Friday, June 28, 2013

Judge selected for Paterno family lawsuit. (6/28, Nichols) reports, “Senior Judge John B. Leete, from Potter County, will preside over the Paterno family’s case against the NCAA.” Notably, “Leete was assigned to the case on Thursday by Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald Castille, nearly a month after Centre County District Judge Thomas Kistler filed the request.” Furthermore, the article mentions that all judges in Centre County recused themselves from the case. A court date has not yet been set in the suit, which goes after the NCAA for “breach of contract, civil conspiracy, defamation and commercial disparagement.”

        The Allentown (PA) Morning Call (6/27, Hall, 86K) reports, “Leete retired after his term ended in 2010 but still serves as a senior judge hearing cases in Coudersport, Potter County. Centre County Court has requested that out-of-county judges hear all cases related to the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal.”

        The State College (PA) Centre Daily Times (6/28, Dawson, 18K) also covered the story.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

GM expands SUV recall, advises owners to park vehicles outside.

In continuing coverage, NBC Nightly News (6/17, story 12, 0:25, Williams, 7.86M) reported, “GM is recalling over 200,000 mid-size SUVs because of a fire risk that is serious enough to force the company to advise owners not to park them in the garage, but outside instead until the problem can be corrected.”

        The New York Times (6/17, Jensen, 1.68M) reports, “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration pursuaded General Motors to recall almost 194,000 more 2005-7 sport utility vehicles for an electrical problem that could cause fires” and that a similar recall affecting about 278,000 vehicles was issued last year in certain states. The Times notes that “G.M. had resisted both recalls, wanting instead to provide some owners with an extended warranty, according to two documents – one from 2012 and another posted over the weekend on N.H.T.S.A.’s Web site.” Meanwhile, “safety advocates like The Center for Auto Safety have routinely criticized regional recalls, saying they save automakers money and may miss vehicles that need repairs.”

        The Los Angeles Times (6/17, Hirsch, 692K) reports that “GM said it knows of six fires and one injury caused by the problem among this group of cars. Previously, it recalled 249,000 similar models for the same problem.” Meanwhile, GM said that “as a precaution, owners are advised to park outside until the remedy has been made.”

        Also reporting are CNN Money (6/17) and the Christian Science Monitor (6/17, Belsie, 47K).

Showdown looms over Chrysler recalls.

USA Today (6/17, Healey, 1.71M) reports that a showdown looms “over Chrysler Group defying the federal government’s request that it recall 2.7 million Jeeps because of fires,” but “the issue might largely be moot because there’s a 10-year limit on recalls. ‘If Chrysler is really obstinate, it could invoke the 10-year statute of limitations,’ notes Clarence Ditlow, head of the Center for Auto Safety, an advocacy group.” USA notes that Chrysler “has been adamant that there is no defect in its 2002 through 2007 Jeep Liberty and 1993 through 2004 Grand Cherokee SUVs, and says it won’t recall them. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which says those models have too many deaths from fires when the Jeeps are hit from behind, has given the automaker a deadline of Tuesday to change its mind. If Chrysler formally refuses, it begins a process involving public hearings and additional investigation before NHTSA would then decide whether to ask the Justice Department to sue Chrysler to force a recall.”

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Atlee Hall Verdict Recognized in Top 10 in Pennsylvania in 2012

The Atlee Hall Law Firm congratulates Partner Jaime Jackson and Paralegal Deborah Keeports on their successful fight for their clients in the Estate of Sherrie Burkhardt vs. the York Hospital, et al. resulting in a six million dollar verdict.  This verdict was recently recognized as one of the top Pennsylvania verdicts of 2012.  This verdict was ranked as number 7 on Verdict Searches top Pennsylvania verdicts.  This trial highlighted the hospital and cardiology practice’s violation of patient safety rules and the failure of health care providers to talk to each other and communicate clearly with each other concerning the patient’s condition.

NHTSA sues electric motorcycle company over ineffective recall.

The Detroit News (6/13, Shepardson, 119K) reports, “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has filed suit against a California-based importer of Chinese-made electric motorcycles, seeking $17.35 million in civil fines and $3,100 refunds to owners after the agency says the company has repeatedly failed to fix unsafe braking systems.” The News explains that “NHTSA filed suit in U.S. District Court in Washington last month claiming ZAP, the Santa Rosa, Calif.-based importer of electric three-wheel motorcycles, had failed to develop a remedy to fix unsafe vehicles.” NHTSA said in its 20-page Federal lawsuit that “not only did ZAP provide conflicting or inadequate information to NHTSA about its recalls, but for years, its claims of having developed an effective repair remedy were proven wrong.”

Chrysler recalling Ram pickup trucks over axle fracture issue.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune (6/13, 335K) reports, “Chrysler Group is recalling 6,900 heavy-duty Ram pickup trucks from the 2012 model year because part of the front axle could fracture and cause them to lose power.” The Star Tribune notes that “the automaker said Wednesday that the front prop shaft, which connects the engine to the axle, can bind or fracture.” According to the Star Tribune, “Chrysler investigated the issue after getting two reports of damage” but the company doesn’t know of any accidents related to the defect.
        Reuters (6/13, Woodall) also reports

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Chrysler refuses NHTSA request to recall Jeep vehicles.

There was extensive of Chrysler’s refusal to recall 2.7 million Jeep vehicles in spite of a request made by the NHTSA. The three major network news broadcasts devoted over four minutes to the topic and the story was covered extensively in both national and local print media as well as in many local news broadcasts. Coverage of the NHTSA was neutral in tone with most reports noting that it is extremely rare for automaker to refuse a request made by the NHTSA to issue a recall.

        ABC World News (6/4, lead story, 3:20, Sawyer, 7.43M) reported that “today the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration called on Chrysler to recall all older model Jeep Grand Cherokees and Jeep Liberties, saying the defect presents an unreasonable risk because people [in the vehicles] and in striking vehicles have burned to death in rear-impact crashes.” However, the CBS Evening News (6/4, story 9, 0:35, Pelley, 5.58M) noted that “in a rare move today, Chrysler refused the recall request insisting that the cars are safe.” Meanwhile, “it would take a court order to force a recall.” NBC Nightly News (6/4, story 7, 0:45, Williams, 7.86M) noted that the vehicles in question are “Jeep Grand Cherokees from ‘93 through ‘04 model years and Jeep Liberties from 2002 through ‘07.”

        The New York Times (6/5, Vlasic, Subscription Publication, 1.68M) reports that “the refusal has ignited a rare public battle between Chrysler, the nation’s third-largest automaker, and federal regulators.” Chrysler said in a statement, “We believe N.H.T.S.A.’s initial conclusions are based on an incomplete analysis of the underlying data, and we are committed to continue working with the agency to resolve this disagreement.” Meanwhile, “the agency said it may pursue a formal decision to label the vehicles defective, which would include public hearings and the release of details of the government’s investigation.”

        The AP (6/4, Krisher, Durbin) points out that “David Strickland, the agency’s administrator, said in a statement that he hopes Chrysler will reconsider its decision. ‘Our data shows that these vehicles may contain a defect that presents an unreasonable risk to safety,’ Strickland said.”

        USA Today (6/4, Healey, 1.71M) reports, “Government data show 44 deaths in 32 rear-end crashes and fires involving the Grand Cherokees that it wants recalled, and seven deaths in five Liberty rear-impact/fire crashes.” However, “Adjusted for the number of Jeeps on the road, the Grand Cherokees had a rear-crash fire death rate of just 1 per million registered vehicle years; the Liberty, 0.9” Meanwhile, “NHTSA says similar SUVs sold by other companies had rates of around 0.5, so the Jeeps ‘are poor performers.’”

        Bloomberg News (6/5, Plungis) relates that “NHTSA’s letter, written by Frank Borris, enforcement director of the agency’s defects investigations office, included pictures of burned and burning Jeep models involved in accidents.” Meanwhile, “Chrysler said in its statement that all the vehicles under scrutiny meet or exceed federal safety standards, including those relating to fuel-system integrity.” However, “Karen Aldana, a NHTSA spokeswoman, said she didn’t have an immediate response to Chrysler’s statement.”

        The Los Angeles Times (6/4, Bensinger, 692K) explains that “as the nation’s auto safety regulator, the NHTSA has the power to request recalls, but it cannot enforce them. To do so, it must ask the Justice Department to sue on its behalf.”

        Also covering the story are the Detroit Free Press (6/5, Snavely, 280K), the Detroit News (6/5, Shepardson, 119K), Forbes (6/4, Muller, 928K), the Wall Street Journal (6/5, Rogers, Subscription Publication, 2.29M), Reuters (6/5, Woodall, Seetharaman), Quartz (6/5, Nair), Michigan Radio (6/5, Samilton), WRC-TV Washington (6/5, Crenshaw, Petitte), CNN Money (6/4, Isidore), MLive (6/5, Wayland), WUSA-TV Washington (6/5, Wilson), WXYZ-TV Detroit (6/5, Vaughn), NBC News (6/5, LeBeau), and ABC News (6/5).

