Monday, March 31, 2014

GM expands vehicle recall by 971,000 cars built 2007-2011.

In continuing coverage of the General Motors vehicle recalls over problems with ignition switches, the volume of coverage erupted following GM’s announcement yesterday of additional recalls. Several national outlets and wires are reporting on the new recall numbers, with many others addressing the overall recall scandal and the government’s response in both DOT and Congress.
        The CBS Evening News (3/28, story 5, 1:50, Pelley, 5.58M) broadcast that early yesterday evening, GM announced it would be enlarging the number of vehicles so that the list “includes newer models.” CBS reporter Jeff Glor says, “it’s a recall of every single car manufactured under six different models,” recalling 971,000 more cars. The broadcast continues, GM counts “at least 12 deaths in 31 crashes” because of the problem, although the company “didn’t start the recalls until last month,” despite having known of the ignition issue since 2001. Furthermore, the broadcast mentions that GM CEO Mary Barra will be appearing before Congress on Tuesday. The automaker is going to start repairs on the switches “in two weeks, but they could take months to complete.”
        NBC Nightly News (3/28, story 5, 1:35, Williams, 7.86M) broadcast that the cars in this latest recall “were built from 2008 to 2011 and the vehicles include the Chevy Cobalt and HHR, the Pontiac G5 and Solstice and the Saturn Ion and Sky,” but “unlike the older vehicles no deaths have been officially linked to these models.” The broadcast explains that GM is taking “an abundance of caution” in dealing with the issue. Also, yesterday, GM further “told dealers to stop selling 2013 and 2014 models of the Chevy Cruze with 1.4 liter turbo engines” but “has not given a reason for that order.”
        In a long “AP Impact” report, the AP (3/29, Krisher, Durbin) focuses on how NHTSA handled 164 complaints submitted by 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt drivers since 2005, which “was far more” complaints “than any of the car’s competitors from the same model years, except for Toyota Corolla, which was recalled after a government investigation in 2010.” Though the report implies that NHTSA should have done more to address the concerns, it also considers the difficulty of determining vehicle issues. The report mentions that Secretary Foxx last week requested an “internal investigation” of the agency’s response to the GM problems, noting the letter in which Foxx made the appeal, where he stated that there was nothing he knew of to suggest that NHTSA “failed to properly carry out its safety mission based on the data available to it and the processes followed.” Foxx also “said that GM didn’t give the government enough information.” Still, the report makes a point to say “sometimes NHTSA acts quickly ... the agency investigated electric car maker Tesla Motors after just two reports of vehicle fires and no injuries.” The AP (3/29) also reports under the headline “Major Events In GM’s Recall Of 1.6 Million Cars.”
        Bold Ride (3/28, Kennedy, 96K) reports online that “NHTSA has had its staff cut by one fifth and its budget ‘stagnate’ in the years since the Ford Explorer safety scandal in 2000,” after which Congress passed a law to bolster the agency’s investigation powers. The report is sympathetic with the staff cuts, saying that “51 versus 248 million,” or the estimated number of cars in the US, “is a lop-sided contest, no matter the competition,” continuing by saying the agency “is terribly underfunded and understaffed.”

Friday, March 28, 2014

Boating and water safety course set for April 12 at Muddy Run Park

( U. S. Coast Guard auxiliary flotilla 14-01 of Lancaster will be presenting a Pa. Basic Boating course from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 12, at the Muddy Run Recreational Center at Muddy Run Park, 172 Bethesda Church Road West, Holtwood.
Registration will begin at 7:45 a.m. Cost will be $15 per registrant. Advance reservations are required because of space limitations.

The boat and water safety course topics include "Introduction to Boating," "Boating Law," "Safety Equipment" and "Trailering," as well as other boating tips.

The class is mandatory for all operators of personal water craft, for persons 12 to 15 years of age who operate a boat with over a 10 HP motor and for persons born after Jan. 1, 1982, who operate a boat with greater than a 25 HP motor.

Upon successful completion of the course, each student will be eligible to receive a certificate from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, which is valid in all 50 states.

