Tag: class action lawsuits

Defective Product Personal Injury Lawsuits

The Beautiful Lies

Defective product litigation and injury lawsuits involve defective and unreasonably dangerous products that cause personal injuries and even death. Manufacturers of defective products are liable for design defects, improper safety devices and manufacturing defects that cause injury.

Product liability lawyers will evaluate cases involving defective consumer goods that cause physical injuries such as burns, fractures, head injuries and blindness. Lawsuits can be brought against manufacturers for design defects, improper safety devices and manufacturing defects, and marketing defects (failure to warn of possible hazards). Injuries, deaths and property damage from defective and recalled products cost the public more than $500 billion each year.  There are four legal means for establishing liability in personal injury cases where a defective product has caused injury.

  • Negligence occurs when expected, reasonable care is not taken and a legal responsibility exists to do so. The lack of care can be the result of carelessness or even malice. Negligence can occur when defective parts or improper assembly results in a dangerous or malfunctioning product.
  • Breach of warranty takes place when a seller fails to uphold a claim or promise about a product.
  • False advertising that leads consumers to believe a product is safer than it really is, or distracts them from potential risks inherent in the use of a product, can be argued as misrepresentations under breach of warranty or under strict liability.
  • “Strict liability” makes the manufacturer or seller of a defective product responsible for all injuries occurring from the use of the product. The victim must show that the product was defective, and that the defect was the cause of the personal injury. If so proven, then strict liability holds the manufacturer or seller responsible, regardless of fault or intent. “Strict liability” means everyone involved in the making of a consumer product is potentially liable for any personal injury that results from using the product.

There are three main types of product defects that can result in a personal injury.  These occur before the product is created, in the initial design and planning stage.These flaws result from mistakes that take place during the actual manufacturing stage.  Advertising misrepresentations occur when sellers do not provide adequate warnings or instructions, or define the potential risks of using the product.  More than one party may be legally responsible for a personal injury, i.e. the designer, manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, advertiser, etc.

You may need to know how old the product is that injured you. Most states have laws limiting how long the manufacturer or seller can be held liable for personal injuries. The limits are usually from six to 12 years after the product was first sold on the market.

Product liability cases usually involve products such as toys, automobile design, household products, industrial machinery and equipment, farm machinery, products causing explosions and burns, aviation products, medical devices or drugs and any other defective or unreasonably dangerous product.

A “defective product” is one that causes some injury or damage to person because of some defect in the product or its labeling or the way the product was used. The manufacturer, and others involved in the chain of commerce involving the products that caused the injury, are often liable for injuries defective products cause.

Real Hair Truth Cosmetic/Beauty Product Injury Lawsuits

the real hair truth

Injuries from cosmetic products can come in a wide variety of forms — from allergic reactions to infections and other complications. There are two main legal theories that a person injured by a cosmetic product (the plaintiff) could sue under: product liability and breach of warranty. This article discusses what a plaintiff in a cosmetic injury suit must prove under either theory, cases specifically related to allergic reactions, and the possibility of class action lawsuits.

Product Liability: The Basics

The most likely theory to be used in a lawsuit involving cosmetic product injuries is product liability. An injured plaintiff can sue both the manufacturer and/or the seller (the defendant) of the cosmetic product if his or her injury was caused by a defect, a defective design or improper labeling. Most states follow what is called the “strict product liability” rule, although a few still use traditional negligence rules.

A plaintiff suing under a strict liability theory simply needs to prove:

  • that he or she was the kind of consumer that the defendant intended to use the product
  • that the defect did not occur after the product was sold, and
  • that the plaintiff was injured.

This kind of theory is called “strict liability” because many of the requirements in a standard negligence case, like proof of a specific duty of care owed to the plaintiff, are not included. Most states adopted strict liability for mass-marketed consumer products because, among other things, the manufacturers needed to be financially responsible for their products, and not be allowed to escape liability simply because of the difficulty plaintiffs faced trying to prove negligence claims.

In a negligence case (in those few states that still use this theory for consumer products), the plaintiff will need to prove:

  • that he or she bought the product from the defendant
  • that the defendant should have known that the product could be dangerous if unaccompanied by proper warnings, or that the product had a defect
  • that the failure to warn the plaintiff, or the defect or defective design, injured the plaintiff, and
  • that the plaintiff didn’t do anything to cause the injury.

Breach of Warranty

A cosmetic product injury case based on a breach of warranty theory will be the same as other standard breach of warranty cases.

An injured plaintiff could sue for breach of an express warranty if the seller or manufacturer made specific guarantees that a product would have specific effects that the product did not have (note that this theory might not fit with most cases involving an actual injury).

The plaintiff could also sue for breach of an implied warranty that the cosmetic product was fit for normal use, i.e. the implied guarantee that no normal cosmetic product would cause an injury if used properly.

Finally, the plaintiff could sue for breach of an implied warranty that the product was fit for a specific purpose, i.e. that the defendant knew the plaintiff wanted to use the product for a specific purpose, but the product caused an injury when the plaintiff tried use it.

