given the potential risks associated with fretting and corrosion at the modular neck junction, Stryker Orthopaedics decided to take this voluntary action,” Stryker Vice President and General Manager of Hip Reconstruction Stuart Simpson said in a statement.
Simpson said the company would work with the medical community to better understand the problems with the devices as the company continues to evaluate the adverse event data. This includes at least 45 reports of injuries, using the Rejuvenate modular-neck stem, since the beginning of 2012, according to the FDA.
The company is encouraging patients who received a Rejuvenate Modular or ABG II modular-neck stem to contact their surgeon. A dedicated patient call center can be reached at 1-888-317-0200 and additional information can be found at www.AboutStryker.com/ModularNeckStems3

Recall Repairs on 2002-2004 Ford Escapes Questioned by Safety Advocate

Recall Repairs on 2002-2004 Ford Escapes Questioned by Safety Advocate
The Center for Auto Safety has filed a petition with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asking the agency to investigate nearly 320,000 Ford Escapes that could have damaged cruise control cables stemming from recall repairs for an unrelated acceleration problem.
According to the center, the cables were damaged during a recall of 470,000 Escapes from the 2002-2004 model years to prevent accelerator cables from getting caught on the accelerator pedal. Repairs made during the recall keep the pedal from returning and the throttle body from going back to idle position, which can cause unintended acceleration, the petition stated.
Ford said it is investigating the matter but has reached no conclusions yet.
The Center for Auto Safety, in Washington, claims Ford knew about potential damage because of an October 2005 bulletin sent to its dealers containing "updated illustrations" and a "warning regarding the correct procedures to follow when replacing the accelerator cable" that were different from an earlier bulletin.
The updated bulletin said the speed control cables could be damaged during the accelerator cable replacement.
Clarence Ditlow, the center's executive director and a longtime safety advocate, said in an interview that it's shocking that Ford, given its history with defective Firestone tires and the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation -- or TREAD -- Act, wouldn't immediately do another recall.
Letter to Mulally
Ditlow said the center is going to send a follow-up letter to Ford CEO Alan Mulally today asking the company "to get it over with now" and not to go through with the investigation.
"I would expect this to be resolved very quickly. It's so clear cut that they need another recall," Ditlow said. "To me, there are only two issues. One, are they going to have to recall more vehicles than the first batch, which is the V-6 made in the Ohio and Kansas City plants. Two, how big is the fine going to be that NHTSA hits them with."
The center said in the petition that Ford, which never filed a defect report with NHTSA initiating a second recall, didn't inform the 319,506 owners of possible damage to their cruise control cables following the "faulty" recall repairs.
"They should've done a second recall right then and there," Ditlow said. "That would've at least picked up the cables that had been damaged by the earlier repair."
'Lethal consequences'
The center says Ford's inaction had "lethal consequences" in the death of 17-year-old Saige Bloom, who died in a January wreck after her 2002 Escape experienced sudden unintended acceleration in Payson, Ariz.
The vehicle had been repaired in January 2005 after the initial recall but before Ford sent the new bulletin to dealers about updated repair procedures, according to the petition.
It was later found that the vehicle, which was inspected with a borescope "in the presence of Ford officials," had a "kinked" cruise control cable that was jammed against a ridge in the engine cover.
"It really is sad it took a 17-year-old's death to uncover this defect. It shouldn't have happened," Ditlow said.
An inspector for the Bloom family made a video documenting the failure of the accelerator system and sent it to Ford in 2007.
Ford provided a statement regarding Bloom's death.
"We offer our deepest sympathies to the Bloom family for their tragic loss. We are in the midst of our investigation, and we have not reached any conclusions," the company said. "We will work closely with NHTSA to determine the cause of the crash and will take appropriate action if warranted by the outcome of the investigation."
The New York Times reported the story earlier today.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Problem of Distracted Driving

The Problem of Distracted Driving


• 80% of all collisions and 65% of near crashes have some form of driver inattention

as contributing factors. That is over 4,000,000 crashes per year in North

America that are caused by driver distraction.

• Cell phone use is attributed to 18% of fatalities in distraction-related crashes.

What makes up the other 82%? Putting on lipstick, reaching over to grab a drink,

changing the music, reading a roadmap, eating on the go. The distractions are

endless. But they don’t have to be.

• Talking on a cell phone makes a driver 4 times more likely to have a crash or

near crash event. Texting makes them 23 times more likely to have this happen.

• Texting slows driver reaction time even more than alcohol!

NHTSA Investigating Toyota, Honda, GM Vehicles for Safety Issues

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Friday it is opening a preliminary investigation into the 2006-08 Toyota RAV4 over rust-related failure of rear tie rods.

