The Latest from Peloton: More Safety Questions & Issues
November 12, 2020 | Personal Injury
This red-hot company has seen its sales double during the pandemic. But success has come at a price, as the company has been caught yet again cutting corners.
The company recalled over 25,000 exercise bikes sold between 2013 and 2016.
Peloton received hundreds of reports that the axles broke.
The breaks themselves seriously injured some customers. Others were hurt when they tried to fix the problem themselves. In recent years, Peloton has also been to court over charges that it infringed on some NordicTrack patents and used songs for its workout soundtracks without the artists’ permission.
In a statement, the company acknowledged the problem with the pedals, but shifted the blame for injuries onto consumers who are still using “out-of-warranty original pedals” contrary to the product’s directions.
Types of Product Defects
Moving parts, like pedals on a bicycle, must be designed and manufactured to withstand a great deal of stress.
Furthermore, as outlined below, companies must legally assume that customers will not faithfully follow all safety and use instructions, and that some misuse is inevitable.
But carefully designing parts takes time and using durable materials costs money. As a result, companies like may take shortcuts whenever possible. These shortcuts include:
- Design Defects: The 1970s Ford Pinto is still the classic example of a design defect. To make the Pinto lighter and cheaper, engineers placed the fuel tank behind the rear axle and did not protect it. As a result, fireball collisions often occurred, even at relatively low speeds. Attorneys discovered a memo in which Ford executives decided it was cheaper to kill people and pay settlements than to fix the design defect.
- Manufacturing Defect: In the 1990s, Takata executives replaced the reliable chemical propellant in its airbags with ammonium nitrate. This compound was cheaper but much more unstable. Ammonium nitrate was in the Oklahoma City truck bomb and Beirut harbor explosion. As a result, many airbags exploded, propelling shrapnel at vehicle occupants.
Product defects like these can potentially injure millions of people. A simple negligence standard does not adequately protect them.
Therefore, manufacturers are typically strictly liable for the injuries their defective or dangerous products cause. As a result, a New York injury lawyer can normally obtain substantial compensation for victims.
A defective product could be anything which is not designed or manufactured properly.
Dangerous products include fireworks, firearms, and other items which are inherently unsafe. Whether they are defective or not, manufacturers are strictly liable for the damages these products cause.
The Misuse Defense
This legal doctrine is the most effective defense to products liability claims.
But it only works in limited situations.
Vending machines are a good example. All machines include warnings against shaking them or other misuses. But it is foreseeable that people will ignore these warnings and engage in such behavior.
Snack-related mishaps like this one, on the other hand, are generally not foreseeable.
Furthermore, companies have the burden of proof, and the burden of persuasion, in situations like this one. First, defense lawyers must convince the judge that the defense legally applies.
Second, lawyers must convince jurors of the same thing. If even one juror does not buy the defense, it fails as a matter of law.
Sometimes, companies do not just hurt people physically. Their shortcuts can also hurt people financially.
Copyright and trademark victims are also entitled to compensation for their injuries.
Essentially, copyright violations are using intellectual property, like ideas, without proper permission. A trademark violation is improperly using physical property, like an image.
These issues are certainly not unique to Peloton.
The Frozen copyright action is a good example. Shortly after the first blockbuster film was released, a small animation studio sued Disney, claiming that the studio stole the Olaf character from a short film.
Apparently, the studio determined that it was cheaper to pay lawyers and fight the case than share credit or profits. After a judge ruled the plaintiff’s case had some merit, Disney settled the matter in late 2015, clearing the way for a sequel.
Disney might or might not have learned from this process.
According to court documents, the Frozen II merchandise phrase Trust Your Journey was the trademarked property of a Nevada-based breast cancer awareness company.
In both defective product and copyright/trademark cases, damages usually include compensation for economic losses, such as lost income, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Additional punitive damages are usually available in these cases as well.
When companies play fast and loose with your safety or your work product, the experienced New York litigation attorneys at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC stand up for you. Call us now for a free consultation.
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