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LIAM S CRIB


Nine month old Liam John died of asphyxiation in the safe haven of his baby’s crib on April 11, 2005. The drop rail had detached from its plastic track, creating a gap through which the 9-month-old boy slipped through feet-first. Instead of falling to the floor, which could have been bad enough, Liam’s head became stuck between the rail and the mattress causing him to be asphyxiated.

Neither the manufacturer or the Consumer Product Safety Commission had warned consumers/parents across the country about this potentially fatal flaw in Simplicity cribs. The question is what did the manufacturer know about this potentially lethal defect and when did they know it?

Since Liam’s civil suit was resolved and the matter has been publicized, complaints about the crib rails have been received by the manufacturer. Warnings were not issued, however, until two more infants died. Further, two and one half years after Liam’s death and after Liam’s civil products liability lawsuit was settled, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled approximately 1 million of these cribs.

The problem is two-fold. One, the manufacturer either did not test the crib to determine if it was safe, and/or two, it knew of the defects that made it unsafe but marketed the product anyway without making warning of these lethal dangers. Liam’s parents’ inability to get sufficient answers from the manufacturer about how and why this tragedy occurred, forced them to file a civil lawsuit.

That civil suit against the crib manufacturer most likely started like all civil suits:

  1. The manufacturer denies it’s product was defective;
  2. The manufacturer denies all of the allegations to that effect made in the lawsuit; and
  3. The manufacturer blamed the parents/Plaintiffs for their son’s death.
  4. The manufacturer refused to settle the case and forced Liam’s parents to endure the litigation for 2½ years.

The frivolity of the manufacturer’s defense throughout the protracted litigation ultimately gave way to reckoning and reason, and the manufacturer paid to settle the case. That settlement agreement has confidentiality language that prohibits any party from disclosing the amount the manufacturer paid to settle the case. That settlement agreement also states that this settlement is not the manufacturer’s admission that it did anything wrong. Somehow, Liam’s parents found the strength and fortitude to wage the battle for justice for Liam.

What protracts litigation and increases litigation costs and clogs the courts are these litigious practices of corporate America. Deny and delay is their mantra and modus operandi, and their battle cry is the plaintiff is responsible for their own losses, injuries and damages. The first defensive pleadings (called an Original Answer) filed in response to the initiation or filing of a civil lawsuit that deny all of the allegations lack any sound basis in fact or law.[1] Corporate America forces the plaintiff to prove his case in the courtroom instead of resolving the case in the conference room.

While corporate America should resolve civil litigation earlier, it’s denials have ultimately resulted in a safer American workplace, playground and family life. Decades of civil products liability litigation has resulted in clearer, more easily seen and more readily understood safety warnings and/or modifications on virtually all machinery, firearms, food, drugs, and household products, to name a few. Neither Liam’s family or any other plaintiff whose personal loss has resulted in post-litigation improvements in our quality of life as for thanks or acknowledgement for these safety warnings and/or modifications. They remain anonymous as our benefactors. The trial lawyers who maneuvered their civil cases through the maze of corporate America’s denials and delays aren t as fortunate. For their commitment to righting these wrongs and seeking justice for Liam and his parents, they are villanized. Corporate America will surely keep manufacturing products that injure, maim and kill people, and trial lawyers will always be there to fight for the victims.


[1] An Original Petition or Complaint that when filed initiates a civil suit, but has no sound basis in fact or law is a frivolous lawsuit. An Original Answer filed in response to the allegations in a civil suit, but has no sound basis in fact or law is not deemed a frivolous answer or pleading.

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Texas 18-Wheeler Accidents Law Firm

An accident involving a tractor trailer, 18-wheeler, semi truck or other commercial truck can result in serious physical injury and property damage. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. It is important to contact an experienced truck accident attorney to discuss your case as soon as possible. Contact Bailey & Galyen at 800-529-8008 to schedule an appointment with one of out experienced Texas personal injury attorneys.

Truck drivers in Texas are required to possess a Commercial Drivers’ License (CDL) and limit the number of hours they drive during a given day. This law is intended to prevent Texas truck drivers from becoming fatigued or sleepy from long drives without adequate breaks or rest. Truckers must also avoid aggressive driving behavior, follow posted speed limits, properly maintain and inspect their truck, and yield to other vehicles on the road. If the truck driver decides to take shortcuts and avoid safety precautions, then it is likely that a major truck accident will transpire, in which the truck driver will be found negligent. If you find yourself a victim of a Texas truck accident, you should contact a qualified Texas truck accident lawyer at Bailey & Galyen immediately.

