Products Liability Laws Protect Consumers
Consumers across the country suffer serious injuries and even death as a result of unsafe products every year. A product may be unsafe due to defective design, manufacturing or engineering. Additionally, products can be defective if they are adorned with inadequate or misleading labels, instructions or warnings.
At Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP, our experienced San Francisco products liability attorneys have the resources to handle complex cases involving highly technical issues related to engineering, metallurgy, biomechanics, and human factors. We’ve earned a national reputation for excellence for our work on products liability cases based on repeated success in challenging situations.
Handling A Wide Variety Of Dangerous And Defective Products Litigation
The attorneys of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP haves extensive experience in litigation regarding dangerous and defective products, including in the following categories:
- Construction and industrial equipment, from scaffolding to industrial machinery
- Defective auto parts such as tires, suspension systems, wheels, air bags and more
- Defective aviation components
- Sports and recreation equipment such as treadmills, trampolines, jumpy houses, swimming pools and more
- Household products such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, flammable and toxic furnishings and fabric, and food packaging
- Medical equipment and surgical devices such as defibrillators and pacemakers
Our lawyers have recovered millions of dollars for victims of dangerous and defective products over the years. We invite you to read our results page.
Our clients come to us having suffered serious injuries that alter their lives. We fight against large and small companies whose products cause injuries like amputations, burns, organ damage, brain injury, and other forms of trauma. Our goal is not only to secure compensation for our clients, but also to make the market safer by forcing companies to change the defective design, change the defective manufacturing, or properly warn about the dangers of the product.
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We have helped many families in wrongful death cases, and here is an example of some of the cases:
Defective Products Cases
Passengers v. USA and Jeppsen and Co. – $11,600,000 verdict
DC-9 cargo jet crashed due to a defective aeronautical navigation chart used by the pilot.
Jury verdict in federal court for the crash of a DC-9 cargo jet and the death of its crew due to a defective aeronautical navigation chart used by the pilot resulted in a large jury verdict.
Family v. Auto Manufacturer – $5,150,000
Death in vehicular fire from a defectively designed gas tank
$5,150,000 for our client in a wrongful death/products liability case after husband lost control of his 1996 Ferrari F355 GTS on State Route 1 in Sonoma County and struck a tree. The impact caused the fuel sender device mounted on the bottom of the fuel tank to detach, leaving a gaping opening in the bottom of the tank. Fuel poured from the tank, ignited and almost instantaneously entered the passenger compartment, incinerating the driver and his passenger.
Lunghi v. Clark Equipment Co. (1984) 153 Cal.App.3d 485
This case established the right of a plaintiff in a products liability case to have the jury instructed on the law of negligence, as well as strict liability, and established the right of one party to call as a witness another party’s expert if that party has decided not to call its expert as a witness at trial. This seminal case was the first in California to recognize a duty of manufacturers to conduct an adequate warning and retrofit campaign when it discovers dangerous propensities in its product after its sale. Lunghi has been cited as authority for the following California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) which are routinely given to California civil juries in products liability cases: CACI 1204 (burden of proof to prove design defect for a products liability case) and CACI 1223 (negligence for the breach of the duty to warn, recall or retrofit a product that is already on the market).
Family v. Target Stores – $671,000 verdict
Defectively designed Target camping tent caused death of our client’s wife
$671,000 jury verdict in a wrongful death/products liability case against Target Corporation for the defective design of a camping tent. Our client took his wife camping in Hope Valley near Kirkwood Ski Resort just south of Lake Tahoe to celebrate their 30-year anniversary. He bought a Target Cabin Tent from Target Stores in Dublin, Alameda County. The tent came with a dozen metal stakes about 6” in length to anchor it to the ground. As he cooked breakfast, his wife remained inside the tent when a sudden, strong gust of wind arose. The wind uprooted the tent with his wife inside, lifted it 50 feet into the air and floated for some distance before the wind stopped. There, tent and its occupant crashed into the large rocks below. Our client ran frantically to the tent and found his wife unconscious and bleeding from her ears. She died in his arms. At trial in Alameda County Superior Court, our firm argued that the defective design of the exceptionally small tent stakes and the aerodynamic nature of the tent allowed foreseeable winds to lift the tent into the air. Target sold replacement stakes for the tent that were considerably longer and much better designed to anchor the tent. The trial judge commented to counsel that he had nose hairs longer than the stakes that came with the tent. The jury returned a verdict in favor of our clients.
