After Bob Evans Farms Foods received numerous complaints about blue rubber particles in its Italian sausage (tainted sausage), the company issued a voluntary recall, under pressure from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Officials from the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service are concerned the recalled tainted sausage could be in people’s refrigerators and freezers, and that consumers should not eat them. Instead, the FSIS said to throw the tainted sausage away or return it to where it was purchased.
The recall covers some lots sold in November 2022. Consumers with questions about the recall can contact Bob Evans Foods, Inc. Director of Communications George Money by calling 440-463-3264 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Possible Product Defects
Some companies take dangerous shortcuts as they prepare food, medical devices, and other products for sale. Some of these shortcuts include:
- Design Defect: These issues are common in medical device claims. MoM (metal-on-metal) hip implants are a good example. The all-metal parts grind against each other and release microscopic metal fragments into the bloodstream. The resulting metallosis (metal poisoning) causes a host of health problems.
- Manufacturing Defect: These issues are common in processed food. The “process” is designed to deliver as much product as possible in as short a time as possible. Product makers care little about consumer safety issues. So, impurities often get into food, usually during the manufacturing or shipping process.
Some products, the most powerful drugs, have different safety issues. The manufacturer fails to warn consumers about known side effects. Generally, drug makers suppress negative information as long as possible, so the news doesn’t affect sales.
Defective product claims are usually strict liability claims. These victims don’t have to prove negligence or fault to obtain compensation for their economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Negligence is relevant to the amount of punitive damages. If a defendant consciously disregarded a known risk, which usually means the company knew about the defunct and didn’t do anything about it, a New York personal injury lawyer can obtain additional punitive damages.
These same kinds of damages are available in negligence failure-to-warn matters. According to New York law, companies have a responsibility to warn consumers about all known side-effects and other issues. These warnings must be clear, proportionate, and in a language a consumer understands. Companies cannot use Medspeak to disguise warnings. They also cannot bury serious warnings on a long list of non-serious side-effects.
Government Response to Tainted Sausage
If you think the Food and Drug Administration, USDA, and other watchdog agencies adequately protect people, you might want to think again.
Ideally, these groups would closely watch companies during initial production runs and conduct frequent safety inspections once they approve products for sale. But that’s not the way things happen. These agencies have limited resources, which means limited oversight. In fact, many of these groups rely on information the company provides, at least in part, to approve products for sale.
Furthermore, asking for a recall once a problem surfaces is a bit like closing the barn doors after the horses run away. At this point, a recall does nothing to help victims.
On a related note, the FDA doesn’t have the power to recall dangerous drugs or medical devices. At best, the FDA can only pressure companies to voluntarily recall such products. Pretty much every legislative session, someone introduces legislation to empower the FDA in this area. Pretty much every session, drug company lobbyists quickly kill these bills.
Your Claim for Damages
Dangerous or defective product claims could be individual lawsuits, class action lawsuits, or multidistrict litigation actions. A New York personal injury attorney must have expertise in all three of these forums.
These claims are almost always federal court claims. Occasionally, state court is a better forsum for the victim. Very few state courts have large-scale mechanisms for handling hundreds, or thousands, of similar cases at the same time.
Class action claims use judicial resources much more efficiently. If the claims are substantially similar, as is usually the case in failure-to-warn claims, federal courts often consolidate numerous matters into a single action for all purposes. Some other rules apply as well.
Multidistrict litigation is a cross between individual actions and class actions. Federal courts usually create MDLs for cases that are too numerous to handle piecemeal but don’t qualify as class actions. Defective product claims are usually MDL claims. The victims all have different stories, but their injuries are much the same.
MDL is also partial consolidation. A single federal judge usually oversees all pretrial matters, such as procedural motions, discovery, and settlement negotiations. On the off chance a claim doesn’t settle, it usually returns to its home jurisdiction for trial.
Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.