There are many state and federal laws controlling breach of warranty claims. Some breach of warranty claims may not be appropriate when the plaintiff is suing for physical injuries, if the law only allows compensation for the money lost on the product (what is called “economic damages”).

Some warranty laws, however, do allow a plaintiff to sue for physical injuries. Perhaps more importantly, proving a breach of warranty can help prove a strict liability or negligence claim. A plaintiff is not limited to suing under one theory, so including a breach of warranty claim in a cosmetic injury lawsuit will generally help a plaintiff’s case overall.

Injuries Caused by Allergies

If a manufacturer knows, or should know, that a product might cause an allergic reaction in some people, injured plaintiffs could potentially sue the manufacturer for failing to warn about the allergic reaction under a strict liability or negligence theory. A breach of warranty theory might also be possible if the allergic reaction is not extremely rare, i.e. the product was not fit for cosmetic use because some percentage of the population was allergic.

Class Actions for Cosmetic Product Injuries

If a cosmetic product causes many or all of its users the same kind of injury, then a class action may be possible. In a class action case, multiple plaintiffs with the same kind of injury from the same source sue the defendant in one lawsuit.

If someone is injured by a cosmetic product, they or their attorney should research whether there is already a class action case or a settlement fund for people injured by the product. Often, even though the case has settled, there will be a fund to pay those who were not a part of the original case.

Suave Keratin Infusion Class Action lawsuit Survives Dismissal!

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As I reported in the prior entry of my blog. According to the suit, Unilever also tried to get women who had reported side effects from the product to them to sign a release preventing them from suing the company, in exchange “for as little as $50.00 for a haircut.” Here is the Real Story provided by Top Class Actions.com who I feel is a reliable source for beauty/cosmetic legal news.

A Kentucky federal judge has rejected Unilever U.S. Inc.’s motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit accusing the company of falsely advertising that its Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion 30 Day Smoothing Kit products are safe, even though they allegedly caused hair to fall out.

Due to a lack of explicitly relevant Kentucky state case law, Judge Joseph H. McKinley relied heavily on a similar decision in district court in Illinois, especially regarding the women’s claims that the company breached express warranties. The women both alleged that they chose the product because it would only last 30 days and would result in smoother hair. Instead one woman suffered breakage and the other reportedly developed scalp burns after using the product.
Plaintiffs Terri Naiser and Jonnie Phillips allege in the Suave Keratin class action lawsuit, filed last year, that they purchased the kit because it was advertised as a keratin-based smoothing treatment instead of a chemical relaxer and its effects were supposed to last up to 30 days. The plaintiffs also claim they purchased the product because the label said that it did not contain formaldehyde and that the treatment was safe. Naiser and Phillips allege that all of these claims are untrue, and that the product contains an ingredient or combination of ingredients that cause hair to fall out.

While Unilever recalled the Suave Keratin Smoothing Kit in May 2012, the company allegedly failed to warn consumers about the side effects associated with it. In their class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs argued that Unilever breached express and implied warranties and violated consumer protection laws by issuing a late and incomplete recall of the hazardous product.

Unilever sought to dismiss the Suave Professional Keratin class action lawsuit in its entirety, arguing that the plaintiffs failed to identify an “affirmation of fact or promise” by the company that was untrue. Unilever also claimed that the plaintiffs did not adequately argue that they relied on the advertisements when making the choice to purchase the product. Further, the company argued, there was no privity of contract under Kentucky law because the plaintiffs purchased the products from a retailer and not directly from the company itself. For these reasons, Unilever argued, the plaintiffs did not have standing to file the class action lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr. rejected Unilever’s motion to dismiss the class action lawsuit, finding that the plaintiffs adequately pled their case. He found that the plaintiffs sufficiently argued that the Suave Keratin Smoothing Kit was advertised as a “smoothing” product and not a “chemical relaxer,” a representation that could be considered an “affirmation of fact or promise” that could survive a motion to dismiss. He rejected Unilever’s argument that the representation was “mere puffery,” finding instead that it could be interpreted as a factual statement by a reasonable consumer.

Judge McKinley also found that the plaintiffs sufficiently argued that they relied on Unilever’s representation, believing they were purchasing a short-term hair smoothing product instead of a harsh chemical relaxer when they chose to buy the Suave Keratin Smoothing Kit. He also found that the class action lawsuit could proceed under the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act because the plaintiffs adequately argued that Unilever engaged in false, misleading or deceptive practices.

The plaintiffs are represented by Richard A. Getty and Danielle Brown of the Getty Law Group PLLC; Peter Safirstein, Elizabeth S. Metcalf and Christopher S. Polaszek of Morgan & Morgan PC; and Jana Eisinger of Law Office of Jana Eisinger PLLC.

The Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion 30 Day Smoothing Kit Class Action Lawsuit is Terri Naiser, et al. v. Unilever United States Inc., et al., Case No. 3:13-cv-00395, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky.

This article was provided from the website Top Class Actions!