Category Archives: Defective Products

Defective St. Jude ICD / CRT-D Devices

Defective St. Jude ICD / CRT-D Devices

assura-ellipseSt. Jude Medical Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) and Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Defibrillator (CRT-D) devices – Early Battery Depletion

If you are a New York user of a St. Jude Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) or Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Defibrillator (CRT-D), you need to be aware of a major defect in the device’s battery that can lead to injury or death at worst, and necessitate immediate replacement of the device at best.

Due to conductive lithium deposits in the battery, it can possibly deplete rapidly enough to lose all power within a 24-hour window. This renders the device completely inoperable. Under normal circumstances, a user of one of these devices would have a significant warning as to a nearly depleted battery, and would be able to plan a replacement far in advance. The potential of a catastrophic and sudden device failure presents a situation where the typical “Elective Replacement Indicator” (ERI) signal may only come 24 hours before the device ceases to function, and many are forced to have their devices replaced immediately.

This defect is not acceptable for such a medical device, as it puts patients’ health at grave risk. Failure of the device to operate can and has led to serious injuries to users of the devices, as well as forcing premature procedures to replace the devices. If you, a family member, or someone you know has been put in this situation, or currently has one of these devices, we implore you to call us. We can help recover money for injuries or other complications stemming from these defective medical devices. We can be reached at 800-734-9445, or via email at Info@RGLZlaw.com.

Relevant FDA Notices

FDA Safety Communications
FDA MedWatch Safety Alert

VW “DieselGate” Emissions Scandal Update

vw-dieselgate

The Volkswagen emissions scandal is heading into its third month at this point, and things seem to keep getting worse as time goes on. Today we’re going to look at some new developments that have come about in recent weeks, as well as look forward at VW’s rumored plans to “fix” the issues with its diesel powered cars. If you missed our original article about the scandal and what it entails, Click Here to read up on that.

The Scandal now Includes All Diesels Since 2009

That’s right. If you own a VW group diesel produced in the years since 2009, your car is affected. Initially VW denied that some models were affected by the emissions cheating software, but in recent weeks they’ve caved under mounting pressure from regulators worldwide, and have come to admit that this cheating extends to every diesel sold in the last 6 years. They’ve also stopped production on all diesel models in the aftermath of this revelation.

Implications of Emissions Cheating are Beginning to Spread to Gasoline Powered Cars Too

In early November, Volkswagen disclosed that it may have “understated” the amount of CO2 emissions on up to 800,000 cars, now including gasoline powered cars for the first time. While this side of the story hasn’t come out completely, there’s reason to believe that this scandal could be far from over, and new inclusions to the list of vehicles affected by the emissions cheating could continue to grow by the day.

VW has Rolled out a Somewhat Disingenuous “Goodwill” Program for TDI Owners

If you’re a Volkswagen TDI owner, VW will be offering you a bit of bribe money to make you feel better. The offer includes a $500 pre-paid gift card, $500 service voucher, and 3 years of free roadside assistance. What it doesn’t include, thankfully, is any fine print that forces you to give up your right to sue. So you can feel free to take the gift offering, and still pursue legal compensation in regards to the scandal. And you may want to think of doing so, because…

Volkswagen has Seemingly Chosen the “Software Update” as Their Plan to “Fix” the Cars

As of today (November 24), VW has come out saying that their plan for the majority of the affected cars is to reprogram the ECU. If you read our previous article, this means that the cars in question are facing down major negative changes in performance and fuel economy. It’s a lose-lose situation for customers that will do the least damage to VW’s bottom line, and the most damage to the cars’ resale value. Now is the best time to explore your legal options as an owner of a VW diesel vehicle.

The Volkswagen Emissions Scandal and You: What Action Can You Take?

VW Pic

By now, Volkswagen’s emissions scandal has become common knowledge amongst the average American. What most people know is that VW cheated on their emissions testing for diesel vehicles, and that they are facing down fines from the US government to the tune of billions of dollars. In short, owners of these vehicles have been the victims of a major fraud, and are entitled to compensation. Compensation that RGLZ Law can help you win from VW. But what exactly did VW do to cheat these tests, and how exactly does that affect you as the owner of one of the affected vehicles? Read on to find out more.

What is the ECU? And Why does it Matter?

