Articles Posted in Product Liability

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After settling a claim on behalf of their client whose son was fatally injured in a furniture tip-over incident at home, attorneys Thomas Scolaro and Adam Rose filed a lawsuit against the entities behind the safety standards that the furniture industry lives by. American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) represents approximately 230 furniture manufacturers and distributors, and over 120 suppliers to the furniture industry worldwide. American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has 30,000 members worldwide overseeing more than 12,500 product safety and technical standards. The Furniture Safety Subcommittee within ASTM oversees the furniture stability standard, F2057-19.

In 2017, Meghan DeLong retained Leesfield Scolaro to file a wrongful death lawsuit following the death of her 2-year old son, Conner, in a furniture tip-over incident. In their testing, our experts discovered that the dresser in question would tip-over 100% of the time they replicated a young child climbing atop the very piece of furniture. Inversely, the defendant manufacturer argued that the dresser’s design satisfied ASTM’s voluntary standards, including tip-over prevention standards, and that their experts’ testing results showed 0% occurrence of the dresser tipping over. How could these two findings be true?

The answer is found in the ASTM standards themselves. The voluntary standard ASTM F2057-14, Standard Safety Specification Clothing Storage Units, establishes requirements for free-standing clothing storage units, (CSU) such as dressers, chests, and armoires, in the United States, and is intended to minimize the hazards associated with tipover. In practice however, the testing methods implemented by the furniture industry and approved by ASTM F2057-14, do not take into account dozens of crucial human factors that, if taken into account, render most pieces of furniture dangerous, thus defective.

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In the recent months, Leesfield Scolaro represented a family whose 2-year-old child lost his life in a furniture tip-over incident that occurred in the toddler’s bedroom. Despite the family’s endless love, care, and attention, the tragedy could not have been avoided. Millions of people put their trust in industries to abide by safety guidelines to prevent needless incidents, and yet every single day nearly two children will have to be hospitalized from furniture incidents – and hundreds will lose be fatally injured. It was no different in our case. The manufacturer was trusted by our clients to be a safe and adequately designed piece of furniture. That dresser was even compliant with all the industry standards in effect, but when an industry self-regulates, tragedies seem to repeat themselves.

tip-over-for-fb-300x216Attorneys Thomas Scolaro and Adam Rose’s relentless pursuit for justice resulted in a $17.5 million settlement.  Since then Leesfield Scolaro started its own campaign with ‘Anchor it!’, but most importantly the family has pursued legislative change and began funding an awareness campaign nationally to prevent similar tragedies from impacting others. An arduous mission which one day, hopefully soon, will deliver on its promise. Unfortunately, parents do not have the luxury to wait for legislative change, and Leesfield Scolaro has had to litigate countless defective product cases on behalf of grieving families who have lost their most precious life.

This week, Thomas Scolaro resolved a long and difficult product liability case on behalf of clients who lost three members of their family, including two small children. Several claims against several manufacturers were litigated, experts in many different fields were retained, legal strategies were developed, weighed against the facts, and ultimately proved to be correct, resulting in an overall 8-figure confidential settlement.

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On April 5th, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a warning to consumers about the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play after another infant death, the tenth tragedy in less than 4 years.

The statement warns that infants aged 3 months or older, who are able to roll over while seated unrestrained in the Fisher-Price sleep, will be able to turn to their stomach or on their side and suffocate. CPSC recommends consumers to stop using the product when the infant is three months of age, or as soon as an infant exhibits rollover capabilities.

Needless to say, additional steps must be taken to reach as many consumers as possible. Many parents will continue to use the product unless Fisher-Price reaches out to or attempts to reach out to all of them.

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Since 2014, Leesfield Scolaro has represented multiple victims of accidental gun discharge, including by “drop fire” where a loaded firearm discharges upon impact with the floor without the trigger ever being pulled.

The increase in accidental gun discharge cases has gone hand-in-hand with the increase in gun sales in the United States – and the numbers are telling. Between 2006 and 2016, the number of firearms processed by the National Firearms Act Branch (NFA) which maintains the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record has skyrocketed. In 2006, the NFA processed 296,127 firearms. In 2016, that number jumped by 850% with 2,538,397 processed firearms.

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Why has this unprecedented increase in gun sales resulted in the explosion of accidental gun discharge cases in last decade?

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