Articles Posted in Products Liability

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In the last two weeks, Volkswagen has admitted that it sold 11 million cars with so-called “Clean Diesel” engines worldwide that were equipped with software allowing them to cheat emissions tests.  Below are five things you need to know:

  1. What did Volkswagen do?

Independent automobile researchers report that Volkswagen sold 11 million diesel cars that produced as much as 40 times the E.P.A. allowed limit of nitrogen oxide, a pollutant that contributes to respiratory problems including asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema. The software and devices installed by Volkswagen were programmed to detect when one of its cars was undergoing an emissions test and it triggered equipment that would reduce emissions to legal levels for the duration of the emissions test.

  1. How did this happen?

Experts say that by the middle of the last decade, it became clear that Volkswagen’s old, less advanced diesel engines could not meet tougher American emissions standards, particularly in California. While Volkswagen made promises of selling “clean” diesel vehicles with ever greater power and fuel economy, its engineers worked on ways to reduce emissions. However, despite Volkswagen’s initial optimism, its engineers could not figure out how to design a catalytic system that would scrub enough nitrogen oxide from the cars’ exhaust. While some diesel car makers used a system that injected a derivative of urea to reduce emissions, Volkswagen concluded that would be too expensive. Other approaches they tried resulted in reduced vehicle performance. When the time came for Volkswagen to begin manufacturing the “clean” diesel vehicles it had promised, it incorporated a defeat device rather than sell cars with lower performance or a more expensive exhaust system.

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Bekman, Marder, Hopper, Malarkey & Perlin, L.L.C. is proud to announce that it has been named to the U.S. News and World Report “Best Law Firms” list.SCBMA Best Lawyers  Nationally, SCBMA was named to the Third Tier of the Best Law Firms in the are of Admiralty and Maritime Law.  In Maryland, SCBMA was named to the First Tier in the areas of Admiralty & Maritime Law, Arbitration, Mediation, Plaintiffs’ Medical Malpractice, Plaintiffs’ Personal Injury, and Plaintiffs’ Product Liability Litigation.

For the 2015 “Best Law Firms” list, U.S. News and World Report uses a rigorous evaluation process that includes client evaluations, lawyer evaluations, and peer review from local and national leading attorneys.  Additionally, before any law firm can be named in the “Best Law Firms” list, it must have at least one lawyer who is included in the U.S. News “Best Lawyers” list.  Our firm is proud to have four attorneys named to the “Best Lawyers” list including Paul D. Bekman, E. Dale Adkins, III, Daniel M. Clements, and Stuart M. Salsbury.

Our firm takes great pride in being selected by our peers and colleagues as one of the best law firms in Maryland.  If you would like to discuss a possible case with our lawyers, call us at 410-539-6633.

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Last week, a federal jury in West Virginia awarded an Illinois couple $3.27 million in a transvaginal mesh case.  The plaintiff suffered from stress urinary incontinence, and, in 2011, underwent surgery to implant Johnson & Johnson’s transvaginal mesh sling.  Within a year, the sling had to be removed because it was causing her pelvic pain and pain during sexual intercourse.  The couple filed suit alleging that the mesh was defectively designed and that Johnson & Johnson had failed to warn physicians and patients about the risk of the mesh eroding.

Women were told that these mesh products would be a simple and easy fix for problems such as pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence repairs.  What they were not told, however, were the significant complications that can arise after surgery.  One of the largest risks of these products is that mesh implants—both transvaginal and bladder slings—have been found to erode or shrink after they have been implanted in the patient.  This can cause serious complications including infection, chronic pain, and pain during sexual intercourse.  As a result, thousands of women from across the country have filed lawsuits similar to the one brought by the Illinois couple.  These cases have been consolidated into several multi-district litigations in West Virginia, and the $3.27 million verdict is a promising sign for plaintiffs.

The attorneys at Bekman, Marder, Hopper, Malarkey & Perlin are currently handling cases for women who have suffered serious side-effects from transvaginal mesh and bladder sling implants.  If you believe you have experience serious-side effects from either of these mesh products please contact us today.

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Many keystrokes have been typed about General Motors’ faulty ignition switches and the tragic deaths of at least thirteen people who died when their airbags failed to deploy because of the defect.  Yesterday, GM released the report of its own internal investigation, performed by Anton R. Valukas.  Mr. Valukas and his team made many interesting findings and I expect we will write more postings about the report and its importance to our practice.  The most interesting finding to us, though, related to the role of products liability lawsuits in uncovering the truth about GM’s defective cars.  Our firm has a great deal of experience in products liability lawsuits, and in automobile defect and crashworthiness cases in particular, so we have been following the story closely.

airbag-control-743960-mIn 2012, lawyers representing a deceased client’s family sued GM and hired an expert witness engineer named Erin Shipp, P.E. to investigate their clients’ death.  Despite having received very few documents from General Motors in the course of the lawsuit, the expert witness was able to make the connection between the faulty ignition switch and the failure of the airbags to deploy at the time of an automobile collision.  The Valukas Report lauded the expert witness for making the connection even before GM personnel were able to do so.

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