Two Recalls and a Verdict

Sep. 14th, 2012   /   ,

 

Personal injury law spans many categories, including (but not limited to) automobile accidents, slip-and-falls, medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, product liability and, last but not least, defamation. Personal injury doesn’t just have to do with physical injures one can sustain from an injury. Personal injury can occur in many forms from a multitude of situations. In this blog, we’re going to recount some recent news pertaining to the last two categories listed above, those of product liability and defamation.

Product recalls happen more than you might think, but unless you’re the owner of a vehicle that has been recalled, you probably don’t hear about it very often, if at all. If you do own a vehicle that’s been recalled, either the manufacturer or the dealership from where you leased or bought the car will contact you. Therefore, if you’re the owner of a Chevy Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainer, Saab 9-7x, or Isuzu Ascenders, and you purchased the car in one of the northern states, you may be receiving word shortly that you’re vehicle has been recalled. That’s because General Motors is recalling 250,000 sport utility vehicles (SUVs) because of a certain electrical issue that can cause fires. In the above-mentioned vehicles, it is possible for liquid to enter the driver’s door module which can cause corrosion that could lead to a short-circuit. Such a short-circuit can, according to the official recall, melt parts of the door which can product “odor, smoke, or a fire.” According to GM, 28 door fires have already taken place in connection with the issue. GM is issuing the recall as a means by which to protect their customers, yes, but also to protect their interests. After all, they are responsible for their products and they don’t want to face a product liability lawsuit.

This next recall is somewhat “infantile.” Four million units of Bumbo Baby Seats have been recalled because of the risk of babies falling out of them, according to a report by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. If you own one of these baby seats, the company is not asking that you send it back—instead, you can order a free repair kit that will contain a restraint belt, designed to keep your baby in the seat (imagine that)! Five years ago, one million Bumbo Baby Seats were recalled for a similar reason, prompting consumers and lawyers alike to consider what, if anything, the company did to correct the problem in the first place. In fact, according to the aforementioned government agency, there have been dozens of similar incidents even after the 2007 recall. At any rate, the baby seats have been recalled and the company has prompted consumers to order additional restraints provided at no charge. We will let you know what happens with this recall, and if babies do continue to fall out of the seat designed specifically to hold them.

Finally, our third bit of news is not of the “recall” variety. This last piece has to do with ugly defamation, and should serve as a lesson that what you say can, and very often does, come back to bite. In 2010, a man named Chris Armstrong became the first openly-gay student body president at the University of Michigan. Shortly thereafter, a blog called “Chris Armstrong Watch” popped up; apparently someone wasn’t too fond of the student body president. The person who allegedly ran the website was an assistant state attorney general by the name of Andrew Shirvell, who allegedly lambasted Armstrong over the internet, calling him a “Nazi,” a “liar,” “Satan’s representative in the student assembly,” a “privileged pervert” and allegedly accusing him of promoting a “radical homosexual agenda.” Shirvell allegedly stalked Armstrong on Facebook to find out where he hung out, and then followed Armstrong and his friends. Shirvell allegeldy picketed outside clubs that Armstrong went to and videotaped the outside of Armstrong’s home. On one occasion, he allegedly called the local police to break-up a party that Armstrong was at and then blogged about how the police “raided an out of control gay party.” Because of his defamatory and disparaging remarks (and not to mention his bizarre behavior toward Mr. Armstrong), Shirvell was ordered to pay $4.5 million to Mr. Armstrong following a civil lawsuit by Armstrong.

People, and companies, are responsible for what they put out into the world. If a company puts out a harmful product, they are required to recall it and take the appropriate actions by which to prevent harm to their customers. If someone takes to the internet (and the streets) to defame somebody’s characters with baseless accusations, they too are to be held responsible for their damging actions. Justice can be served. If you feel you have been wronged by somebody, and have suffered subsequent damages, please contact us at 561-266-9191 or email us at daronberg@aronberglaw.com.

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