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Personal Injury Law Firm Blog | Witzer Law Blog

U.S. Regulators Issue Recall of Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Today, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued an official recall for the Galaxy Note 7, the Korean electronics manufacturer Samsung’s flagship large-screen smartphone, which is widely viewed as the arch-rival of Apple’s iPhone. The recall was issued for all Note 7 smartphones sold before September 15, 2016 and was based on 92 reports received by Samsung (and later reported to the CPSC)¬†of the devices’ batteries overheating during charging, causing some of the phones to burst into flames and causing serious personal injuries. ¬†This week, a man who suffered third degree burns when his Galaxy Note 7 exploded, filed a products liability lawsuit against the Korean smartphone manufacturer in New Jersey state court.

The lithium-ion batteries used in the Galaxy Note 7. and several other consumer electronics, have been the subject of several reports in recent years of exploding hoverboards , overheating laptops, and causing electrical disturbances on airplanes. ¬†However, due to the widespread use of smartphones, the explosion risk posed by the Note 7 could cause a serious dent into the brand image for Samsung, who is the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer and is considered to be Apple’s chief competitor in the high-end smartphone ¬†market. Given the ubiquity of smartphones, it is very likely that more personal injury lawsuits will follow the one that was filed in New Jersey this week, causing even more damage to Samsung’s reputation, and consequently to¬†its bottom line.

The CPSC’s recall allows the U.S. government to take several steps to address the risk posed by the Note 7 smartphones, including making it illegal to continue selling the devices or use them on airplanes. Indeed, even before the recall was announced today, several airlines have banned passengers from using or charging their Note 7’s on flights due to the risk of explosion. A similar ban was instituted by airlines for hoverboards containing lithium-ion batteries during the busy holiday travel season last year, which are prone to exploding even when not in use.

Samsung has been criticized by consumer advocates and U.S. regulators for its initial response to to the safety crisis. In late August, Samsung announced that it would delay shipments of the Note 7 following reports in the Korean media of exploding handsets. Earlier this month, the company announced a voluntary replacement program, but did not inform U.S. regulators about it prior to making the program public-a potential violation of U.S. law governing recalls of consumer products. ¬†Additionally, Samsung has been criticized for downplaying the risk posed by the Note 7, most notably for telling its customers in South Korea that the problem could be fixed by simply downloading a software patch onto their phones that would limit the charge on the device’s batteries, implying that the phones were safe to use so long as they were not fully charged. You can read more about the Note 7 recall here: ¬†https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2016/09/15/consumer-product-safety-commission-issues-an-official-recall-for-the-galaxy-note-7/

This isn’t the first time that Samsung has faced controversy over reports of its consumer products causing personal injuries and property damages. There have been several reports worldwide¬†over the last few years that Samsung’s popular top loading washing machines have a tendency to explode during operation due to a design defect that caused the internal drums in the machines to come loose and become disengaged when the steel suspension mounts securing them failed. Consumers across the globe have also reported that Samsung washers have been prone to catch fire spontaneously and leak water, causing extensive property damage. An exploding Samsung washer caused injury to a California woman, who filed suit against the company in 2014.¬†

The trial attorneys at the Law Offices of Brian D. Witzer have extensive experience in litigating product liability claims involving defective consumer appliances, automobiles, heavy machinery, medical devices, and dangerous drugs, and have achieved record setting results for our clients. If you or a loved one have been injured by an exploding Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, or any other defective consumer appliance, contact the lawyers at the Law Offices of Brian D. Witzer for a free consultation regarding your legal rights.

Balcony Collapse in Berkeley, CA Kills 6, Injures Several More

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Five Irish nationals and one Sonoma County, CA native were killed when a balcony they were standing on collapsed during a 21st birthday party at the Library Gardens apartment complex in Berkeley, CA, which sits adjacent to the UC Berkeley campus. Several others were taken to area hospitals with life threatening injuries. You can read the full story here, or watch television coverage of this tragedy here.

The deceased were all current and former students, including five Irish nationals who were traveling and working in the Bay Area in various academic and work exchange programs. The reports of the deaths were major news in Ireland, due to the country’s relative ¬†small size and the tragedy of losing so many citizens in one tragic event.

Local authorities are beginning their investigation into the reasons behind the collapse, but already one expert has opined that dry rot of the balcony’s wooden support beams could have contributed to the collapse. Pictures and video of the broken wooden beams reviewed by the expert indicated a classic case of dry rot, which would have been the result of water intrusion into the building that subsequently rotted the wood supporting the balcony. According to public records, the apartment complex was built less than ten years ago and is one of the newer large housing complexes in Berkeley.

Events like these are tragic, but are entirely preventable, and they usually result from property developers and managers taking short cuts in the construction and maintenance of multi-family housing complexes and commercial buildings in order to save money. The Law Offices of Brian D. Witzer is uniquely qualified in the investigation of personal injury and wrongful death cases arising from construction defects and shoddy maintenance of residential and commercial property. The firm secured a record setting $25 million settlement in the middle of a trial involving construction defects in a beach home that caused toxic exposure to the family residing there, the result of the use of contaminated building materials in order to save money on construction costs. The firm also won a landmark $14 million verdict against Radisson Hotels for improperly constructed hotel windows that enabled a man to fall six floors, who remarkably survived, but sustained serious injuries including traumatic brain injury. You can learn more about these and other victories by our firm  in the Video Library section of our website.

The trial attorneys at the Law Offices of Brian Witzer have not only the financial resources to see a case through to trial, but have an extensive networks of preeminent experts in the construction, medical, and engineering fields who routinely work with us on major construction defect cases. In addition to the scientific and legal expertise to get complex cases to trial, our legal team boasts nearly forty years of unparalleled trial experience, with firm founder Brian Witzer having tried nearly 150 cases to verdict.

If you or a loved one has been injured because of construction defects in residential or commercial property, contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Brian D. Witzer for a free consultation regarding your legal rights.

FDA Warns of Dangerous Side Effects for Diabetes Drug Invokana and Invokamet

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

On May 15, 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning that the diabetes drugs called sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, which are sold under the trade names Invokana and Invokamet, can cause ketoacidosis, a serious condition in which the body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones that may require hospitalization. The condition can lead to diabetic coma and in some cases, death.

The FDA reviewed its drug adverse events database and found 20 cases of ketoacidosis associated with SGLT2 inhibitors like Invokana and Invokamet, which required hospitalization from March 2013 to June 2014. Based on these findings, the FDA issued the warning and has initiated an investigation into this serious safety risk with SGLT2 inhibitors. The agency cautions patients to pay close attention to early symptoms of ketoacidosis, such as difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, confusion and unusual fatigue or sleepiness. Patients taking these drugs should consult their doctor immediately if they begin experiencing any of these symptoms.

If you or a loved one has diabetes and has suffered ketoacidosis or any other adverse reaction from a SGLT2 inhibitor like Invokana or Invokamet, contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Brian D. Witzer for a free consultation regarding your legal rights against the manufacturer of these medications.

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