July 2010


The CPSC issued a recall on 82,000 Pottery Barn Kids drop side cribs, according to Reuters.  The recall is being issued for cribs sold between January 1999 and March 2010, at Pottery Barn Kids retail stores, online at www.potterybarnkids.com, and through the Pottery Barn Kids catalog.  The CPSC reports 36 instances of malfunctions with the drop sides resulting in seven injuries where children got their legs caught or fell out of the crib.  The CPSC reports that one child’s head became stuck, but that instance did not result in injury. 

Over the past five years the CPSC has issued 12 recalls of drop side cribs, made by various manufacturers, resulting in the recall of more than 7 million cribs.  The CPSC reports that over the last ten years, 32 infants and toddlers have died as a result of incidents involving drop side cribs manufactured by various companies.  Additionally, the CPSC received reports of 14 other deaths possibly related to drop side cribs.  The CPSC plans to have news rules in place by the end of the year regarding the manufacture of drop side cribs.

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John Stossel, gnat-like reporter for Fox News has published a column titled “Parasitic Tort Lawyers” and also aired a program on Fox with the same message.  He leads off the story with the sentence, “Tort lawyers lie.”   His story goes on, “as one of America’s first consumer reporters, I’d avenge harmed consumers by bringing cameras to the offending business and confronting the crooks. My work warned others about the dangers in the marketplace but didn’t do much for the victims.”  I’ll get to the video of him “confronting the crooks” in a minute. 

Stossel quit consumer advocacy reporting years ago and was quoted as saying, “I got sick of it (consumer advocacy reporting)…  I also now make so much money I just lost interest in saving a buck on a can of peas. Twenty years was enough. But mainly, I came to realize that the government was doing far more harm to people than business and I ought to be reporting on that. Nobody else was”.  He has also claimed attorneys do more harm to people.  Stossel has denied making the comment, but a tape of him making the comment has surfaced, and his actions certainly lend credibility to the people who have used this quote.  Even if he has grown weary of helping average people, they still need help.  Every day.  Average people still get injured, whether Stossel cares or not.

The lie that tort lawyers tell, according to Stossel, is that lawsuits make society better.  That is not the purpose of lawsuits and Stossel knows this.  Some may claim this as a by-product.  But the purpose of a lawsuit is to compensate the injured individual.  The compensation comes from the person who caused the harm.  The person who caused the harm is held accountable for their mistake or intentional wrong doing.  The reason Stossel knows this is that he has personally participated in lawsuits.

This is a video of one of Stossel’s confrontations.  He confronted a “crook wrestler”, and asked him to admit to the world that wrestling is a fake sport.  When the wrestler took offense to Stossel’s questioning, the wrestler hit Stossel up-side the head, to prove that wrestling is not fake.  What did Stossel do to right this wrong.  Did he whip up on the guy who beat him.  No he ran.  To the nearest lawyer. 

Stossel sued, and according to several sources, settled for more than $400,000.  This confrontation with the wrestler did not leave him bloody, Stossel walked (well ran) away from the confrontation, nothing was broken.  He sued and got over $400,000. 

Stossel’s column goes on to say that after he began to report on bad companies, that he “started referring hurt consumers to lawyers.  Imagine my shock when consumers called to say their lawyers took most of the money.”  Stossel does not say in the story how much he got from the wrestler payout or how much his attorney got.  Stossel continues, “even when the lawyers do help their clients, they hurt everyone else because fear of their lawsuits takes away many good things.” 

When lawyers help their clients, they help everyone else, because they force the person who is responsible for causing the damage to pay the victim and the victim does not end up relying on the state (me and you) to take care of them.  So no John Stossel, lawsuits do not hurt everyone else.  You cannot be against government sponsored programs and against lawsuits.  If it were not for lawsuits, victims of other’s negligence would be on the dole.  That is a fact.

Thanks to PopTort for his great coverage of the gnat.

A panel of doctors and occupational health experts published an article in Environmental Health Perspectives, a scientific journal, calling on all governments to ban asbestos, according to CBC News Canada.  In 1983, Iceland became the first country to ban asbestos use.  Today several dozen countries ban the use of the deadly substance and worldwide consumption of the product has been cut in half.  The article points out that while use of asbestos has dropped greatly in developed countries, use has skyrocketed in developing countries.

The countries who do not ban asbestos include the US, which is shocking, considering the horrible toll asbestos has taken on our country.  The article states that the majority of the population of the world lives in countries where the substance is not banned. 

Those who advocate against the ban, mostly the asbestos mining companies, argue that if safe handling practices are used, the product is harmless.  However, those who study the substance and the diseases caused by the substance, such as mesothelioma, agree there is no safe level of exposure.  The article lists several studies of the Quebec mining industry, performed by the National Public Health Institute of Quebec, which show the mines themselves do not follow the safety measures which amount to “controlled use” of asbestos.  It is hard to imagine that third world countries can achieve controlled use of asbestos, when Canadian mines cannot do it. 

It is time to ban asbestos use worldwide.  It is a known public health threat and deserves the same level of attention that eradication of deadly diseases has received over the years.  If not, many more deaths will occur.