Product Recalls: Protecting Consumers and Demanding Corporate Accountability

As a young lawyer in Chicago I saw the toll that a contaminated food product took on the community and beyond. In 1985, milk produced and sold by Jewel Foods poisoned over 15,000 consumers with salmonella before the massive grocery store chain issued a product recall. I was an associate at a law firm serving on the committee of personal injury attorneys prosecuting the largest mass tort litigation to date. The faces of the plaintiffs affected were those of our friends, siblings, parents, grandparents and children. The injuries ranged from a few days of feeling deathly ill, being permanently afflicted with arthritis, to death. Prosecuting this case opened my eyes to the profound public trust held by companies who produce what we eat, drive, and consume in every aspect of our lives.

Today product recalls seem like everyday occurrences, Chipotle, Toyota, Volkswagen, Firestone, Graco and Merck. Thousands of products are recalled in the U.S. every year, so what do you need to know as a consumer? How do you know when to help yourself and when you need the help of others?

First, be proactive: err on the side of prevention. If you’re shopping for a new baby or child, research the products, over 2,000 child products and toys were recalled last year. When you purchase vehicles or are having health-related issues, make sure that the drugs or medical device being prescribed, like hip or knee replacements, are not associated with defects, ask questions of your doctor or pharmacist, know what you are getting. Start with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, www.cpsc.gov or call: 1 (800) 638-2772, and dig deeper on the internet if you are able. If you hear of a product recall on the news, pay attention and act accordingly. It was a hardship, but my teenagers took their favorite fast food off the menu at the end of last year, and Chipotle stock still hasn’t recovered from the blow.

Next, if you do become injured, i.e. sick after consuming certain foods or drugs, your medical device fails, your vehicle or a consumer product did not operate as it should, seek medical help. If you find that a product you were using was the subject of a recall, consult a lawyer. Attorneys are your consumer product safety advocates. Your attorney’s main focus is obtaining a recovery for you and what you have lost as the result of a defective product. The public also enjoys a residual benefit in shining a light on defective products and corporate practices that harm consumers and this makes for less injuries and better safety measures in the future. Not to harp on Chipotle, but they are scrutinizing and completely revamping their food safety practices in an effort to keep their customers healthy and coming back. This is a direct result of the catastrophic product recall of their products contaminated with foodborne bacteria.

The relationship between company and consumer is a symbiotic one and sometimes it takes a crisis and a victim’s advocate to insure accountability and change. After all, “it’s not how we make mistakes, but how we correct them that defines us.”

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From our offices in downtown Chicago our personal injury litigation attorneys represent clients in communities throughout Cook County and Illinois. Learn more about ways we can help you receive the compensation you need for your physical, mental, emotional, and financial recovery. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.

$27

million

Product Liability - Family man paralyzed in a boating injury when he fell from the upper deck of a yacht. The offer by the insurance company for the defendant was only $3 million before trial and $25 million after three weeks of jury trial, offered after closing arguments.

Trial Attorneys Mark McNabola, Ruth Degnan

$20

million

Construction Site Negligence - A man was demonstrating construction equipment known as a “man lift," and was elevated in the air. The lift collapsed, and the plaintiff suffered permanent injuries to his ankle and lower back. McNabola represented one of two seriously injured plaintiffs. Prior to trial, the offer was only $3 million.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$14

million

Medical Malpractice - Following induced labor, the unborn child suffered fetal distress, C-section delivery was delayed. The baby’s mother died from an amniotic fluid embolism during delivery and the baby suffered severe developmental delays.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$12

million

Medical Malpractice - A 52 year old man suffered an anoxic brain injury following routine bowel surgery when doctors and nurses at a suburban hospital failed to properly monitor and treat post-operative metabolic changes. This case concluded after evidentiary rulings at the time of jury selection. The offer before trial was only $3 million.

Trial Attorneys Mark McNabola, Ruth Degnan

$10

million

Trucking Negligence - A grandmother who was rendered wheelchair dependent in a motor vehicle incident involving car versus truck. The offer for settlement prior to trial was only $2 million.

Trial Attorneys Mark McNabola, Ruth Degnan

$9.2

million

Medical Malpractice - A young woman suffered amputations as a result of complications following surgery at a suburban hospital in a collar county of Chicago. The doctors and nurses failed to develop and implement an appropriate plan to manage blood thinning medications pre and post-operatively leading to severe clotting and tissue death. The case settled after evidentiary rulings at the time of jury selection. Offer before trial was only $2 million.

Trial Attorneys Mark McNabola, Ruth Degnan

$8.8

million

Trucking Negligence - A young girl was killed when she was struck by a vehicle that had previously collided with a bus that was traveling too fast for conditions. After a ten-day jury trial, a Cook County jury returned a verdict in favor of the family. According to the Jury Verdict Reporter, this is a record high verdict for the wrongful death of a minor in a motor vehicle accident. There was no offer for settlement by any defendant.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$7

million

Trucking Negligence - Cook County jury awarded $7 Million to a construction worker who lost his leg working on a City of Chicago site. As a result of the defendant’s failure to safely route traffic in the area the man was pinned against his truck by a driver. The defendant did not offer any money to settle the case.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$6

million

Motorcycle Negligence - A teenager and her father were injured in a motorcycle accident. The 15 y/o suffered a severe fracture of her right ankle and has required multiple surgeries

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola