Articles Posted in Product Liability

The number of cases of people injured by the prescription drug Xarelto is steadily increasing as the blood thinner has been linked to gastrointestinal bleeding and strokes. There is currently a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, where Judge New has categorized the plaintiffs injured from xarelto into three major categories.

The first category consists of plaintiffs who suffered a gastrointestinal or rectal bleed after taking the drug known as rivaroxaban (Xarelto) to reduce the risk of stroke or embolism (an obstruction in a blood vessel due to a clot or foreign matter that becomes stuck in the blood stream).

The second category of plaintiffs are those individuals who took the blood thinner to treat deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot formed in a vein. If the clot travels through the bloodstream, it can eventually block an artery in the lungs, leading to pulmonary embolism (PE). The most common scenario for this category are plaintiffs who underwent hip or knee replacement surgery. Those plaintiffs using xarelto to treat DVT or PE and who thereafter suffer uncontrolled bleeding from gastrointestinal or rectal internal bleeding are part of this second category.

A life-long printer worker. A paint factory worker. An aviation gas refueler. What do these occupations have in common ? These are occupations in which workers are exposed to carcinogenic chemicals on a daily basis. They often work for companies who do not value personal safety of their workers. Companies express their lack of concern by refusing to invest in safety programs and issuing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves to their workers.

Many of the solvents that such workers use on a daily basis contain carcinogens. These chemicals such as benzene, toluene, xylene, and naptha cause cancers that do no manifest themselves until 20-30 years after exposure. These types of illnesses are known as “latency injuries”. To illustrate, chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is associated with an exposure to benzene that can occur 25 years prior to the first manifestations of the symptoms.

Often times, a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) accompanies these chemicals. However, industrial companies are lax in educating their workers about the risks of such chemicals from the information on the MSDS. The MSDSs contain explicit warnings on the carcinogenic effects as well as pulmonary and respiratory dangers. There are several international organizations which issue warnings on carcinogenic effects, including the National Toxicology Program (NTP), IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), OSHA (Occupational Safety Health Administration), and ACGIH (American Conference Of Governmental Industrial Hygienists) . The MSDS will often cite these organizations when discussing the classification of the particular components of a product.

A Texas product liability lawyer must be very mindful of House Bill (HB) 4, which has preempted the rights of personal injury victims. The purpose of this blog entry is to review some of the major changes associated with HB4 in Texas product liability law.

HB 4 had several major changes. First, it created a presumption of no liability in particular areas. It created a 15 year statute of repose. A statute of repose is similar to a statute of limitations, but usually the deadlines are enforced more strictly . For example, the statute of limitations would be tolled or delayed based on the discovery rule, which states that the clock on bringing a claim does not run until the injury could reasonably have been discovered, A statute of repose would not normally be tolled by the discovery rule. HB4 also created immunity for passive sellers.

The Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code (CPRC) codifies these changes, including a presumption of no design or marketing defects in certain areas; a presumption of no marketing defects in specific Texas medical device / pharmaceutical drug injury cases; the creation of the 15 year statute of repose; and the establishment of passive seller immunity.

As an update to our last blog post, several important Texas medical malpractice cases

have emerged that can affect residents of San Antonio and greater Texas.

In Dallas, a patient suffered severe and permanent brain damage in Texas when Baylor medical center’s emergency care center did not allegedly detect a cerebral hemorrhage in the patient. The patient’s medical expert discussed the standards of emergency care specifically with respect to a physician assistant (PA) and his report met the statutory elements of causation.

In 2009, there were several major San Antonio and greater Texas pharmaceutical drug injury cases.

In Houston, an injured woman brought suit against Wyeth Pharmaceuticals claiming several prescription drugs used for her hormone replacement therapy had caused her serious personal injury. Her causes of action included failure to warn and design defects in the drug. The Appellate Division indicated that federal laws did not preempt the failure to warn claim, even if the FDA had approved the label’s warnings. However, the cause of action claim for a design defect was dismissed on account the plaintiff had not proven a safer alternative.

In a Texas personal injury auto accident case in Houston, the injured driver sued the manufacturer of a truck for negligence and product liability claims. In these types of cases, the burden is on the plaintiff to show evidence of a safer alternative design. It is also critical that the injured plaintiff’s expert have the training, experience, and special knowledge to comment on design defect and the use of safer alternative designs.

Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code (CPRC) 82.008 creates a rebuttable presumption of no liability in certain Texas product liability personal injury cases. However, section 82.008(d) makes exceptions for certain manufacturing flaws o defects from the rebuttable presumption.

If the seller has properly demonstrated the presumption, then it is up to the Texas personal injury lawyer to demonstrate that the standard / regulation was not strong enough to safeguard the public from unreasonable risk of injury or damage. The other option is to prove that the manufacturer, either before or after he commenced marketing the product, kept information or misrepresented information to the federal government. Such withholding or misrepresentation of information would have altered the federal government’s creation of a proper safety standard.

In almost every Texas products liability case, the defense attorney premises his defense on his client’s compliance with government standards. Counsel will claim that ultimately the government gave the seller a de facto seal of approval. In response, the Texas personal injury lawyer will counter that the federal government’s standard has always been a minimum floor and is often outdated and incapable of creating safety.

A growing number of vaccinations including the influenza vaccine and now the newly minted Gardasil vaccine against the cervical cancer Human Papilloma Virus are increasingly suspected of causing the Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS).

GBS is a disorder of the neurological system characterized by uncontrollable muscle twitching, fatigue, and symptoms reminiscent of a recent stroke. Recovery does occur but in some case people may continue to have strong debilitating effects over a lifetime. Pulmonary complications and debilitating fatigue are the most common residual after effects.

Gardasil specifically is creating a special set of side effects that mirror the symptoms of GBS, including numbness and tingling, hair loss, extreme fatigue and weakness, and encephalopathy (seizures). Over 16 million does of Gardasil have been distributed to combat cervical cancer, but there continue to be questions about the side effects.

As a growing number of Texans buy guns from gun shops and flea markets, Texas and the nation as a whole are seeing a rise in gun accident injuries . Product liability design defects contribute to a large number of deaths and tragic injuries each year.

Many people are unaware that gun manufacturers often cut corners by failing to provide safeguards against design defects and / or failing to adhere to quality control procedures. For example, the trigger mechanisms on the gun are often placed on the tip of a part known as a sear. It only takes a slight tolerance change during manufacturing to create a gun that will discharge from a slight jar without any trigger movement. Often, Texans report the weapon continues to fire until all ammunition has been discharged from the gun.


Another defect is demonstrated when someone drops the gun on its hammer (the hammer is cocked before firing). The drop of the weapon on its hammer will cause an uncocked hammer to move forward and cause the firing pin to strike the bullet casing , again causing a discharge of the weapon without a trigger pull.

The state of Texas has become notorious for a lack of construction safety. Recently, the Department of Labor announced increased enforcement of construction safety regulations in San Antonio Texas. An unacceptable 67 workers have died on the job in 2008, and another 33 died to date in 2009.

There are many types of Texas industrial accidents that occur needlessly, and they occur as a result of employer negligence and failure to implement safety measures. For example, cranes often tip over causing injuries. Crane injuries are often due to inadequate warnings about the load capacity of the crane and the altitude those loads can be lifted. Cranes possess devices that warn if a dangerous load could potentially cause a crane to tip over.

Forklift injuries in greater San Antonio are also common especially for the operators of stand up forklifts. The operator backs the forklift and is injured by materials that penetrate the position where the operator is standing or the operator’s foot or leg is just outside the platform and the leg or foot is seriously crushed. Forklift manufacturers are easily able to install “falling object protection” devices that prevent forklift injuries.

We all remember the tragic Firestone injuries and accidents that occurred throughout San Antonio and the state of Texas a few years ago, and the lengths to which tire manufacturers have gone to avoid liability.

The cornerstone behind tire blowouts and defects is a phenomenon known as ‘ detreading ‘. Detreading is the foundation of a great deal of auto injuries, and an injured victim needs a San Antonio and greater Texas personal injury attorney who knows how to work tire defect cases.

When a tire detreads, the tread of the tire literally separates from the rest of the tire. Alternatively, underneath the tire tread are steel belts which can also detach from the tire. The tire manufacturers utilize unacceptable bonding techniques that cause the separation.

Contact Information