The Family who would not back down to GM for an Ignition Defect that killed their Daughter will be honored by the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association

justice-388623-mAlthough it is still not the norm, we are beginning to see families who have lost loved ones in accidents involving vehicles, pharmaceuticals, or other products with product liability defects stand up to the companies who are involved in the manufacturing and otherwise of such products, and not settle for amounts in either class action suits or otherwise. I have blogged about two (2) such extraordinary examples recently.

One blog being about the family of a four year old who was killed in a gas tank explosion who decided to take the case to trial whereby the jury awarded $ 150 Million Dollars to the family for the Wrongful Death of their precious son. The other case was the case of Beth and Ken Melton who took General Motors to the mat when their daughter was killed due to an ignition defect.

In the Melton case, it was further discovered that GM knew of the defect and further tried to cover it up . Chrysler, who was held responsible for the death of the four year old in the gas tank explosion case, has yet to acknowledge liability in that case, but the verdict has certainly turned heads of those at the National Highway Safety and Transportation Administration (NHSTA) who supported the gas tank design in the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee and rendered it an unreasonable safety hazard on the road. As I blogged recently, NHSTA is now rethinking that decision very carefully.


Follow Up to the Blog Posted Dated April 9, 2015 re: $ 150 Million Dollar Plaintiff’s Verdict against Chrysler: NHTSA may Reopen Investigation of the older Jeeps’ gas tanks and may also open a New Investigation

business-law-883985-mAs I posted in my April 9, 2015 blog post titled, “A $ 150 Million Dollar Verdict in Georgia against Chrysler for the Death of a Young Child Due to an Exploding Gas Tank Exposes the Company to Future Massive Tort Litigation (Video’s of the Trial Included),” a Georgia Jury in Bainbridge, Georgia, just over one week ago, awarded a family who lost their 4-year old son in a 1999 Jeep Cherokee gas tank explosion following a rear end collision, $ 150 Million Dollars in Damages for the loss of their son and for their son’s pain and suffering in his horrific death. In that blog, I stated that the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), after investigating the Jeep’s gas tank design by, among other things, 20 year old data submitted by Chrysler, had determined that the Jeep was an, “unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety.”

NHTSA may, however, be changing course in reference to its earlier determination that the Jeep’s gas tank design was safe.  Mark Rosakind, the head of NHTSA, told reporters yesterday at the New York International Auto Show at a briefing that he may reopen the investigation of the safety of the older Jeeps’ gas tanks, and that he may even begin a new investigation.  Rosalind was quoted as stating, “We’re not satisfied with the current situation, so we are looking for every avenue that would be appropriate for us to take action,” and, “Given all of the stuff that’s going on, we want to figure out what else we can be doing.” Rosakind also stated that he has a group that is organized to look into actions that regulators can take and he has further stated that, “Everything is on the table for us to look at.”


A $ 150 Million Dollar Verdict in Georgia against Chrysler for the Death of a Young Child Due to an Exploding Gas Tank Exposes the Company to Future Massive Tort Litigation (Video’s of the Trial Included)

explosion-776833-mOn March 6, 2012, the Waldens were driving in Bainbridge, Georgia when their 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee was struck from behind by a vehicle that was traveling more than 50 miles per hour. Neither of the Drivers of either vehicle were injured in the impact.  The 4-year old child that sat in the back seat of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, manufactured by Chrysler, only suffered a fractured leg until the Jeep burst into flames causing the death of the young Remington Walden. The parent’s marriage would also die that fateful night.

This was not the first time that a vehicle with this gas tank design had exploded causing Catastrophic Injury or Death, and Chrysler knew it as they settled claims quietly and recalled just enough vehicles to keep the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) satisfied. Chrysler tried to settle with the Waldens, but to no avail. The Waldens had nothing more to lose: Their son was dead and their marriage was dead; now it was time for Chrysler to be exposed.

