Sherwin-Williams Recalls Krylon Glaze And Acrylic Due to Fire Hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, has announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product because the product could cause personal injuries or death due to product liability. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Name of Product: Krylon® Triple Thick Crystal Clear Glaze and Krylon® Indoor/Outdoor Crystal Clear Acrylic Paint

Units: About 98,400

Importer: Sherwin-Williams Company, of Cleveland, Ohio

Hazard: The aerosol canister can leak, posing a fire hazard to consumers if the can is stored near a source of ignition.

Incidents/Injuries: Sherwin-Williams has received 31 reports of leaking canisters, including reports of property damage from leaking paint. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This recall involves 12-ounce cans of Krylon ® Triple Thick Glaze and 11-ounce Krylon® Indoor/Outdoor Crystal Clear satin acrylic finish. Batch code HL1311FV, HL2081KL or HL2081MN is printed on the bottom of the can, along with UPC code 075577005000 or 724504035305. The Krylon logo is printed on the front of the white spray can with a translucent top.

Sold at: Ace Hardware, Ben Franklin, Do It Best Corp., Kmart, Lowes, Pat Catan’s, Walmart and other retail stores nationwide between July 2011 and June 2012 for about $7.

Manufactured in: United States

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled product and contact Sherwin-Williams for a refund.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, please contact Sherwin-Williams toll-free at (888) 304-3769 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at http://www.sherwin-williams.com

Source:  http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12259.html

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Kawasaki Recalls Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles Due To Injury, Death Hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, has announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product because the product could cause personal injuries or death due to product liability. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Name of Product: Teryx4 Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles

Units: About 7,000

Distributor: Kawasaki Motors Corp. USA, of Irvine, Calif.

Hazard: The steering gear assembly and front brakes can fail, resulting in the loss of steering and braking, posing a risk of injury or death.

Incidents/Injuries: None

Description: The recalled vehicles are 2012 Kawasaki Teryx4 4×4 recreational off-highway vehicles in the following styles: 750, 750 EPS and 750 EPS LE. The four-wheel drive recreational off-highway vehicles have side-by-side seating for four people and automobile style controls. The vehicles are sold in red, camouflage, green, blue and yellow colors. The model name “Teryx4” appears on the driver’s side of the hood. The style name does not appear on the 750 version. For all colors of the 750 EPS except camouflage, “EPS” appears on the driver and passenger side cowling near the top front corner of the doors. On the 750 EPS LE, “EPS” appears on the driver and passenger side cowling near top front corner of the doors and “LE” appears on the hood on the driver’s side.

Sold at: Kawasaki dealers nationwide from October 2011 through July 2012 for about $13,400.

Manufactured in: United States

Remedy: Consumers should contact their local Kawasaki dealer to schedule a free repair.

Consumer Contact: For more information, contact Kawasaki between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday toll-free at (866) 802-9381 or visit the firm’s website at www.kawasaki.com. Kawasaki is contacting its customers directly.

Source:  http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12745.html

Wind Turbines — Good For The Environment, Bad For Your Health?

Wind turbines, often grouped into wind farms, are becoming more common.  From a distance, wind turbines don’t seem like much of a big deal as they quietly spin away.  But if you live near one?  Completely different story.  People who live near wind turbines have various complaints about the turbines, including light from turbines (both artificial and sunlight reflecting off of the blades), a strobe or flicker affect as light from the rising or setting sun passes through the blades, noise (described in various ways, such as a constant hum, a rumble, or a repeated “whooshing” sound caused by the spinning blades), and vibrations from the massive turbines.

People who live near wind turbines report physical harm and adverse health effects, including the inability to sleep and repeated awakening during sleep, headaches, dizziness, stress and tension, extreme fatigue, diminished ability to concentrate, nausea, and other physiological cognitive effects.  Some health professionals attribute the adverse health effects to low frequency and sub-audible infrasound and/or impulse noise created by and emitted from wind turbines.  One such doctor is Nina Pierpont, who has coined the phrase “wind turbine syndrome” to describe the group of symptoms commonly seen with people who live near wind turbines.

