Defective Products & Consumer Protection

Harmful Product Headlines

2006 has been a year of large scale recalls. Manufacturing and agricultural errors have caused products to be placed on the market that were literally putting lives at risk.

Sony Laptop Batteries: Sony said last week that about 9.6 million lithium-ion batteries, manufactured between August 2003 through February this year, are being recalled worldwide after reports of some computers using the Sony battery packs overheating and bursting into flames.

Tainted Spinach: Federal food safety agents recalled bagged spinach traced to a batch processed at the San Juan Bautista plant of Natural Selection Foods LLC, which packages spinach under 34 brand names including Dole, the brand eaten by many of the sickened people. Test results found the same strain of the deadly E. coli bacteria in cow manure at a cattle ranch near a Salinas Valley spinach farm earlier this month, but it's still unclear how the pathogen traveled to the plants.

Acetaminophen Recall:The recall affects 11 million bottles containing varying quantities of 500-milligram acetaminophen caplets made by the Perrigo Co. The pills were sold under store brands by Wal-Mart, CVS, Safeway and more than 120 other major retailers, the Food and Drug Administration said. At least two chains -- CVS Corp. and SuperValu Inc. -- started pulling the pills from store shelves.

Protecting Consumers from Harmful Products

The attorneys of Lewis & Tompkins represent consumers who have been harmed by defective products that are marketed, manufactured or sold in the United States. As attorneys in D.C., we are well placed to help consumers get the attention of federal agencies established to monitor and regulate the industries that manufacture consumer goods. When bodily harm comes to consumers who have used a product as intended, we also initiate civil actions to help them obtain fair settlements from the manufacturers, marketers and/or retailers of the harmful product.

Lewis & Tompkins represents consumers in cases involving defective products such as defectively designed and manufactured cars, trucks and SUVs, unreasonably dangerous manufacturing equipment, unguarded machinery, dangerous farming and yard equipment, unsafe toys and flammable fabrics that cause burn injuries and scarring. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury as a result of a harmful product, contact Lewis & Tompkins today.

Protecting Americans’ Financial Rights

In addition to harmful products cases, we also represent consumers who have been victims of fraudulent or bad faith practices by the many business services Americans rely on today to protect and secure their financial futures. Instances of insurance fraud, pension fraud, banking and lending fraud, brokering and investment fraud, accounting fraud, real estate fraud and other cases of fraud involving large sums of money are rarely isolated cases. Companies frequently establish internal policies and operating methods to maximize profits, methods that deliberately and adversely impact the financial health of thousands of American consumers.

Spotting and uprooting these bad business practices and ensuring consumers receive adequate compensation for any harm caused is a complex endeavor. Today, with new laws in place to ease and lighten the accountability American business has to consumers, those affected by bad faith practices must turn to attorneys with experience in asserting the legal protections of consumer law. Successful consumer law attorneys can serve as vital catalysts and advocates in cases where the rights or health of consumers are being threatened.

Strategically located in Washington, D.C., and with a national reputation for reliable and faithful legal service to American consumers, the law firm of Lewis & Tompkins has won many legal and financial victories for the people of Virginia, Maryland and DC. In class actions against financial institutions that have cheated consumers out of millions, and in cases of serious injury or death to consumers who used harmful products, we deliver the superior trial skills, compelling expert testimony, and high-end technology that is required to uphold the legal standards of consumer law today. If you need assistance with a consumer protection claim, contact Lewis & Tompkins today.

What is Consumer Protection?

Consumer protection is the ongoing effort to protect America from business practices that may lead to physical harm or unfair financial loss to its citizens. Many historians credit the first serious efforts at consumer protection to President Theodore Roosevelt during the first decade of the 1900s. President Roosevelt initiated several pioneering federal reforms and programs – including the Food and Drug Act (1906), the Department of Labor and Commerce (1903), and the Bureau of Corporations, all of which worked to investigate American industries and establish higher benchmarks for consumer safety standards. Throughout his presidency, Roosevelt undertook these and many other efforts to protect citizens from the deadly incidentals that invariably occur when big business embarks on a course of short cuts and cost-saving measures.

As a new century begins, threats to consumers’ rights and health persist more than ever in America, particularly to those with lower and middle class incomes. Protecting consumers remains a critical responsibility of our federal and state governments. Unfortunately, on many fronts, this responsibility isn’t being met.

For example, in the past few years, the Food & Drug Administration has frequently been accused of pandering to the demands of the pharmaceuticals industry for more rapid testing procedures, permitting unsafe drugs to saturate the market before adequate testing to evaluate the long-term effects of these drugs is completed.

Many believe that this atmosphere of acquiescence at the FDA led to the rapid dissemination of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that cropped up in the late 1990s – including Vioxx, Celebrex, Bextra, and others. NSAIDs, which offered no clear health improvements over older medications, such as Alleve, have now been linked to heart failure, stroke and life-threatening ulcers. While Merck, Pfizer and other Big Pharma giants who created these drugs are ultimately responsible for the harm they caused, it is up to the FDA to act as a gatekeeper for American consumers. This is the mission we fund through our tax dollars, and the FDA’s failure to protect consumers in this instance is quite clear.

Ensuring safety in the food we eat and the drugs we take is only a small part of the consumer protection Americans pay for each year in taxes. Federal and state regulatory agencies for nearly every sector of American business are in place today to prevent instances of consumer fraud, malpractice and injury.

But while regulatory agencies abound, layers of inertia in federal bureaucracy and the high dollar efforts of special interest lobbyists often muffle the best interests of the people. The attorneys of Lewis & Tomkins give the people the power to be heard, and ensure that consumers are always treated with respect by both the government and the businesses they support financially.

Credit Reporting Errors and Identity Theft

Today, your credit score increasingly defines much more than your capacity to get a home or car loan. Deliberately or not, the credit rating industry is creating a caste system in America that gives privileges to “good, predictable” borrowers while marginalizing those who sometimes aren’t. What is on your credit report can now determine your ability to get work, an education - and even insurance. Insurance companies are now examining ways they can correlate a person’s spending habits and credit history with other risk factors and trends, thereby increasing insurance premiums on the basis of spending habits, in addition to health history, occupation and personal lifestyle.

As loan companies, insurance companies and other businesses use credit to determine a person’s access to their services, Lewis & Tompkins has the power to set the record of your financial history straight. As the dark side of advanced technology makes it easier for criminals to perpetrate identity theft, the average consumer’s financial standing has become even more fragile. For legal help with sorting out the problems of identity theft and getting your life back in order, contact Lewis & Tompkins today.

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