May 28, 2015

Consumer Product Class Action

Consumer Product Class Action

Class actions related to consumer products are among the most high-profile class actions out there. Typically, such lawsuits involve noteworthy products that are used by a large segment of the population. For example, automobiles have often become the subject of class actions, as have products for children, including toys and cribs.

The genesis of a consumer product class action can stem from a number of different issues. In the article that follows, we will be exploring what those issues are, and how they can form the basis of a consumer product class action.img10

Manufacturing Defect

Most often, a defective product will become the subject of a consumer product class action. This is usually the case when a consumer product leads to injuries and even death. For example, there have been a number of high profile cases wherein a defect has been introduced to an automobile through the manufacturing process. This defect, in turn, leads to a number of accidents and issues once the automobile reaches consumers. Owners of those automobiles then become a class, which then brings suit against the automobile manufacturer to seek relief for the damages the manufacturing defect cost.

Fault of Design

In some cases, the manufacturing process is not to blame for a product being defective. It may, in actuality, have been defective from its conception. The overall design of the product may introduce an issue that poses a health and safety risk for those who own the product. This is commonly the case with products that are designed for children. For example, crib designs are heavily regulated in the United States, and cribs must be able to provide the babies that occupy them with a safe environment. However, during the design process, a crib could have a defective element introduced – for example, a latch that opens too easily.

Poor Materials

The materials that are used in a consumer products’ construction can also become the issue of a consumer product class action. In manufacturing products for consumer use, businesses are required to build those products out of materials that are safe for consumers. In addition, those materials must be of a high enough quality to maintain the integrity of the product and to ensure its proper functioning. In cases where a business does not manufacture its products out of adequate materials, purchasers of that product can form a class to seek relief from the manufacturing business.

Drugs with Hidden Dangers

Although broad enough to be considered separately from consumer product class actions, those that pertain to dangerous drugs are worth considering. As the pharmaceutical industry has exploded, pharmaceutical companies have demonstrated a willingness to provide unsafe drugs to the population. In many cases, internal research revealed that a particular drug was unsafe, but the pharmaceutical company refused to provide that information to consumers, leading to a significant health and safety risk. Likewise, a pharmaceutical company may encourage doctors to prescribe certain medications for off-label uses, which can also lead to health and safety risks. In either case, those who have used the medications and who have been exposed to its risks can form a class to seek relief from the pharmaceutical company. In some cases, they may also seek relief from healthcare providers and entities like hospitals and primary care centers.

Final Notes on Consumer Product Class Actions

Determining whether or not a consumer product should be the subject of a class action depends upon the number of individuals who are affected. In some cases, a specific product may have been mismade, which would mean that the individual affected would seek relief on his or her own. However, in cases where the defect or issue is systematic, those affected by the defect or issue can form a class in order to seek relief from the product’s manufacturers and designers.