These issues create the possibility of private nuisance or personal injury lawsuits regarding wind turbines.  Those claims allow people to seek money damages as well as injunctive relief.  To date, there haven’t been that many lawsuits  by neighbors of wind turbines, but that number is expected to grow.  The results so far have been a mixed bag for neighbors, with some successes and some failures.

For additional information, please see my earlier posts about noise nuisances and light nuisances.  Please feel free to give me a call if you’d like to discuss a possible claim involving nuisance or personal injuries caused by a wind turbine.

Baby Seats Recalled For Repair By Bumbo International Due To Fall Hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Name of Product: Bumbo Baby Seats

Units: About 4 million in the U.S. Note: In October 2007, 1 million Bumbo seats were voluntarily recalled to provide additional warnings against use on raised surfaces.

Manufacturer: Bumbo International Trust, of South Africa

Hazard: Babies can maneuver out of or fall from the Bumbo seat, posing a risk of serious injuries.

Incidents/Injuries: CPSC and Bumbo International know of at least 50 incidents after the October 2007 voluntary recall in which babies fell from a Bumbo seat while it was being used on a raised surface. Nineteen of those incidents included reports of skull fractures. CPSC and Bumbo International are aware of an additional 34 post-recall reports of infants who fell out or maneuvered out of a Bumbo seat used on the floor or at an unknown elevation, resulting in injury. Two of these incidents involved reports of skull fractures, while others reported bumps, bruises and other minor injuries.

Description: The bottom of the Bumbo seat is round and flat with a diameter of about 15 inches. It is constructed of a single piece of molded foam and comes in various colors. The seat has leg holes and the seat back wraps completely around the child. On the front of the seat in raised lettering is the word “Bumbo” with the image of an elephant on top. The bottom of the seat has the following words: “Manufactured by Bumbo South Africa Material: Polyurethane World Patent No. PCT: ZA/1999/00030.” The back of the seat has several warnings and seats manufactured since 2008 have an additional label on the front of the seat warning against use on raised surfaces.

Sold by: Sears, Target, Toys R Us (including Babies R Us), USA Babies, Walmart, and various other toy and children’s stores nationwide, and various online sellers, from August 2003 through August 2012 for between $30 and $50.

Manufactured in: South Africa

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the product until they order and install a free repair kit, which includes: a restraint belt with a warning label, installation instructions, safe use instructions and a new warning sticker. The belt should always be used when a child is placed in the seat. Even with the belt, the seat should never be used on any raised surface. Consumers should also immediately stop using Bumbo seat covers that interfere with the installation and use of the belt. A video demonstrating proper installation of the restraint belt and proper use of the Bumbo seat are available at http://www.recall.BumboUSA.com

Consumer Contact: Order the free repair kit by visiting www.recall.BumboUSA.com or calling (866) 898-4999 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Thursday and between 8 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. CT on Friday. Do not return the Bumbo seat to retailers as they will not be able to provide the repair kit.

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12247.html

Please feel free to contact me if you have a personal injury or wrongful death or products liability matter that you would like to discuss.

GE Recalls Dishwashers Due To Fire Hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, has announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product because the product could cause personal injuries or death due to product liability. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Name of product: GE, GE Adora™, GE Eterna™, GE Profile™ and Hotpoint®, Dishwashers

Units: About 1.3 million in the United States

Manufacturer: GE Appliances, of Louisville, Ky.

Hazard: An electrical failure in the dishwasher’s heating element can pose a fire hazard.