And exposed they would be by a Bainbridge, Georgia jury a week ago today when the jury awarded one hundred and fifty million dollars and No/00th ($ 150,000,000.00) to the Waldens for the Wrongful Death of their young 4-year old son Remi. The case is Walden v. Chrysler Group, 12CV472. The jury apportioned $ 120 Million Dollars of the verdict for the value of Remi’s life and $ 30 Million Dollars for the young child’s pain and suffering as he died while flames from the vehicle engulfed him and the Jeep in which he was riding. The jury only attributed one percent (1%) of the fault of the accident to the other driver that hit the Jeep from behind, leaving ninety-nine percent (99%) of the fault with Fiat Chrylser.


Takata Corporation is the Target for the Latest Air Bag Litigation and Several Popular Auto Companies are Not off the Hook Either

airbag for blog nov 9 2014Deaths and serious injuries involving air bags made by Takata Corporation that allegedly explode and cause metal shrapnel to hit drivers have placed the legal sites on Takata Corporation and have resulted in several lawsuits Nationwide. Takata Corp. manufactures air bags for over 50 models of cars from companies including, but not limited to, Ford, Chrysler, GM, BMW, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Subaru.

Although the exact number of lawsuits and recalls is currently unknown, it is estimated that approximately 7.8 million trucks and cars of U.S. models manufactured by ten (10) different auto makers have been recalled to date.

As a result of Takata’s air bag alleged defects, there have been at least three (3) Nationwide Class Actions filed, two (2) lawsuits in Federal Court filed, and numerous recalls issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) encouraging drivers to “act immediately” to have their cars repaired of the defect.

If you are concerned about your vehicle for any type of defect or recall, then you may visit the NHTSA’s website here and enter your vehicle information for a list of recalls that could potentially pertain to your vehicle.

In the case of the Takata airbags, despite the NHTSA’s diligent efforts insisting upon recalls, the organization was criticized by legislators for not insisting that the recalls were made Nationwide as the recalls were initially only limited to vehicles in humid and hot climates such as Texas, Puerto Rico and Florida. The reason the scope was so limited for the recalls in the beginning was that it appeared that the problems were caused in part due to climate conditions such as high heat and humidity.

For example, a case was filed in Puerto Rico for $ 2 million for a woman who suffered hearing loss, another case was filed in Florida on behalf of a woman who suffered injuries from shrapnel piercing the air bag, two (2) class actions were filed in Texas and Miami, and one complaint has been filed in the Southern District of Florida for consumers of Puerto Rice and six (6) other states.

There has also been a Nationwide class action lawsuit filed in the Central District of California, the headquarters of the subsidiary of U.S. Honda, and this lawsuit has named Takata, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan as Defendants. The complaint in the Southern District of Florida referenced above also names BMW, Honda, Toyota, and Ford as well as Takada as Defendants.

Both of these suits, and more to surely follow, indicate that the car manufacturers are far from being off the hook in this litigation arena.


Beginning in 2015, Defective Stryker Hip Device Settlement will bring in over $ 1 Billion Dollars in Settlements for Claimants Against the Hip Device Manufacturer 

human skelton blog nov 7 2014In a Product Liability Case with legal representation out of the State of Georgia, claimants are expecting to receive over $ 1 Billion Dollars in Settlements beginning in 2015 for defective hip devices. The awards come from a negotiated settlement with the manufacturer of the implant, Stryker. The device is called the Rejuvenate also known as the AQBG II implants.

The claimants who will receive settlement awards presented with poisoning from metal from the devices along with other symptoms that were adverse reactions to the devices. The settlements are meant to compensate the injured claimants for complications from the devices such as infections, dropping of the feet or foot, wages that were lost, hip dislocations, and more operative issues that occurred during the procedure as well as after the procedure of the insertion of the devices.

Apparently, there is not a cap for the manufacture Stryker in this settlement meaning that more claimants may come forward as well as the current claimants may receive more if further injuries are incurred. This may be one of the largest settlements of this type in Georgia history for many years.

In Product Liability Cases, if a product is recalled or injuries are incurred as result of a defective product, there are several actions that a potential claimant may take such as starting a class action, opting into a class action that already exists involving the defective product, or opting out of a class action and seeking a remedy directly from the company who manufactured the defective device as well as others in the chain of distribution. There are pros and cons to each of these choices when faced with a product liability case.


