Articles Posted in Products Liability

A veteran of both the New Orleans Police Department and the Vietnam War is suing 3M Co. due to an alleged defect in its Bair Hugger Blanket Device that lead to the amputation of his leg.

Lee Edward Peyton filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on March 4 against 3M Co. and Arizant Healthcare Inc., alleging breach of express warranty, design defect, and liability under the Louisiana Products Liability Act.

According to the suit, Peyton underwent total knee joint replacement surgery in his left knee at Omega Hospital in Jefferson Parish.  During the surgery, a Bair Hugger blanket was used keep Peyton warm.  The device utilizes a portable heater/blower connected by a flexible hose to a disposable blanket that is placed on or under a patient to keep them warm by blowing hot air through the tube and blanket onto the patient.

GlaxoSmithKline LLC, the makers of Zofran, have been sued in federal court by a couple claiming that taking Zofran during pregnancy caused birth defects in their son.

Sicily Lafleur and Justin Lee Thibodeaux, both individually and as parents and natural tutors of their son, Kaden L. Lafleur, a minor, filed suit against GlaxoSmithKline LLC on February 23 in the U.S. District Court for the the Western District of Louisiana, Lafayette Division.  The claims cited are negligence, misrepresentation, fraud, and breach of implied and express warranty.

According to the suit, Lafleur was prescribed Zofran in the beginning of her first trimester to alleviate morning sickness by her health care provider in Lafayette.  The product of that pregnancy, Kaden L. Lafleur, was born on November 7, 2012, with congenital heart defects.  The plaintiffs allege that these defects are a direct and proximate result of Kaden’s prenatal exposure to Zofran.  As a result of these defects, Kaden purportedly required surgery immediately after birth as well as extensive follow-up treatments.

A pilot’s wife has accused several companies of performing faulty maintenance on the helicopter her husband was flying when it suffered catastrophic engine failure, which led to his death.

Colleen Hicks, of Oklahoma, individually, on behalf of her minor children, and as representative of her husband, Brandon Seth Ricks, filed suit on December 10 against Cadorath Aerospace LaFayette LLC, H&H Turbine Services LLC and Rotorcraft Leasing Co. LLC, claiming negligence that resulted in Brandon Ricks’s death.

The complaint states that Brandon Ricks, age 40, was piloting a Model 206 L-1 helicopter from Griffin Memorial Airport in Mississippi to aid in a controlled burn initiated by the U.S. Forest Service on March 30.  At a point during the flight, engine failed, resulting in a crash that killed both Ricks and the passenger.  According to the suit, Cadorath and the other defendants performed negligent maintenance on the craft from 2009 to 2014 which caused the engine failure in question.

Another lawsuit has arisen from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, this time stemming from the cleanup of the aforementioned accident.

Josip Piacun filed a complaint against BP Exploration & Production Inc., and B.P. America Production Co. alleging gross negligence under general maritime law.  Piacun claimed that the company negligently exposed him to hazardous and cancer-causing compounds.

Piacun was hired as a vessel captain in April 20, 2010, in response to the BP oil spill.  While he was employed from June 2010 to December 2010, Piacun claims BP negligently exposed him to dermal and airborne chemical compounds that are generally accepted to be toxic, volatile, and carcinogenic.  The suit states that, as a result of this exposure, Piacun “developed psychological, dermal, respiratory, and cardiopulmonary complications.”

Up to four people have been left dead and two injured after an explosion occurred at Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company, a Williams Partners’ subsidiary, on Bayou Black Drive in Terrebonne Parish.

After the explosion occurred at 11 a.m. on October 8th, 2015, it was initially reported that the 13 employees stationed at the facility were uninjured and accounted for.  Four contractors who were performing scheduled maintenance at the facility are being treated for injuries sustained as a result of the incident, the severity of which is unknown at this time.

However, Terrebonne Parish Sheriff on the scene Jerry Larpenter reported that he believed at least believed three people were dead at the plant and one other worker had died at the hospital after being recovered by hazmat teams from the site.  The hazmat suits are required due to the heat remaining at the explosion site.  Two other individuals suffered serious injuries.

Jerry D. Franklin, Jr., has brought suit against his employer, Lebeouf Bros. Towing, LLC, for injuries resulting from their negligence.

According to the lawsuit, the Tangipahoa Parish resident was a crewman aboard the H. J. Dupre when it was offshore in 2014.  On or about July 11 of that same year, Franklin alleges that he was instructed to manually move a 20-foot crossover asphalt transfer hose from the deck of one barge to another without an adequate lifting device.  In complying with these instructions, Franklin states that he suffered severe lower back injuries.  The injuries are alleged to be so serious as to require extensive medical treatment and surgical intervention.

The suit alleges negligence on the part of Lebeouf Bros. Towing, and that they breached their duty when it failed to provide safe equipment, adequate crew and proper supervision owing to the un-seaworthiness of the vessel.  The plaintiff seeks maintenance and cure, alleging sever physical and psychological pain, loss of enjoyment of life, lost wages and earning capacity, and permanent disability.  The total sum sought in relief and expenses is $3.65 million.