The agency has also agreed to review consumer defect petitions claiming problems with the 2005 Honda Pilot and 2007-09 GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook.
In opening the Toyota investigation, NHTSA said it had received seven complaints of failures for rear suspension arm assembly No.1, typically referred to as a rear "tie rod."
Four of the complaints said the failure occurred while driving at speeds of 35 mph or greater causing a temporary loss of vehicle control.
Pictures show the wheel adjacent to the failed component severely out of wheel alignment with respect to toe and camber.
Separately, NHTSA said it will review a petition requesting investigation of 2008 Saturn Outlook and similar vehicles for loss of low beam headlamp illumination.
The petitioner reported that the wiring harness inside the headlamp assembly of his 2008 Saturn Outlook had overheated and subsequently melted.
NHTSA has received 415 consumer complaints between April 2008 and May regarding this condition in the 2007-09 Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia.
NHTSA will review the petition and related field data to assess whether a safety defect investigation is warranted.
GM spokesman Alan Adler said the automaker began a Customer Satisfaction Program in December to provide free replacements and reimbursements for previous repairs for complaints of overheating headlamp bulb connectors in 2007-09 model year Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadias.
To date, more than 60 percent of 343,000 vehicles covered in the U.S. program have been repaired. Customers included in the program were notified by letter and have until Dec. 31, 2013, to have service performed free of charge.
NHTSA also said it was reviewing an April petition over alleged failures in stability control in 2005 Honda Pilot vehicles from an Arlington, Mass., woman.
The petitioner alleges that "in the malfunctioning of these systems, steering failures occur and the brakes apply involuntarily."
NHTSA has identified 35 reports, including the petitioner's complaint, that appear to be related to inappropriate stability control system activation in 2005 Honda Pilots.
One complaint said: "We had our 2-year-old and newborn in a car which screeched to an unexpected full stop in the middle of an intersection halfway through a turn."
Inappropriate stability control system activation is typically perceived by the driver as inappropriate autonomous brake application, resulting in unexpected vehicle deceleration, and may also include allegations of steering pull and/or lane departure.
The first incident was reported to NHTSA in 2006. Ten of the incidents have been reported in the last 12 months. NHTSA will decide whether it will open a formal investigation.

Another Kia Recall, This for Faulty Brake Pedal in BorregoKia's

Another Kia Recall, This for Faulty Brake Pedal in BorregoKia's hit by another recall, this one for Borrego SUVs with fragile brake pedal mounts.

Yesterday, Kia announced a recall of 2006 through 2008 Rio subcompacts because front passenger air bags might deploy when they shouldn't. Here's the earlier post on that one.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the latest call-back is because a brake pedal mount in 21,912 of the 2009 Borregos, built May 2, 2008, through Jan. 20, 2009, isn't sturdy enough and could break in a crash.
That would leave the parking brake as the only way to keep the vehicle from continuing to roll or being involved in a second impact, NHTSA says.
Kia is to fix the problem free. The recall is campaign number SC096, and owners can contact Kia about it at 800-333-4542. NHTSA's hotline is 888-327-4236.
The Rio air bag recall is because a sensor in the front passenger's seat can malfunction and fail to keep the air bag from deploying if a child is sitting in that seat. Air bags can injure children because they can inflate too powerfully for child-size bodies. That's why many states have laws requiring kids to ride in back until a certain age.

J&J to Stop Selling Pelvic Mesh Tied to Lawsuits

Johnson & Johnson plans to stop selling surgical mesh implants used to treat women's health problems, which have been linked to injuries and triggered hundreds of lawsuits.

The company sent a letter Monday to judges in New Jersey and West Virginia who are overseeing patient lawsuits against the company. J&J said it plans to phase out four mesh products over the next three to nine months.
The plastic mesh is used to strengthen the pelvic wall in cases of pelvic organ prolapse, in which the bladder or other reproductive organs slip down into the vagina. About 75,000 women had prolapse surgery with mesh inserted through the vagina last year. A similar procedure using an incision in the abdomen is less common.
J&J said the mesh products are safe and that it is not recalling them.
"Our decision to discontinue these products is based on their commercial viability in light of changing market dynamics, and is not related to safety or efficacy," the New Brunswick, N.J., company said in a statement.
But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported last year that the implants were associated with higher rates of pain, bleeding and infection than traditional surgery with stitches. The agency said 10% of women experienced erosion or exposure of the mesh within 12 months of having the mesh implanted. More than half of these women required follow-up surgery to remove the mesh. Some required three surgeries.
At the same time, the FDA said it saw no evidence that using mesh led to better outcomes than traditional surgery with stitches.
In January, the FDA ordered J&J and five other companies to conduct rigorous studies to track the complication rates with their products over time. J&J said in its letter it expects the FDA to waive that requirement once it phases out the products.
Consumer safety advocates hailed the announcement as a victory.
"These companies know they will never be able to prove safety and efficacy of these devices in the studies mandated by the FDA in January of this year," said Lana Keeton, a Miami resident who has undergone 17 surgeries to remove mesh that was implanted in 2001. Keeton's group, Truth in Medicine, has lobbied the FDA on the risks of mesh in recent years.

Jeep Cherokee Fire Investigation Growing




ABC World News (6/17, story 9, 2:05, Muir) reported, "troubling news, safety questions this evening, about some of the most popular SUVs on American roads," the Jeep Grand Cherokee. "The investigation is now growing into whether some Jeeps run a greater risk of catching on fire if the gas tank is hit." ABC (Schriffen) added that the government is investigating Grand Cherokee models made between 1993 and 2004, Cherokees made between 1993 to 2001, and Liberty models made between 2002 to 2007. "Clarence Ditlow, Center for Auto Safety" said, "We have 3.5 million Jeep Grand Cherokees, Cherokees and Liberties, driving around with defective fuel systems that, if hit in the rear, can result in a fuel leak and a catastrophic fire." Schriffen reported that government statistics claim that up to 15 people have been fatally burned to death because of the manufacturing flaw.