Family v. Nail Gun Manufacturer
Construction worker died when nail from nail gun lodged in his skull
Our firm represented the surviving family in a wrongful death/products liability case involving a construction worker who suffered fatal injuries while using an Omark, Model 330G nail or stud gun, also known as a powder actuated tool, to nail something to the ceiling. As he stood on a scaffold to gain access to the ceiling and had the guard of the stud gun in the full offset position, he pulled the trigger and a nail penetrated the cement ceiling, “fishhooked” out beyond the coverage of the offset guard and lodged in his skull. He then lost his balance and fell about 20 feet to the cement floor below resulting in his immediate death.
Consumer v. Safeway & Apple Juice Producer
Apple juice bottle cap defectively designed, causing loss of vision.
Our firm represented a San Francisco bachelor in his 20’s who had his girlfriend over for dinner. To make room in his cluttered refrigerator he took out a nearly empty gallon glass jug of Appletime Unfiltered Apple Juice that was sealed with a simple press on metal cap that had a small circular rubber gasket or seal on the inside. When he tried to open it, the cap literally exploded from the bottle hitting him in the eye and causing the loss of sight in that eye. The apple juice had fermented in the bottle in his refrigerator creating carbon dioxide and increasing the pressure inside the bottle. In our case against Safeway, where he bought the apple juice, and Appletime, the producer of the juice, we proved that the press-on cap was defectively designed and all other carbonated or fermented drinks use twist-off caps because threads help relieve the pressure and one hand holds the cap while unscrewing it which prevents the cap from being a projectile.
Worker v. Butcher Boy – $3,200,000 verdict
Meat shop worker suffered an amputated arm in meat grinder
$3,200,000 jury verdict for worker who suffered an amputated arm in a Butcher Boy meat grinder due to its defective design. Due to more than 300 prior amputations of the arms of other users of Butcher Boy meat grinders, the manufacturer went bankrupt but continued its business under another name. At trial, we successfully established the liability of the successor company and that the owner of the company, William Lasar III, was its alter ego.
Worker v. Butcher Boy – $1,500,000
Meat shop worker suffered arm amputation in a Butcher Boy meat grinder due to its defective design.
$1,500,000 in settlement in products liability case for an employee in the meat department in a Chicago grocery store who suffered an amputation of his right arm in a Butcher Boy meat grinder. Lasar Manufacturing Co., Inc. defectively designed the meat grinder, and Westglen Corporation was the successor-in-interest to Lasar Manufacturing. William Lasar III was the alter ego of Lasar Manufacturing and Westglen Corporation. After more than 300 prior amputations of the arms of users of Butcher Boy meat grinders, William Lasar self-insured his company and as the claims continued to mount, took Lasar Manufacturing through bankruptcy. Thereafter, Mr. Lasar transferred all Lasar Manufacturing’s assets to Westglen and it manufactured the same meat grinders under the same product name with the same equipment, employees, and officers, directors and owners.
Driver v. Auto Manufacturer – $3,300,000
Driver suffered spinal fracture resulting in quadriplegia in single vehicle rollover incident after road debris struck rear wheel parking brake cable and activated it, causing the vehicle to lose control.
Our client became a quadriplegic in a rollover accident when his SUV hit a piece of rubber tire retread debris in the road on I-5 in Willows, Glenn County, which activated his rear passenger-side parking brake and locked up the rear wheel. This caused the SUV to pull hard to the right off the roadway before it rolled several times. The rear wheels had no protection from such debris and the roof readily crushed in the rollover, causing a C5-6 compression/flexion fracture and subluxation, spinal cord damage, and permanent paralysis.
Passengers v. Aviation Parts Manufacturer – $12,500,00
Jury verdict for the wrongful death and personal injuries of passengers in a crash of a small airplane due to a defectively manufactured magneto on one engine of a twin engine aircraft. The failure occurred on take-off, resulting in the loss of ignition and engine stoppage.
Burroughs v. Borg-Warner & Precision Airmotive Corp. (2000) 78 Cal.App.4th 681
Challenged the application of federal law which provides aircraft component manufacturers an immunity for their defective parts after 18 years from date of manufacture.
Stencel Aero Engineering Corp. v. Superior Court (1976) 56 Cal.App.3d 978
Preserved the ability of the estate of a deceased pilot of a fighter jet to bring a survival action for products liability that included a prayer for punitive damages.