A class-action suit has been filed against Blue Bell Creameries relating to the listeria outbreak in their products.  The event lead to a product recall in March.

Steven J. Leon, of Hammond, Louisiana, brought a class-action suit against the company, alleging negligence, redhibition, breach of warranty, and unjust enrichment.  The suit’s putative class consists of upwards of 100 members and the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million.

The accompanying complaint posits that consumers who purchased Blue Bell products between March 13 and April 20 are entitled to damages because Blue Bell purportedly failed to provide adequate notice of the recall.  The recall was posted on the Blue Bell website on or about March and April, but, according to the suit, the company had had positive test results for a potentially lethal bacterium since 2013.

Robert James Dick, Jr., an employee of Blackwater Diving LLC, was conducting an underwater burn on a conductor when he was allegedly injured by an explosion.  This event took place on or about June 21 and the explosion allegedly resulted in severe physical damage, psychological trauma, loss of enjoyment and capacity, permanent impairment, and medical expenses for Dick.

The plaintiff was employed by Blackwater as a seaman, a commercial diver, and a crewman of a marine vessel.  He has alleged negligence on the part of his employer and is seeking maintenance and cure.

As a part of his suit, Dick has invoked the Jones Act and claimed that Blackwater was negligent in failing to provide a safe workplace and safe equipment.  The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a federal statute that provides for the promotion and maintenance of the American merchant marine.  The Jones Act specifically applies to shipping between two points of the same country, whether in-land or along the coasts.  This is collectively referred to as cabotage.  The Act took contemporary legislation regarding the recovery rights of railroad workers and extended the principles therein to sailors of such vessels.  It allowed seaman to bring action against ship owners based on claims of unseaworthiness or negligence, rights not afforded by common international maritime law.

A Gretna man was thrown from his go-kart while racing through a track curve and collided with the pavement.  The individual claims that the vehicle he was riding in hit rocks and other debris located on the track, which caused him to be ejected at a speed which caused him significant injuries.  The injured racer brought suit against NOLA Motor Club LLC, as well as others, alleging vicarious liability as well as numerous failures on the part of the company and its staff.

The root of all Louisiana liability law is the somewhat oddly phrased Article 2315 of the Civil Code.  “Every act whatever of man that causes damage to another obliges him by whose fault it happened to repair it.”  Essentially, this means that if you perform an act that damages someone else you are required to right those damages.  However, real life is rarely so clean cut and to the point.  Almost every phrase of that sentence can be muddied by circumstance.  What if someone else acted with you?  What if the injured person also played some part in the act?  What if it is unclear whether or not it was your specific act that actually injured the person?  Thus, the law had to be broken down further into neater categories.

The vicarious liability theory applicable to this go-karter’s case would be that of employer liability.  Article 2320 states, albeit also somewhat antiquatedly, “Masters and employers are answerable for the damage occasioned by their servants and overseers, in the exercise of the functions in which they are employed.”  As such, NOLA Motor Club is responsible for the action, or lack of actions, of their employees that cause injury to someone as long as such performance was within their normal duties as an employee.  This is why it is important for companies to advise and train their employees with the greatest of care.  However, sometimes even the most rigorous and stringent training cannot prevent some injuries from occurring.  Even so, an employer by their very nature takes responsibility for the acts of its employees that occur during normal operations.

The bicycle manufacturer, Trek, is recalling over 900,000 bicycles in the United States after series of accidents caused by a defect, one of which left the user paralyzed.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission stated that a quick-release lever can come into contact with the front disc brake assembly, resulting in either total wheel separation or an instant stop.  The recall consists of models built from 2000 to 2015 equipped with front disc brakes and a black or silver quick release lever on the front wheel hub.  Bikes equipped with front release levers that do not open 180 degrees from the closed position are not included in the recall.

This recall will doubtlessly avoid many serious injuries but never would have happened without the courageous lawsuit filed on behalf of a client of Broussard & David, LLC. Cycling and engineering experts overcame Treks denial of fault. Diligent prosecution of important product liability claims is not new to Broussard & David.  Attorneys have obtained record verdicts and settlements for five decades on a wide range of products including automobiles, boats, tractors, forklifts, trailers, farm equipment, airplanes and helicopters.

Individuals injured by the defective products have the potential to recover from the manufacturers, suppliers, or sellers of such products.  Such actions fall under the legal field of products liability and are generally brought under the legal theories of negligence, warranty, strict liability or a combination or variation of the three, depending on the circumstances of the case.  The Louisiana Products Liability Act, enacted in 1988, provides that the “manufacturer of a product is liable for damage ‘proximately caused’ by the product to any person if the product, when put to a reasonably anticipated use, is unreasonably dangerous because of its construction or composition, its design, an adequate warning was not provided, or an express warranty about the product was not satisfied.” La. R.S. 9:2800.52.

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