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$4.5 Billion Penalty Assessed Against BP for Oil Spill Fallout

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on November 16, 2012

More than two years ago, an explosion aboard BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico cost 11 individuals their lives and led to gallons upon gallons of oil to be distributed through the gulf over the course of nearly three months.  It’s been a long time coming, but the Justice Department has now instituted record penalties against BP for their role in the disaster.

The settlement, which BP agreed to, tasks the company with paying $4.5 billion, much of which will be used by authorities to aid environmental improvement efforts in those areas that were most plagued by damage in the wake of the disaster.  The company also pleads guilty for criminal misconduct.  Not helping BP’s case was their response to Congress, with which they reportedly tried to downplay the effects of the crisis.

Civil penalties in the case still have to be assessed, and lawmakers would like to see the Justice Department act similarly harsh toward BP in that regard as well.  An agreement reached by Congress will find 80% of the civil fine eventually administered being given to the southern states along the coast.  That way, the states can improve their local economies and correct the environmental damage.

Companies need to do whatever they can to ensure safety.  As seen by this case, a failure to do so can lead to severe penalties.

Children’s Clothing Retailer to Pay Fine Over Drawstrings

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on September 2, 2011

In a news release Thursday, the U.S. Product Safety Commission announced that Sunsations Inc. as agreed to pay a $60,000 civil penalty to resolve agency allegations that the Virginia Beach, Va., company knowingly failed to report safety issues with children’s apparel sold by the firm.

The CPSC claims that Sunsations sold children’s hooded sweatshirts with drawstrings at the neck from March 2008 through November 2010 but failed to comply with federal law by notifying the safety agency of the presence of the drawstrings. Drawstrings on children’s upper outerwear pose a strangulation hazard that can lead to serious injury or death.

In December 2009 and in March 2011, Sunsations recalled more than 15,000 children’s sweatshirts sold in Sunsations stores in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina. While Sunsations has agreed to the settlement, which has been provisionally approved by the CPCS, the clothing retailer denies regulator allegations that the firm knowingly violated the law.

As a Los Angeles personal injury attorney, consumer safety is something that I am very aware of; I hope that no children were injured by wearing one of the sweatshirts. Because of my experience as a product defect lawyer, I know that the effects of a dangerous product can range from inconvenience and frustration to injury and sometimes death. I encourage consumers to think “safety first” when evaluating products for purchase.

Perfect Fitness to Pay Fine to Settle Unsafe Product Charges

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on August 11, 2011

In a news release Wednesday, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that Perfect Fitness has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $425,000 to resolve allegations of failure to report a defective product.

According to the release, the CPSC alleges that the Sausalito, Calif.-based company violated federal law by knowingly failing to immediately report a defect with the company’s Perfect Pullup exercise equipment that causes the product’s handles to break while being used, posing a fall risk to consumers. The CPSC allegation claims that Perfect Fitness determined in June 2008 after re-testing the handle design that the product was defective. The Perfect Pullup was redesigned to correct the defect in July 2008 in the wake a complaint about the product and an unusually high level of product returns.

The CPSC allegation further claims that in March 2010, Perfect Fitness was award of at least 23 product-related injuries and had posted a notice on the company’s Web site notifying consumers of the option to receive free replacement handles, saying that the original handles were “inferior” and could lead to an accident. However, claims the CPSC, Perfect Fitness did not report the defect to the agency until December 2010. A recall was issued for approximately 7,000 Perfect Pullups in February 2011.

In agreeing to the settlement, Perfect Fitness denies allegations that it knowingly violated federal law.

As a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, I hope that no one else was harmed by this product.

CVS to Pay Fine for Failing to Report Hazardous Product

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on August 9, 2011

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Thursday in a news release that CVS Pharmacy, Inc. has agreed to pay a $45,000 civil penalty for failure to report drawstrings on an article of children’s clothing.

The penalty, which has been provisionally accepted by the CPSC, resolves the agency’s allegations that CVS knowingly failed to immediately report, as required by federal law, that from August 2008 to January 2009 the pharmacy chain sold children’s hooded jackets with drawstrings at the neck. Drawstrings on children’s upper outerwear pose strangulation and entanglement hazards that can lead to serious injury or death for children.

The jackets that are the subject of the penalty were recalled by the CPSC the importer of the jackets. The jackets were sold under the brand names Golden Grove and Young USA. In agreeing to the settlement, CVS denies the CPSC allegations that the retailer violated the law.

The CPSC issued guidelines regarding drawstrings on children’s upper outerwear to reduce the enganglement and strangling hazard in 1996. Ten years later in 2006, the CPSC’s Office of Compliance announced that children’s upper outerwear that had drawstrings on the hood or at the neck would be considered defective products that pose a considerable risk of harm to young children.

Federal law mandates that retailers, distributors, and manufactures report to the CPSC within 24 hours of obtaining information supporting that a product poses a hazard or does not comply with product safety rules.

Keeping children safe is of utmost importance. As a Fresno personal injury lawyer, I encourage parents to stay abreast of developments in child safety and to be vigilant when purchasing products meant for children.

Black & Decker to Pay $960,000 Penalty for Faulty Trimmer

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer on August 9, 2011

In a news release Wednesday, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Wednesday that Black & Decker has agreed to pay a $960,000 civil penalty for failure to report a defective trimmer/edger.

According to the release, the settlement, which as been provisionally accepted by the CPSC, resolves allegations by the agency that Black & Decker knowingly failed to immediately report safety defects and hazards associated with the Grasshog XP trimmer/edger as is required by federal law. The CPSC also claims that Black & Decker was not forthcoming when the agency requesting information during an investigation into the matter. In accepting the settlement, Black & Decker denies that it knowingly violated the law.

The CPSC alleges that on or before May 2006, Black & Decker was aware that the Grasshog XP GH1000, a high-powered, electrical gardening appliance, was defective and posed a risk of injury, but failed to notify the CPSC. The agency also claims that Black & Decker did not provide full information about Grasshog XP defects as requested in 2006. The case was closed based on the incomplete information provided at the time.  Black & Decker did not disclose the full extent of Grasshog XP defects or complaints until October 2006.

Black & Decker recalled approximately 200,000 Grasshog XP GH1000 trimmer/edgers in July 2007 after more than 700 complaints had been filed, including 58 reports of injuries. In August, the recall was re-announced amid 100 additional complaints. Consumers are urged to contact Black & Decker for a free repair kit.

As a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, I encourage anyone who has one of the recalled trimmer/edgers to arrange to receive the repair kit right away as multiple defects pose a serious risk of injury to users and bystanders.

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