Send your name, address and phone number along with check made payable to U.S.C.G. Aux., 14-01, to Matthew Samley, FSO-PE, 2309 Bob White Lane, Lancaster, Pa. 17601, by April 5.

For additional information. contact Matt at 581-3434.

Earlier GM recall may have averted most Cobalt deaths

Here is an article in Automotive News about the GM Cobalt recall, What GM knew, and when they knew it.

GM Ignition Recall

Upton wants to know why existing rules did not catch GM problems.

USA Today (3/28, Spangler, 5.82M) reports House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton wants to know why regulations did not catch problems with General Motors ignition switches sooner. Upton “was the prime sponsor” of 2000 legislation creating regulations for reporting to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. He said Thursday, “We were very surprised with the revelations that came forward the last couple of weeks. ... We’re going to see what the time line really was. Who tried to connect the dots and why they weren’t connected.” The Washington Post (3/28, Fletcher, 2.33M) says Upton’s remarks came “as lawmakers prepare to grill” GM CEO Mary Barra and NHTSA officials next week.
        Blumenthal wants GM to advise consumers not to drive affected cars. Reuters (3/28) reports Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Thursday that GM should warn consumers not to drive recalled cars. In a letter to Barra, he wrote, “I urge you to issue a stronger warning to drivers of recalled vehicles of the acknowledged risk they are facing, including a warning not to drive recalled cars. This warning should be issued as soon as possible.” 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Nissan recalling over one million vehicles for airbag issue

(Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co (7201.T)(NSANF.PK) is recalling 1,053,479 vehicles globally, mostly in the United States, to fix software that could deactivate the front passenger airbag.

The vehicle occupant classification system software may incorrectly classify the passenger seat as empty, deactivating the airbag and increasing the risk of an injury in a crash, according to documents filed with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Nissan identified two accidents in which the passenger airbag did not deploy, according to the NHTSA documents, but a Nissan spokesman said the company could not draw any conclusions about that being related to the software issue.

The recall, which entails updating the software free of charge, is expected to begin in mid-April, according to the NHTSA documents.

Affected vehicles include the 2013-2014 Altima sedan and Sentra small car and Pathfinder SUV; 2013-2014 Leaf electric car; the 2013 Infiniti JX35 crossover vehicle; and the 2014 Infiniti Q50 sedan and QX60 crossover; as well as the 2013 Nissan NV 200 cargo van, according to the NHTSA documents.

Click here to continue reading.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

GM Ignition Recall

        Observers ask if NHTSA “dropped the ball” on GM defects. The Wall Street Journal (3/26, White, Bennett, Subscription Publication, 4.25M) reports that NHTSA is coming under increased scrutiny after evidence has surfaced that the agency missed signs pointing toward defective ignition switches in certain GM vehicles. In addition to congressional investigations, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has ordered a review that determine how NHTSA can improve its data analysis. The Journal also notes that Foxx has told Congress that agency officials didn’t know everything GM knew about the ignition switch problems. “It is our belief that had we known there was an issue, that might have changed the outcome of those initial crash investigations,” Foxx said.
        Herb Weisbaum writes at NBC News (3/26, 950K) that “consumer advocates want to see things change at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration” because “they believe these dangerous vehicles would have been recalled many years ago had the safety agency done its job.” According to Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, “NHTSA is simply not protecting the public from safety defects as it’s supposed to do.”
        Safety advocates question whether NHTSA has sufficient resources. Bloomberg News (3/26, Plungis, 392K) reports, “The U.S. office responsible for monitoring safety defects in cars has had its budget stagnate and its staff cut by one-fifth from highs more than a decade ago, when Congress tried to strengthen it.” Bloomberg News notes that “while no one has connected cuts to the failure to order a recall earlier of 1.6 million General Motors Co. cars linked to 12 deaths, safety advocates say U.S. investigators don’t have enough resources to keep up with data and detect patterns.” Meanwhile, Nathan Naylor, a spokesman for NHTSA, “defended the agency’s track record, saying its investigations have led to 929 recalls involving more than 55 million vehicles in the past seven years.” 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

GM Ignition Problems

GM had long known about ignition problem. The New York Times (3/25, Stout, Vlasic, Ivory, Ruiz, Subscription Publication, 5.41M) reports that almost five years ago, “any doubts were laid to rest among engineers at General Motors about a dangerous and faulty ignition switch.” At a meeting in May, 2009, the engineers “learned that data in the black boxes of Chevrolet Cobalts confirmed a potentially fatal defect existed in hundreds of thousands of cars.” However, in the time that followed, GM “told the families of accident victims and other customers that it did not have enough evidence of any defect in their cars, interviews, letters and legal documents show.” Ultimately, GM was forced to recall 1.6 million cars last month. 

Atlee Hall Salutes the Drive to Save Lives Campaign

The Drive To Save Lives is a united effort to reduce highway fatalities by 15 percent in 2014.
I.A.C.P. logo
State police and highway patrol leaders from the IACP Division of State and Provincial Police will lead a sustained, data-driven effort over the course of the year focused on increasing the use of seat-belts, reducing speeding, and targeting impaired and distracted driving. The campaign will also include enforcement actions against unsafe driving of commercial motor vehicle operators.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Automotive News Article on GM Ignition Switch Recall

GM changed the design of the switch without changing the part number. “Changing the fit, form or function of a part without making a part number change is a cardinal sin," said one of the engineers. "It would have been an extraordinary violation of internal processes."

Airbags Not Deploying in Fatal Crashes

About 3,400 people die each year in frontal crashes with no airbag deployment in their vehicle, according to federal data analyzed by Automotive News.
The number -- amounting to one-tenth of all traffic fatalities -- underscores the difficulty of discerning between incidents when airbags might have failed due to a defect and those in which a variable such as speed or angle of impact was a factor in the airbags not deploying.
A detailed examination of the government's Fatality Analysis Reporting System identified 120 deaths in front-impact crashes with no airbag deployment in Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions covered by General Motors' ignition recall. Forty-one people died in rollovers, and six crashes involved a fire; both are conditions in which an accident could be severe enough to kill without triggering the airbags

GM Recalls Cadillacs for Fire Risk

        Cadillac recalling 2012 to 2014 XTS sedans for engine fire risk. The AutoWeek (3/22, Ramey, 868K) reports online that Cadillac has also put out a recall for 63,900 XTS sedans built from 2012 to 2014 “over an issue with the brake booster pump.” According to the report, the issue with the pump “could lead to overheating and melting of plastic components, and may cause a fire in the engine compartment.” The report notes in its conclusion that GM “is not taking any chances following several recent high profile recalls.” 

GM Ignition Switch Defect Continues

        Hundreds of thousands of possibly defective GM vehicles still on the road. USA Today (3/22, Healey, Meier, 5.82M) reports online about the “hundreds of thousands of General Motors cars” still on the road even though they have “the same steering system that prompted a big Chevrolet Cobalt recall four years ago,” and “even though federal safety officials say they have duplicated the Cobalt defect in the non-recalled Saturn Ion.” NHTSA states it has been “actively investigating the potential safety defect” with power steering in Ions from 2004 to 2007 “and will take appropriate action based on the agency’s findings.” provided its own analysis to USA Today and “found 335,204 of those Saturns still are on the road.” Another statement from NHTSA yesterday, however, said that “there are additional external factors to consider even when evaluating the same component in different vehicles, such as wheelbase, size of the tires, weight of the vehicle – all of which can affect the steering.”
        Fox Business (3/21, Flock, 113K) reports that the fact that GM has recalled 3.2 million vehicles for ignition switch trouble, air bag issues, brake problems, and questionable front-end impact tests “hasn’t stopped some dealers from selling the flagged cars.” FOX News (3/21, 6.72M) also reports in a separate story.
        A report for NPR (3/22, Glinton, 260K) notes that “the number of vehicles recalled has more than doubled over the past 20 years — but most recalls go unnoticed by the general public.” Edmunds Vice President Scott Oldham comments, “I don’t think there’s a manufacturer out there that isn’t executing a recall at any given time.”

        Bloomberg News (3/22, 392K) reports on one of GM’s chief design engineers Gary Altman, who told “more than a dozen managers” in some time “around 2000” that “they needed to find other ways to reduce costs” on Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions, “including a suggestion to pull parts from existing models.” The report thus summarizes Altman’s advice as “build them for less.” The report continues, the Cobalts and Ions “were the product of a culture of cutting costs and squeezing suppliers.” 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Unsafe Batteries

Atlee Hall recently obtained a jury verdict on behalf of a small child who was burned by battery acid. The brand new batteries were purchased at a dollar store across from the family’s home. Minutes after placing the batteries in the child’s swing, the new batteries began leaking acid. The then 22 month old child put her fingers in the acid and then put her fingers in her mouth causing burns to her lips, tongue, and throat.

The batteries sold to the family were unsafe and unreasonably dangerous for use. Brand new batteries simply should not leak acid. When that acid causes harm to someone, in this case it happened to be to a small child, the company must be held responsible.

Atlee Hall believes in the importance of holding corporations accountable for selling unsafe products to consumers like this family as it helps make the community a safer place for all of us.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

GM issues 3 new recalls unrelated to switch

General Motors announced on Monday three new recalls — not related to last month's ignition switch recall — that involve more than 1.5 million vehicles.

The big automaker also said it will take a $300 million charge against first-quarter earnings to pay for the four recalls.

GM said the trio of new recalls is "a result of (CEO) Mary Barra's request for a comprehensive internal safety review following the ignition switch recall."

Last month's switch recall of 1.62 million vehicles worldwide has triggered federal investigations into why GM knew of a switch problem as early as 2001 but recalled the cars only last month. Twelve deaths and 31 crashes have been linked to the switch recall.

To read more about the automobiles involved in the recalls, click here.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Honda Recalls 900,000 Minivans

Honda is recalling almost 900,000 Odyssey minivans because of a potential fire hazard, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a report posted on its website on Saturday.

Honda told the agency that part of the fuel pump in Odyssey models from 2005 to 2010 could “deteriorate prematurely in a manner that can result in cracks” and allow gasoline to leak. The automaker said it was not aware of any fires or injuries resulting from the problem. The recall will involve 886,815 vehicles, all built in a Honda plant in Alabama. Proper repair parts will not be available until the summer, Honda said, but it will provide “interim” parts to customers. Notifications of the recall will go out next month.

The automaker said the cracks in the fuel pump could have several causes, including acid from chemicals found in carwashes and acidic materials used in fertilizer and chemicals used to control dust.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Friday, March 14, 2014

GM's recall and the watchdog that didn't bark


Ever since General Motors recalled 1.6 million of its cars globally over a decade-old defect that could cut off engines and deactivate airbags in a crash, the automaker has been pointedly contrite. After all, its slow response may have cost some people their lives.

So why have U.S. regulators been so silent about their own response?

In the 10 years that some of GM's cars were on the road, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration never started an investigation into the defect. That is despite the fact that under U.S. law, automakers have to submit "early warning" reports to NHTSA about potential problems, and GM was seeing warning signs as far back as 2004.

And it's despite the fact that during a March 2007 meeting, agency officials mentioned a fatal crash involving the 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt, according to a chronology GM submitted to regulators.

The victim from that July 29, 2005, crash was 16-year-old Amber Marie Rose, who struck a tree in Dentsville, Md., going 69 mph in a 25 mph zone, The New York Times reported.

To continue reading, click here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

House to Investigate Slow Response to Fault in G.M. Vehicles

New York Times

WASHINGTON — A House committee has started an investigation into the response by General Motors and federal safety regulators to complaints about faulty ignition switches that have been linked to 13 deaths, officials said on Monday.

An Energy and Commerce subcommittee will hold hearings that will most likely include the automaker and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, although the date has not been set, said Charlotte Baker, a committee spokeswoman.

Last month, General Motors said it would recall more than 1.6 million cars because of a defective ignition switch that, if jostled or weighed down by a heavy key ring, could turn off the car’s engine and electrical system, disabling the air bags.

To read the entire article, click here.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Atlee Hall, LLP Receives Peer Review Rating for Jaime D Jackson from LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell®

LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell has recognized Jaime D Jackson with a Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating™. Jaime was given an AV rating from his peers, which means that he was deemed to have very high professional ethics and preeminent legal ability. Only lawyers with the highest ethical standards and professional ability receive a Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating.

The Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings evaluates lawyers in the United States and Canada based on the anonymous opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary, including both those who are rated and those who are not. The first review to establish a lawyer's rating usually occurs three years after his/her first admission to the Bar.

LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell conducts secure online Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings surveys of lawyers across multiple jurisdictions and geographic locations, in similar areas of practice as the lawyer being rated. Reviewers are instructed to assess their colleagues' general ethical standards and legal ability in a specific area of practice.

The confidentiality, objectivity and complete independence of the ratings process are what have made the program a unique and credible evaluation tool for members of the legal profession. The legal community values the accuracy of lawyer peer review ratings because they are determined by their peers – the people who are best suited to assess the legal ability and professional ethics of their colleagues.

“Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings were created in 1887 as an objective tool that would attest to a lawyer ability and professional ethics, based on the confidential opinions of other lawyers and judges who have worked with the lawyers they are evaluating,” said Mike Walsh, President and CEO, U.S. Legal Markets at LexisNexis. “The Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings have remained the most prestigious and widely respected lawyer rating system in the world for over a hundred years.”

In this highly competitive environment for legal services, the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating is often one of the only means to differentiate lawyers who are otherwise very comparable in their credentials. This is important on a variety of levels – from the in-house counsel trying to determine which one of his outside law firms should be assigned a new matter to the private practice lawyer seeking to refer a case to another lawyer with the appropriate expertise in a specific area of practice.

Indeed, a Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating can be one of the most important criteria that lawyers and clients use to evaluate a lawyer when retaining a lawyer, or simply researching the background of co-counsel or opposing counsel. When referring matters to colleagues with specific expertise or looking for counsel in another jurisdiction, lawyers want to have confidence in the individual lawyer under consideration. By reviewing the ratings, they can be guided to a lawyer with very high ethics as well as the appropriate level of professional experience.

Friday, March 7, 2014

At Least 6,300 Stores Affected by Expanding Rancho Beef Recall

The U.S. Department of Agriculture now believes that the approximately 8.7 million pounds of meat recalled by Petaluma, CA, processor Rancho Feeding Corporation and lacking a full federal inspection was shipped to distribution centers and retail establishments nationwide.

The Class 1 recall initially stated that the recalled products had been shipped to distribution centers and retail establishments in California, Florida, Illinois and Texas.

The current list of distributors published by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) includes more than 6,300 retailers in 36 states and Guam.

FSIS reissued the recall release on Feb. 18, stating that the update is “a consequence of a properly working recall process.”

“When the recall release was first issued on February 8, FSIS was unable to ascertain the extent of the establishments involved,” the notice reads. “As the establishments were notified, the list of States affected grew.”

To read more click here and see a map of affected state.
Safety News at

We have a new and improved website at Atlee Hall.  Read about the why the Graco infant car seats were not recalled.  To read more click here.
A Call for General Motors to Fill Gaps in Safety Inquiry

Federal safety regulators indicated on Wednesday that General Motors had yet to turn over significant information related to a defective ignition switch that has been linked to 13 deaths and the recall of 1.6 million cars.

A list of 107 questions to G.M. from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration underscores the significant gaps in the chronology of events that the automaker turned over to the safety agency last month.

It also shows how slow the agency has been to respond to the deadly ignition problem, which has plagued the Chevrolet Cobalt and several other models for nearly a decade.

Click here to read more.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lehigh Valley recalls orange juice for containing milk

Lehigh Valley Dairy is voluntarily recalling orange juice including Lehigh Valley half pints, half gallons and gallons; Swiss Premium brand half gallons and gallons; and Price Chopper brand gallons because these products may contain milk, an undeclared allergen. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product. While none of these products have been linked to any illness related to allergens at this time, Lehigh Valley Dairy is taking this precautionary measure because the orange juice may contain milk, an allergen, which has not been declared on the packaging.

Due to a manufacturing error, milk became mixed with the orange juice. To date, no complaints or reactions have been reported.

For information on products effected, click here.