Dangerously Defective Products
Dangerous and defective products liability is an area of personal injury that focuses on dangerous and defective products. Our firm represents people who have become seriously ill or injured, and the families of people who have died, as the result of dangerous, defective products.
- Machinery and tools
- Helicopters and aircraft
- Automobiles, trucks, and motorcycles
- Seat heaters
- Seat Belts
- Side Saddle Gas Tanks
- Toxic chemicals and substances such as pesticides, asbestos, and mold
- Household products and appliances
- Toys and recreational equipment
- Clothing and apparel
- Personal products, including tampons
Defective products can range from machinery and tools to hip implants, faulty airbags, and adulterated food. Air bags that fail to deploy, or explode when they deploy, spewing shrapnel throughout the cabin, cause injuries and deaths in accidents where serious injury should not occur. Our firm has prosecuted claims against a number of car manufacturers, including Ford and Toyota, for injuries and deaths caused by defective seat belts. We also successfully litigated and currently represent several paralyzed individuals who have suffered severe injuries from electronically heated automobile seats that generated dangerously high temperatures. Because of their paraplegia, our clients could not feel the extreme temperatures capable of producing third-degree burns.
Our knowledge of Oregon’s liability law provides our clients the assurance we know how to pursue personal injury cases and prevail. Our firm has held manufacturers accountable for the harm caused to our clients, securing compensation for them through the civil litigation process, and promoting safer products through recalls and design changes.
Tort Claims for Disabled Individuals
Disabled individuals are often at increased risk by a dangerous or defective product. Defective seat heaters are an example of how a defective product has severely impacted the lives of many who are disabled. Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton, under the direction of founding attorney Art Johnson, has represented over a dozen clients with sensory loss below the waist who have sustained severe burns from defective seat heaters. Often, by the time the driver realizes there is a problem with the seat heater skin has already been burned.
Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton attorney Art Johnson has prosecuted and is currently prosecuting cases against Daimler Chrysler and General Motors for compensation for individuals who have suffered such burns. The goal is not only to obtain fair compensation for the victims, but to cause the manufacturers to permanently remedy those defects and provide clear warnings of the danger to those who use their vehicles.
A few relevant past cases
Family Restaurant: Appliance Accident
A young girl, the daughter of a Middle Eastern family who owned and ran a local restaurant, lost her hand when it was caught in a defectively designed meat-grinder. In addition to her physical injury, the young girl faced the cultural trauma of being “marked” as a thief because of the loss of her hand. The prosecution of the claim promoted safer designs, and we obtained an award that took into account the child’s unique emotional injury.
Silicone Breast Implant Litigation against Bristol-Myers Squibb, Baxter International and Baxter Healthcare, 3M, Dow Corning, and Others
We represented over 250 women in Multi-District Litigation in U.S. District Court against the manufacturers of silicone gel breast implants. The majority of these actions were resolved through a negotiated national settlement. We also represented women who opted out of the national settlement.
Defective Seat Heaters
Our client, a young veteran, suffered one of the early reported seat heater burns. When he returned home from the Marine Corps, he bought a four-wheel drive vehicle recommended for paraplegics. He did not choose a seat heater, but the vehicle came with heaters in both front seats. After returning home after one of his first trips, he discovered that the skin on his buttocks came off with his jeans as he prepared for bed. He had not known that the heater had somehow accidentally been turned on and had not felt the heat. Engineers who tested the vehicle found that the driver’s seat could generate temperatures as high as 150 degrees F. While the manufacturer recalled two model years of that vehicle, we have found that many models manufactured in other years, as well as other makes of vehicles, also have dangerous seat heaters and they sadly remain on the road today. Every paraplegic or other person with sensory deficits should be made fully aware of the risk and those seat heaters should be disconnected.
Costco Child Car Seat: Quadriplegia
A family was driving over a mountain pass, with their three-year-old child restrained in a “booster” seat type of child restraint. An oncoming car lost control in volcanic grit left by highway crews, crossed the centerline, and struck the family’s car nearly head-on. Despite being in the booster seat, the child suffered a severe spinal cord injury causing her to be permanently paralyzed. The adverse driver settled for her $2 million liability insurance policy limits. Working with another law firm, we then brought a claim against the child car seat manufacturer and retailer, which settled for a confidential amount.
Defective Bee Pesticide
In this case, we represented two apiarists (bee-keepers) against the manufacturer of a chemical miticide. The miticide was supposed to kill mites, which infect honeybees. Instead, it killed over half our clients’ bees, destroying their business.