The Highest Product Liability Verdicts in Georgia in 2013 ~ part 2

seat belt for blog august 23The following are the top Product Liability Verdicts in Georgia for 2013 ~ part 2:

1.) A $ 10,000,000 verdict for the Plaintiff in Jefferson County, Georgia, Superior Court for Wrongful Death, and Design Defect with Failure to Warn.

The case name was Andrea Eslavan Hernandez as representative of the Estate of Florentino Hernandez v. Hi-Tech Engineering, No. 11-cv-622, and the date of the verdict was March 21, 2013.

The facts as summarized were that on December 29, 2006, the Plaintiff’s husband, Florentino Hernandez, age 53, was working at a lumber mill in Wadley, Georgia when he was doing maintenance on an inactive piece of equipment that was used to process wood when he was hit by a piece of lumber that came from an adjacent active piece of equipment of the same type that Hernandez was working on.

The piece of equipment was controlled by a central unit using software that was developed by the Defendant, Hi-Tech Engineering. The blow from the impact caused Mr. Hernandez to be thrown into spiked rollers that were active causing Mr. Hernandez to die from his injuries.

The Plaintiff’s case against Hi-Tech was based on the fact that the employees were following the instructions given by representatives of Hi-Tech that the employees only had to lockdown machines that were being worked on, therefore, the employees did not know that the activation of one machine could cause the activation of another machine.

It was further argued that Hi-Tech did not provide any manual or written instructions for the software, and that the machines did not have mechanisms that could manually lock down the machines.

The jury, after a four (4) day trial and only thirty-five (35) minutes of deliberation, came back with a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff for $ 10 million dollars holding Defendant Hi-Tech 100% liable for the incident.


The Highest Product Liability Verdicts in Georgia in 2013 ~ part 1

tires for product liability blog august 23The following are the top Product Liability Verdicts in Georgia for 2013 ~ part 1:

1.) A $ 16,520,000 verdict for the Plaintiff in DeKalb County State Court for Wrongful Death due to Defective Design and Failure to Warn.

The case was Ganga Chhetri, as Executrix of the Estate of Kharka B. Chhetri v. Michelin North America, Firestone Complete Auto Care, Hermanos Izaguirre Tire and Bhim B. Bhista, No. 11A40145-1, and the date of the verdict was October 30, 2013.

The facts as summarized were that on March 11, 2011 a van carrying fifteen (15) people was on I-75 driving on the way to work at Perdue Farms where all the people in the van and the driver were employees. That evening, at 9:00 p.m. approximately, the left rear tire of the van blew out and caused the van to hit the guardrail and then overturn.

The Plaintiff’s husband, Kharka Chhetri, age 50, was a passenger in the van and he died along with another passenger. The other passengers who survived did suffer serious injuries including some amputations. The person driving the van was Bhim B. Bhista, who the Plaintiff names in the lawsuit and alleges negligence by vehicle.

The tire that blew was manufactured by Michelin and the Plaintiff named Michelin in the lawsuit alleging a defective design of the tire. There were other allegations as well against the other Defendants named in the lawsuit. Michelin claimed that, although there was documentation that supported issues of the tire components, it was improving the design. Michelin also tried to lay blame on another Defendant, Firestone, that had done an oil change recently on the vehicle, for failing to notice an issue with the tire’s thread.

After a seven (7) day trial and two (2) days of deliberation, the jury awarded the Plaintiff damages in the amount of $ 20,000 for funeral and burial expenses as well as pain and suffering, $ 5 million dollars for Wrongful Death Damages, and $ 11.5 million for Punitive Damages for which 80% the jury apportioned to Michelin and 20% to the Defendant Driver Bhista.

The jury found no fault on the part of Defendant Firestone. The damages of over $ 16 million was reduced to an actual recovery for the Plaintiff of just over $ 15.5 million since the Defendant Driver Bhista had entered into a Consent Judgement that precluded him from owing any money.


Federal Judge in Georgia Sanctions Company over $ 40M due to Deceptive Advertising of Diet Supplements

pills for blog may 31 2015In Atlanta, Georgia, a federal judge, U.S. District Senior Judge Charles Pannell, Jr., ordered a Norcross company, Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, that sells dietary supplements, over $ 40M in sanctions for violating a six (6) year old order barring the company from making deceptive claims about several diet supplements’ effectiveness.

The Judge further ordered an immediate recall of supplements that the company has since marketed as weight loss or male enhancement products, and has further threatened to put the CEO, Jared Wheat, and Senior Vice President, Sean Smith, in jail if they fail to comply with the Judge’s order.

You may have heard of the supplements at issue which are: Fastin which is related chemically and pharmacologically to amphetamines and can lead to psychosis; Lipodrene which can cause nausea, dehydration, constipation, sleep complications, and cardiovascular issues, especially of the heart; Benzedrine which is really amphetamine sulfate and a stimulant and drug with the same or similar characteristics as the drug amphetamine; and Stimerex-ES which contains a long list of stimulants as ingredients that raise heart rate and blood pressure and are dangerous and unsuitable for many people.

This is not the first battle with the Federal Court for Wheat and Smith as they were ordered to pay $15.8M in regulatory fines for dispensed dissection back in 2008 which they have yet to fully pay. Furthermore, the Judge permanently barred Wheat from continuing to rely on these unsubstantiated representations to sell the expensive supplements. The contempt actions came at the request of the urging of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and Atlanta, Georgia Federal Prosecutors in an effort to stop Wheat’s diet supplement business.

The $40M which the Judge said in his order are gross revenues from the sale of the supplements for a specified period of time and are intended to pay consumers back who purchased the products and may have been induced to do so from the deceptive advertising. Fortunately, unlike in other scandals of this type that I have written about in my blog on the dangers of Energy Drinks, no deaths have been reported to date from taking these drugs.


Georgia Couple who Lost their Daughter due to a GM Vehicle Defect file a New Lawsuit Claiming the Company Lied

product liability photo may 16 2014A Georgia couple, the Meltons, who lost their daughter in a fatal car crash due to a faulty ignition switch and who settled with General Motors Co (GM) last year, have filed a new lawsuit against the automaker claiming that the company fraudulently concealed evidence and allowed a company representative to lie under oath about the facts of the case. The couple claim that they would not have settled their lawsuit had they known the truth about critical evidence that was concealed, and that a representative of the company committed perjury by failing to disclose critical information about the defects.

In order to undo the settlement the Melton’s will have to convince a Judge that they were intentionally misled or defrauded by GM. A GM spokesman said in an emailed statement that the company, “denies the assertion that GM fraudulently concealed relevant and critical facts in connection with the Melton matter.” The case is Melton et al v. General Motors, State Court of Cobb County, Georgia, No. 14A1197-4.

This case follows our claim that it has been shown that companies continuously place products in the market place that are not safe. The defective switch that is the subject matter of this lawsuit is prone to being jostled into accessory mode while the cars are moving, shutting off engines and disabling power steering, power brakes and airbags. The problem has been linked to at least 13 deaths, and GM is facing dozens of lawsuits over the faulty ignition switch that has led to the recall of some 2.6 million vehicles. The Melton’s are arguing, in part, that the company knew of the defect and failed to disclose this during negotiations.


$ 14 million is awarded to a woman who suffered permanent injuries after taking the drug Yasmin

picture for blog post april 26 2014A jury has awarded $14 million to a woman who sued her doctor after a stroke she suffered after taking the birth control drug Yasmin.  It was reported that she had a stroke that paralyzed her left side and caused permanent brain injury 13 days after taking Yazmin.  Similarly, a $2.5 million settlement in the same matter was reached with the Medical Center.

The maker of the drug, Bayer, has also been faced with lawsuits from other women who claim that the contraceptive has caused blood clots that have led to serious health conditions.  Nevertheless, the company claims that the drug is safe if used as directed.

These cases can fall under two legal categories:  1.)  Medical Malpractice; and 2.)  Product Liability.  To stay abreast of what drugs and other products are being recalled you can visit the U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission and, and you can be added to the emailing list for both of these agencies to receive up to date information about product recalls.