Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog

June 2017 Archives

When it comes to summer road trips, having a good emergency safety kit can make the difference between a miserable experience and a great story. If you think that since we live in the 21st century digital world, it means you can forgo having an emergency safety kit, you are so very wrong.

Although most problems on the road can be solved by calling roadside assistance, like the services provided by AAA or your insurance company, getting service can sometimes take several hours. As such, having the right supplies to keep you, and your passengers, safe while stranded on the side of the road in the summer heat is essential.

Below, are a few tips on the types of things you should make sure to have in your summer road trip roadside emergency safety kit.

Laundry pods, brightly-colored packets of detergent supposed to make washing clothes easier, can pose a significant poisoning risk to children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there were around 32,000 calls to poison help lines in 2015 for children ingesting candy-resembling laundry pods.

But it turns out those packets can be dangerous for adults, too -- especially those with dementia.

It looks like the tech giant Apple is finally responding to the many lawsuits that have been filed against it related to distracted driving injuries and deaths. However, the response wasn't filed in court. Rather, at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (known as the WWDC), a new iPhone feature was unveiled as part of iOS 11: Do Not Disturb While Driving mode.

Along with the overwhelming public adoption of smart phones, the number of distracted driving crashes has naturally increased. After all, those bright screens, and that warm ambient feeling of acceptance and connection that these little magically devices provide, make them literally, and virtually, irresistible, even while operating a three ton chunk of metal hurling itself over a concrete motorway at 80 miles per hour. Whether Apple, or other manufacturers, are liable for distracted driving accidents caused by their devices is another question entirely though.

A new report, issued by the Environmental Defense Fund, probably has some parents ready to get litigious. The report explains that in looking at over 10 years of FDA data, from 2003 to 2013, approximately 20 percent of the 2,000 baby food products tested contained lead. That's one in every five products. Unfortunately, neither the FDA's data, nor did the report, name the names of the offending products.

Before parents start climbing the walls, clearing out the cabinets, and calling their lawyers, know that the products still fell within what the FDA determined to be an acceptable level of lead contamination. However, what may come as a real surprise is that the baby food products tested had an overall higher average for testing positive for lead than adult food products, which came in at about 14 percent.

Rhonda Costigan, from Garden City, Michigan, has filed a lawsuit against Delta after going through an experience that would likely make Dr. David Dao quiver. On a flight from South Carolina to Michigan in 2016, Ms. Costigan was sexually assaulted by another passenger, Christopher Finkley, who was sentenced to one week in jail for simple misdemeanor assault on a plea bargain as a result of the incident.

Ms. Costigan's lawsuit alleges that Delta could have stopped the conduct as Finkley had been found by flight crew exposing himself earlier on the flight, and was left to roam free. She is seeking $10 million, which given the facts and Delta holding over $50 billion in assets, seems reasonable.

The Food and Drug Administration issued a request to pharmaceutical manufacturer Endo to remove their opioid Opana ER from the market amid growing concern of the opioid crisis. While this request is just that, only a request, the FDA is hopeful Endo will comply, though Endo's shareholders might need a good reason why the company should comply.

Opana ER is a very powerful and long lasting opioid pain killer. It is twice the strength of the well known, and often abused, OxyContin or OxyCodone. While the capsule is designed to be a slow release formula, addicts could crush the pills to get around the slow release. To combat this problem, Endo reformulated the drug in 2012, but where there's a will, there's a way: addicts started injecting the drug with needles, again to get around the slow release. Sadly, the injecting of Opana is linked to the rise in HIV cases in the Midwest due to the sharing of needles.

Staking its reputation on being honest, The Honest Company was founded over 5 years ago by actress Jessica Alba, and 4 others, to profit by selling non-toxic household goods to ethical consumers. However, despite not admitting liability, The Honest Company just settled a rather large class action lawsuit that alleged the company wasn't being honest about its products' ingredients.

The purveyor of household products is alleged to have mislabeled several of their products as being SLS-free. The problems started early last year when a Wall Street Journal story explained that The Honest Company wasn't being so honest when it came to SLS-free goods. In response, the company asserted that SLS had been replaced by SCS, and that SCS actually contains SLS. The problem is that many consumers suffer from allergic reactions to SLS and purchased the products specifically for this reason.

In an odd twist, Alba started this company after a baby product she used on her own child caused welts and skin irritations.

A class action lawsuit against Whole Foods that was dismissed last year has been revived by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The main claim in the case is that Whole Foods overcharges shoppers who purchase pre-packaged weighed food items.

The district court dismissed plaintiff's case because it stated that he did not have sufficient proof that he suffered any injury or loss. However, the Second Circuit, after reviewing the matter, found that there was sufficient evidence to allow the case to move forward.

In this world nothing is certain but death, taxes, and airline fees. As ticket prices skyrocket, all of the associated fees with flying, from baggage to food to changes, are mounting as well. And one of the surest premises on which our airline travel rests is that the non-refundable ticket is exactly that: non-refundable.

But that presumption might be changing. It turns out that U.S. Department of Transportation regulations guarantee full refunds in certain situations, even on non-refundable tickets. Here's a look.

Most United States Supreme Court decisions don't make that much of an impact on the day to day lives, or pocketbooks, of most Americans. However, a recent decision about printer ink cartridge patents is way more applicable to everyday Americans (that still use paper or printers) than one might initially think.

The case between Impression Products and Lexmark has finally been decided, and while Impression won the day, consumers were the real winners in the case. The end result is that now consumers and businesses have just a little bit more protection when it comes to selling non-manufacturer refurbished and modified products.

Did your kids go crazy making in-app purchases on an Amazon device without you finding out until the credit card bill showed up? Well, good news! Amazon has finally agreed to a settlement in the case brought against them by the FTC in 2014 for failing to safeguard users from unauthorized purchases. It is estimated that there were $70 million in unauthorized in-app purchases.

Soon after in-app purchases became a "thing," parents were subjected to shock, at random, in the form of unexplained credit card charges due to a lack of restrictions on in-app purchases. Both Apple and Google settled similar claims almost immediately in 2014 and implemented changes to safeguard against unauthorized in-app purchases.