Following up on reports of more than 2,500 pet deaths and nearly 100,000 injuries, a panel of lawmakers recommended that Serestro pull many of its flea and tick collars off store shelves.
After a sixteen-month investigation, the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy verified reports of pet injuries, ranging from diarrhea and vomiting to convulsions and muscle tremors.
Repeated meetings between regulators and Seresto failed to produce any action, even though regulators in other countries took adverse action.
In addition to a product recall, the subcommittee’s report recommends revamping the EPA product approval process and improving data collection methods.
There have been additional reports of moderate to severe effects in humans, like skin rashes, breathing problems, and neurological impairments.
Seresto Flea and Tick Collar Issues
Most flea and tick treatments are only effective for a month or two. But Seresto collars are effective for up to eight months.
The long-lasting nature of these treatments means the pesticides in these collars are far more powerful than any others currently in use.
Chemicals which are this strong usually kill more than fleas and ticks.
As early as the mid-2010s, some scientists sounded the alarm about the collar’s safety issues. Indeed, regulators in Canada refused to approve them.
But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ignored such issues and declared that the Seresto collar was the best option “by a wide margin.”
Defective products that cause injuries usually fall into one of two categories in New York and elsewhere:
- Design Defect: Issues with the time-release mechanism or the pesticide itself might have plagued the Seresto flea and tick collars at issue. Frequently, powerful pesticides overwhelm control protocols, like time-release mechanisms.
- Manufacturing Defect: Manufacturers like Seresto usually don’t use the best available parts and components. Instead, they typically use the cheapest available parts and components. These parts often don’t hold up under intense wear and tear. For example, these flea collars might have been okay for indoor pets, but not for outdoor pets.
An expert witness is an integral part of a defective product claim. A New York personal injury attorney must partner with the right expert to ensure maximum compensation.
These individuals must be well-credentialed.
They must also be able to effectively communicate with jurors. That’s a somewhat rare combination.
Legally, the issue in these cases is not the defect itself, but rather the company’s failure to warn consumers about the additional hazard. In this case, Seresto chose to continue making billions of dollars, even though these sales put pets and people at risk.
The Recall Process
User fees from the companies the FDA regulates make up almost half the FDA’s budget.
If bureaucrats recall dangerous products, that means lower sales, lower user fee contributions, and budget cuts.
Furthermore, in both the EPA and the FDA, the same bureaucrats who approve products must later issue safety recalls.
No one likes to admit they are wrong, unless overwhelming evidence compels them to do so.
As a side note, the FDA doesn’t have the power to recall dangerous products.
This agency can only pressure companies to voluntarily recall such products.
A New York personal injury attorney is the next line of defense in these situations.
When bureaucrats refuse to protect people for political, financial, or other reasons, our professional team stands up for injured consumers.
When a defective product or a tortfeasor (negligent actor) injures a pet, the law currently limits damages to the pet’s economic value.
However, the law is changing in this area.
Recently, the National Network for the Americans with Disabilities Act released guidelines for emotional support animals.
These animals “provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and sometimes help with depression, anxiety, and certain phobias.”
In other words, people in authority now realize that a pet is more than property. Judges in a few areas have legally recognized this idea.
Additionally, in a defective product claim, compensatory damages are usually the smallest component of damages.
Punitive damages are usually much higher.
As mentioned, Serestro knew about health and safety issues with its collars for years, yet it did nothing to remedy the problem.
Jurors usually punish companies that recklessly disregard safety in this way.
They know that a large punitive damages award encourages these companies to alter their priorities and put people before profits.
Defective products often cause serious injuries.
For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC. We handle these matters on a nationwide basis.