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TAKE COVER AND HOLD ON TO YOUR RIGHTS: THE TEXAS LEGISLATURE IS IN SESSION


The Texas legislature is in session again, and as they say in the capitol, no one is safe. Instead of focusing on our state’s very real budget shortfall – which by the way the former comptroller, once gubinatorial candidate warned and was chided about in her unsuccessful bid to unseat Governor Perry – rumblings of tort reform are heard in the capitol rotunda. Governor Perry is talking it up with lobbyists and legislators to pass more tort reform laws that include:

  • Creating an early dismissal option for frivolous lawsuits;
  • Ensuring victims of frivolous lawsuits do not bear the financial burden of defending themselves through the creation of a loser pays system; this “one-way loser pays” bill will only make the losing plaintiff pay the prevailing defendant’s attorneys fees.
  • Ensuring new laws cannot create causes of action unless expressly established by the Legislature; and
  • Setting up expedited trials and limited discovery for lawsuits with claims between $10,000 and $100,000.

The Governor needs to ignore special, self preserving interests and stick to the really important business of paying our state’s bills. The legislature has their hands full without being distracted by Govenor Perry’s political agenda. Leave Texans and what remains of Texans access to the courts alone!

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I Can Understand Buying a Car Without A/C, But Not Without Turn Signals


This article may appear to be about the annoying people who change lanes and make turns without the courtesy and safety of using their turn signals. It’s not. It is about safety devices, designs and equipment that are found on consumer products.

Turn signals, seat belts, fire retardant children’s pajamas, safety locks on guns and rifles, and shields and other protective covers are just a few of the safety devices, designs and equipment that consumers enjoy because of decades of litigation by trial lawyers on behalf of innocent victims. These safety devices, designs and equipment actually work when they are not tampered with, removed, circumvented or altered. So, if you buy a car with law-mandated safety equipment such as seat belts, why would you not use them? If you bought a table saw with a law mandated safety guard over the sharp, spinning blades, why would you remove? If you bought a gun with a safety lock, why would you not use it until ready to fire the gun? It is hard to understand, but many people do ignore safety devices, designs and equipment. Worse yet, these safety devices, designs and equipment are often tampered with, removed, circumvented or altered on a regular basis. Not only are all consumer protections lost at that point, but the ability to bring a lawsuit to recover for injuries and damages is severely impaired if not completely destroyed by such conduct. The consumer must respect not ignore – the warnings and safety devices, designs and equipment that are there for their protection.

Prescription drugs have safety devices, designs and equipment, too. Prescription drugs are dangerous and do have side effects, and need these safety devices, designs and equipment, called warnings. Warnings are contained in the package insert that comes with the prescription either from the company or the pharmacists. Warnings work only when they are accurate, complete and adequate. Further, accurate, complete and adequate warnings work only when strictly followed: The drug must be taken as prescribed by the physician, and a prescription drug prescribed for one person must not be taken by someone else.

The drug companies must accurately and completely disclose all of a prescription drug’s dangerous side effects so the warnings accurately, completely and adequately warn the patient. Drug companies must also constantly update the warnings as new information is obtained. More times than not, however, the drug companies are not inclined to give accurate, complete and adequate warnings because more numerous and severe the warnings, the fewer prescriptions will be written for that drug. The prescribing physician will find a better, safer alternative drug that is equally effective without the same risks.

Litigation against the drug companies is based on inaccurate, incomplete and inadequate warnings, as well as manufacturing and design defects. The prescribing physician has the responsibility to discuss a prescription drug’s side effects with the patient, as well as the risk of those side effects and the benefits of the drug. It is only when the warnings that the physician has access to do not include all known dangerous side effects that a case exists against the drug companies. After all, we know all drugs have side effects. We as the patient have the absolute right to know what those side effects are so we can have that risk/benefit discussion with the physician and make the decision whether to take the drug. As a patient, we have the right to know what the drug company knows about their prescription drugs before we take it. After we take the dangerous drug and are injured by it, the questions becomes what did they know and when did they know it.

You can t claim ignorance of the drug’s warnings any more than you can claim you bought the car without turn signals or that the seat belt is too uncomfortable to wear. All are safety devices that are there for your safety.