Incidents/Injuries: GE has received 15 reports of dishwasher heating element failures, including seven reports of fires, three of which caused extensive property damage. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This recall involves GE, GE Adora, GE Eterna, GE Profile and Hotpoint brand dishwashers. They were sold in black, white, bisque, stainless steel and CleanSteel™ exterior colors and finishes. The model and serial numbers can be found on a metallic plate located on the left tub wall visible when the door is opened. Model and serial numbers will start with one of the following sequences:

Brand Model Number Begins With: Serial Number Begins With:
GE GE Adora GE Eterna GE Profile GLC4, GLD4, GLD5, GLD6, GSD61, GSD62,GSD63, GSD66, GSD67, GSD69, GLDL,PDW7, PDWF7, EDW4, EDW5, EDW6,GHD4, GHD5, GHD6, GHDA4, GHDA6 FL, GL, HL, LL, ML, VL, ZL, AM, DM, FM, GM, HM, LM, MM, RM, SM, TM, VM, ZM, AR, DR, FR, GR
Hotpoint HLD4

Sold at: Appliance dealers, authorized builder distributors and other stores nationwide from March 2006 through August 2009 for between $350 and $850.

Manufactured in: United States

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled dishwashers, disconnect the electric supply by shutting off the fuse or circuit breaker controlling it and inform all users of the dishwasher about the risk of fire. For all dishwashers, contact GE for a free in-home repair or to receive a GE rebate of $75 towards the purchase of a new GE front-control plastic tub dishwasher, or a rebate of $100 towards the purchase of a new GE front-control stainless tub dishwasher or GE Profile top control dishwasher. Consumers should not return the recalled dishwashers to the retailer where they purchased as retailers are not prepared to take the units back.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact GE toll-free at (866) 918-8760 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s website at www.geappliances.com/recall

Source:  http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12244.html

Liability Of Cities For Sewer Backups

You hear about this all the time.  Heavy rains hit, your city’s sewer system doesn’t do its job, and you suddenly have a swimming pool filled with sewage overflow where your basement used to be.  Like anything else involving water damage, that can be a very expensive repair project because you have the cost of cleaning everything up, the cost of repairing any portions of the basement that were ruined by the water, and the cost of replacing any property items that were lost during the flooding.  If you have insurance to cover those losses, that’s great and the flooding won’t have much of an impact on you.  But many insurance policies provide minimal coverage in these circumstances, leaving you to pay out-of-pocket for everything that’s not covered by insurance.

So do you have any legal rights to recoup your losses in that situation?  You do, and there’s various options.  The obvious choices are to assert legal claims against whatever companies were responsible for designing, constructing, and installing the sewer system or connecting it to your property.

Another possible defendant is the city you live in, and that’s what I want to talk about.  There are three main theories of liability against cities regarding sewer overflow damage: (1) negligent design or construction of the sewer system; (2) negligent inspection, including granting of permits or licenses, of the sewer system; and (3) negligent maintenance, repair, or operation of the sewer system.

The first category, negligent design or construction of a sewer system, is a very difficult claim to make.  Iowa Code 670.4(8) provides cities with broad immunity for sewer design or construction liability on “[a]ny claim based upon or arising out of a claim of negligent design or specification, negligent adoption of design or specification, or negligent construction or reconstruction of a public improvement . . . or other public facility that was constructed or reconstructed in accordance with a generally recognized engineering or safety standard, criteria, or design theory in existence at the time of the construction or reconstruction.  A claim . . . shall not be allowed for failure to upgrade, improve, or alter any aspect of an existing public improvement or other public facility to new, changed, or altered design standards.”  A sewer system is considered a “public improvement.”  Iowa’s courts have stated that a violation of engineering or safety standards existing at the time the sewer system was constructed must be proved or the city is immune.

The second category, negligent inspection and licensing and permits, is frequently implicated when a city is accused of negligently granting a building permit or something similar during a construction project.  Two laws govern those types of cases.  Iowa Code 670.4(9) provides that cities cannot be sued on “[a]ny claim based upon an act or omission by an officer or employee of the municipality or the municipality’s governing body, in the granting, suspension, or revocation of a license or permit, where the damage was caused by the person to whom the license or permit was issued, unless the act of the officer or employee constitutes actual malice or a criminal offense.”  Iowa Code 670.4(10) confers immunity to cities from “[a]ny claim based upon an act or omission of an officer or employee of the municipality, whether by issuance of permit, inspection, investigation, or otherwise, and whether the statute, ordinance, or regulation is valid, if the damage was caused by a third party, event, or property not under the supervision or control of the municipality, unless the act or omission of the officer or employee constitutes actual malice or a criminal offense.”