First we’ll need a little background in how modern automobiles function, as well as the regulations that must be met for them to be sold. Modern cars are significantly different from cars of 20-30 years ago in many drastic ways, but perhaps most drastically in how they function. Whereas cars of old used linkages, carburetors, and other mechanical means to translate your inputs into action and run the motor properly, today’s cars are primarily controlled by an ECU, or Engine Control Unit. This is a computer that manages almost every part of a car’s operation, and is essentially the “brain” of the car. It receives information from every part of the motor, and every input from the driver, to properly optimize engine performance under any sort of conditions. Most of a car’s operation is now digital instead of mechanical, and the ECU is what takes all of this data and translates it into action.

The ECU must be programmed extensively from the factory to balance a number of factors. This programming is what is known as a “tune” or “engine map”. The car’s factory tune aims to achieve the best possible combination of power, fuel economy, and emissions. But in the case of Diesel powered cars, increased power and fuel economy come at the expense of far higher emissions. Much more so than gasoline powered cars. The United States EPA has a set of very stringent guidelines for just how high the emissions of a car can be, and so theoretically, compromises would have to be made in terms of power and fuel economy to ensure compliance with emissions standards.

What did VW do to the ECU to Cheat Emissions?

The crux of the scandal comes from the fact that Volkswagen had a separate and secret ECU tunebuilt into their diesel powered cars, with the express purpose of beating emissions tests. To many car buyers, power and fuel economy are major drivers of their decision making, and sacrificing these things to meet emissions standards was apparently something that Volkswagen engineers thought would make their cars uncompetitive in the marketplace. Unable to strike a good balance of power, fuel economy, and emissions, they chose to engineer a workaround for emissions testing instead of making that sacrifice.

The car’s ECU was engineered to know when emissions testing devices were plugged into the car, at which point it would replace the factory ECU tune with one that would meet the testing standards. As soon as the testing devices were removed, the ECU would immediately go back to the factory map which was nowhere near being in compliance.

How Does This Affect VW Diesel Owners?

So where does this leave the owner of one of these Diesel powered VW cars? Unfortunately there is no “fix” to this problem that does not severely affect the value of their automobile. As the cars are now, their emissions levels are far beyond the allowable amount. Though no action will be taken against drivers of these cars, this is still something that would affect perception of the cars, and therefore their resale value. To bring the cars into compliance with emissions standards, VW would have to recall the cars, and permanently program their ECUs with the secret “testing” map. The problem with this is that it would have drastic negative effects on the drivability, power, and fuel economy of the vehicles in question. This might hurt the value of the cars more than doing nothing, and there would doubtlessly be people who would choose not to participate in a recall for these reasons.

As it stands, there is no situation where this scandal does not constitute undue damage to the value of these affected automobiles, and as such, product liability claims are likely an option for owners of said vehicles. Legal recourse may be the only way for Volkswagen customers to be made whole in the aftermath, even in the case of a manufacturer buyback of the affected vehicles. If you currently own one of the affected Volkswagen vehicles, we highly recommend speaking with a product liability attorney at this time to explore your legal options. With class actions on the way, there may a limited amount of time to take action in this regard.

Can exposure to toxins lead to product liability for hookah use?

It seems the message about the dangers of cigarettes have made an impression on today’s youth. However, the entire message has been somehow skewed since teens, especially, have turned to another source for their tobacco use. There has been an extraordinary rise in the number of young people from New York and every other state who have admitted to using hookah pipes. Due to the high risk of exposure to toxins, the possibility that the makers of these implements could be the subject of a product liability case may grow.

Reportedly, slightly less than 20 percent of teenagers partake in this latest tobacco fad. The hookahs are a water-filled pipe through which the users inhale a variety of flavored smoke. The process of burning the tobacco releases high concentrations of carbon monoxide fumes, as well as toxic metals and chemicals that have been implicated in causing cancers.

One of the by-products is benzene, which has been shown to play a role in leukemia. Moreover, carbon monoxide can harm the user’s heart health. Even smoking a hookah one time can lead to poisoning from carbon monoxide. Many teens seem to believe that these tobacco devices are relatively safe, but long-term use can lead to even more serious consequences, since the users take deeper and more frequent inhalations.

The teens who come from more affluent and educated backgrounds are apparently the ones more inclined to partake of the smoking devices. However, most are unaware of the serious health risks that hookahs pose. New York families who strongly suspect that the use of one of these implements may have led to the development of a serious illness or disease may choose to assess the viability of pursuing a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturers and/or other parties that may be responsible.

Source: wallstcheatsheet.com, “Hookah: An Adolescent Trend More Dangerous Than Smoking“, Susmita Baral, July 12, 2014