Date 12.03.2014

Recent Product Recalls: What you need to know

Posted By: Coker Law

As the year is drawing to a close, we continue to see the ramifications of large manufacturers putting profits in front of safety.  The American Association for Justice (AAJ) is monitoring the GM ignition switch recalls and cases (at least 36 deaths to date!) and the Takata airbag recall.  And now the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration is looking into the fact that GRACO delayed the recall of 6.1 million defective child seats.  Please read the information below, from AAJ, and note product recalls. We hope that you and yours stay safe over the holiday season and always.

GM approves 36th ignition switch death claim

In continuing coverage of GM’s faulty ignition switches, the AP (12/2) reports that the offices of compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg has approved a 36th death claim related to the defect. In total, GM has approved 36 death and 44 serious injury claims out of 229 death and 1,986 injury claims submitted since August. [Reuters (12/2) reports similarly.]

GM issues recall for 273,000 SUVs. USA Today (12/1, Woodyard, 9.86M) reports that GM issued a recall for 273,182 midsize SUVs and sedans in the US over concerns that “the low-beam headlights can cut out, temporarily or permanently.” Included in the recall are 2006-2009 Buick Lacrosse sedans; 2006-2007 Chevrolet TrailBlazer and 2006 TrailBlazer EXT; 2006-2007 GMC Envoy and 2006 Envoy XL; 2006-2007 Buick Rainier; 2006-2008 Saab 9-7X; and 2006-2008 Isuzu Ascender midsize SUVs. USA Today reports that the defect is related to the driver modules for the headlamps, noting “the low-beam headlamps and daytime running lamps could intermittently or permanently fail to illuminate.” The article notes that GM is unsure whether the defect has led to accidents or injuries. [Similar coverage was provided by the Los Angeles (CA) Times (12/2, Fleming, 4M) and Reuters (12/2).]

Takata to expand recall. Reuters (12/2) reports that the Nikkei business daily reported that Takata is preparing to announce an expansion of its recall of its defective airbag inflators beyond high-humidity locations, though Reuters notes that a Takata spokeswoman denied that the company had made a decision on the expansion. Reuters reports that NHTSA had demanded that the company take action by Tuesday or risk being fined.

NHTSA investigating Graco’s possible delay in recall of child safety seats

The Detroit News (12/1, Shepardson, 504K) reports that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating “whether Graco Children’s Products Inc. delayed a recall of 6.1 million child seats.” The News quotes US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx saying, “The department is committed to ensuring that parents have peace of mind knowing that the car seat in which they are placing their child and their trust is safe and reliable,” adding, “Any delays by a manufacturer in meeting their obligations to report safety issues with the urgency they deserve, especially those that impact the well-being of our children, erodes that trust and is absolutely unacceptable.” It also quotes NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman saying, “There is no excuse for delaying a recall to address any safety-related defect,” adding, “If Graco delayed in protecting children and infants from this defect, we will hold them accountable.” The company faces fines of “up to $35 million,” but the Administration “wants Congress to raise the maximum fine up to $300 million per incident.” [CNBC (12/2, Allen, 2.08M) reports that Graco “first reported the issue to NHTSA in February,” yet it also reported that “it had been monitoring the problem since 2009.” CNBC quotes Foxx as above as do WTSP-TV St. Petersburg, FL (12/1, Senior, 139K) and WREG-TV Memphis, TN (12/1, Lowez, 37K).] [The New York Times (12/2, Jensen, Subscription Publication, 9.9M) reports the news in the context of Administrator Friedman’s upcoming testimony before “a congressional hearing looking into defective airbags made by the Takata Corporation.” It also quotes Friedman as above.]

 – Joe Camerlengo

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