Iowa Code 670.4(10) and its statutory predecessors have made regular appearances in lawsuits against cities in which a third party causes physical injuries or property damage and the injured party seeks to blame the city for essentially failing to prevent the problem.  Much of the fight in those cases concerns the “supervision or control” component of Iowa Code 670.4(10) because, if the city did not have supervision or control, then the injured party must meet the almost impossible burden of proving that the city acted with actual malice or committed a crime.  So establishing a right to go after a city for regular negligence because it had supervision or control is essential.

The third and final category of city liability for sewer overflows is negligence in the maintainence, repair, or operation of a sewer system.  In this category, cities are treated like any other property owner and have a duty to maintain their property (the sewer system) so that it does not injure anyone.  Common examples in this category are claims for obstructions in sewers or failing sewers that are allowing seepage, overwhelming the system, and increasing the chance of an overflow.  The city will be liable if the injured party can prove that the city negligently addressed the obstruction or the failing sewer.

As you can see, negligence claims against cities for sewer overflow flooding and damages are complicated and require a carefully nuanced legal approach.  This is an area where the legal manner in which you present your claim can have a substantial impact on your city’s potential liability for the flooding damage to your home.  If you approach your claim from the wrong legal direction, you will likely run into one or more of the city’s immunities, summarized above, and have your case dismissed by the judge before you ever get to trial.  Please feel free to contact me if you’d like me to review a possible legal matter involving your city’s sewer system.

Sears Recalls Kenmore® Dehumidifiers Due To Fire And Burn Hazards

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, has announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product because the product could cause personal injuries or death due to product liability. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Name of Product: Kenmore Dehumidifiers

Units: About 795,000

Retailer: Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Corporation, of Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Manufacturer: LG Electronics (Tianjin) Appliance Co., Ltd., of Tianjin, China

Hazard: The dehumidifiers can overheat, smoke, melt and catch on fire, posing fire and burn hazards to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received 107 reports of incidents, with more than $7 million in property damage and three reports of smoke inhalation injuries.

Description: This recall involves 35-, 50- and 70-pint dehumidifiers with a Kenmore logo on the front top of the unit, manufactured between 2003 and 2005. The dehumidifiers are made of white plastic and are between 21 and 24 inches tall, about 15 inches wide and about 13.5 inches in depth. They have fan and humidity controls on their top front panels and some models include remote controls. They come with front-loading water buckets. The model number can be found on the right side of the interior of the unit once the bucket has been removed. Recalled units have the following model numbers:

35-pint (2004) – 580.54351400
50-pint (2003) – 580.53509300
70-pint (2003) – 580.53701300
70-pint (2004) – 580.54701400
70-pint (2005) – 580.54701500

Sold Exclusively at: Sears and Kmart stores nationwide and Sears.com and Kmart.com from 2003 to 2009 for between $140 and $220.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately turn off and unplug the dehumidifiers and contact the firm to receive a Sears gift card for either $75, $80, $90 or $100, which may be used at any Sears or Kmart store or at Sears.com or Kmart.com. The gift card amount will depend on the capacity and year of the dehumidifier. In lieu of a gift card, consumers may request a check for the refund amount. All consumers with recalled units will also receive a $25 coupon that may be used at Sears Department Stores or Sears.com toward the purchase of a new Kenmore dehumidifier.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact the Recall Fulfillment Center toll-free at (855) 400-4641 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday and between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. CT Saturday, or visit www.Kenmoredehumidifierrecall.com

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12240.html