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

June 03, 2013 1:39 PM

Ford recalls more than 465,000 vehicles, including Fusion, Lincoln MKZ

From Automotive News

| |   | |

The recall includes more than 122,600 2013 Ford Fusions.

Ford Motor Co. said it is recalling more than 465,000 vehicles in several popular models -- including the 2013 Ford Fusion sedan -- after discovering problems with fuel delivery modules, engine block heaters and missing steering gear parts.
A Ford spokeswoman said today that three different recalls for several of its best-selling cars were sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last week. The biggest recall affects about 465,000 vehicles.
The 2013 Ford Explorer SUV, Taurus sedan, Flex crossover, Fusion sedan, Police Interceptor Utility and Police Interceptor Sedan; and the 2013 Lincoln MKS sedan, MKT crossover, and MKZ sedan are all being recalled because a fuel delivery module in the vehicles’ fuel tanks may leak, representing a fire risk. Customers affected by the defect may smell a fuel odor or observe leaks.
Ford said it had received 600 complaints about the leaks since March 31 but said it has not received reports of any fires, accidents or injuries as a result. The recall affects about 465,000 vehicles throughout the world.
Here’s how the recall breaks down by model:
• Explorer: 190,896
• Taurus: 79,567
• Flex: 27,574
• Fusion: 122,638
• Police Interceptor Utility: 8,384
• Police Interceptor Sedan: 11,517
• MKS: 13,381
• MKT: 6,599
• MKZ: 5,512
The geographical breakdown is:
• 389,151 vehicles in the United States;
• 23,420 in Canada;
• 7,563 in Mexico; and
• More than 45,000 in Europe, South America, Asia Pacific, Africa and elsewhere.
Ford also is recalling 500 2013 Lincoln MKZ sedans --107 in the United States and 393 in Canada -- that are equipped with engine block heaters. The company says insulation on the heaters’ 120-volt electrical cords may crack in subzero temperatures, exposing electrical wire. Ford says the defect could cause corrosion or shock individuals who handle the heaters, though it has received no reports of either problem occurring in the field.
MKZ problems
The launch of the 2013 MKZ was delayed about four months while Lincoln sorted out quality glitches at Ford’s factory in Hermosillo, Mexico. Some MKZs were shipped to Ford’s assembly plant in Flat Rock, Mich., for quality inspections and repairs during the winter.
The delays angered some dealers, who said they received conflicting explanations from Lincoln, resulting in lost credibility and lost orders from customers. Lincoln executives insisted that they didn’t want to ship vehicles until all quality problems were sorted out.
Ford also is recalling 23 2013 Fusion sedans for faulty steering gears. Drivers of those vehicles may experience impaired steering or loss of steering control because the cars may have been manufactured without an internal retaining clip, a part that often holds two parts of a vehicle’s assembly together. The cars were built at the Hermosillo plant between April 19 and 23, 2013.
The company said 20 of the affected Fusions are in the United States, one is in Canada, and two are in Mexico. Ford says five of the 20 in the United States have already been repaired.
Previous recalls
The 2013 Fusion -- Ford’s best-selling car in the United States so far this year -- was the subject of two recalls in late 2012, one for faulty headlamps and one for coolant system leaks. The latter recall also included the 2013 Escape.
Ford said today it sold 136,833 Fusions in the U.S. market through May, a 22 percent gain over the same five months of 2012.
This is also not the first time a problem has been reported with the 2013 Explorer’s fuel tank. The Explorer, along with the Taurus and Lincoln MKS, were recalled in March for faulty sealing on side of the tanks.
The latest recalls were not posted on NHTSA’s Web site as of Monday morning. The Detroit News reported the recalls on Friday.
Bradford Wernle contributed to this report.

Ford recalling 465,000 vehicles over fuel leaks.

The New York Times (6/3, Jensen, 1.68M) reports, “About 465,000 2013 Fords are being recalled worldwide because of concern about fuel leaks, the automaker has informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.” The Times notes that “Ford says the Explorer, Taurus, Flex, Fusion and police models – the Interceptor Utility and Interceptor Sedan – are included in the recall, as are the Lincoln MKS, MKT and MKZ.” Kelli Felker, a Ford spokesman, wrote in an email that “according to the report, a fuel delivery module could leak, resulting in a gasoline odor and possible fuel spills,” however, the automaker does not know of any fires related to the defect.

        The Los Angeles Times (6/3, Undercoffler, 692K) reports that “the automaker has received 600 complaints as of March 31, said Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker.”
        Also reporting are Reuters (6/3) and Cars (6/3, Schmitz) reports