A defective and illegal Chinese made scooter resulted in the death of 13-year-old Lauren, who fell off the scooter while attempting to meet her friends at a bus stop. Lauren was hospitalized for three days before she finally passed away from head injuries. The foreign manufactured scooter, though marketed for children and sold as a toy, was capable of reaching speeds in excess of 20 mph. Defectively designed from an engineering standpoint, the scooter was also incapable of stopping a rider after a short period of operation, and had a small front wheel that dangerously turned 180 degrees.
When it came time to hold the scooter’s foreign manufacturer accountable, the Chinese company continually attempted to evade service and judgment in the U.S. – even though the manufacturer previously claimed that it exported $120 million in goods to U.S. retailers. AAJ Member Richard Schlueter testified before Congress that it took two years of legal battles, hiring numerous civil procedure and process experts, hiring translators, and international service under the Hague convention, before a U.S. judgment was successfully enforced.
The types of additional hurdles Richard and his client went through just to hold a wrongdoer accountable is why legislation like the “Protect Americans from Unsafe Foreign Products Act” is so important. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Linda Sanchez, would force foreign manufacturers to play by the same rules as American manufacturers and makes it easier for an injured consumer to seek redress in U.S. courts for harm caused by dangerous foreign products sold here in the United States.
Marissa Lee Moore
Texas resident Marissa Lee Moore was injured on a Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Time Theater kangaroo ride. Although the German-based manufacturer was fully aware that its rides were being sold in America – approximately 500 rides were modified for distribution in America –the Texas Appellate Court dismissed Marissa’s claims, citing that the German ride maker never promoted or advertised its rides in the U.S.David Irizarry
David Irizarry was injured by his East Longitude Trading (ELT) wood chucking tool. An Ohio District Court dismissed David’s claim against the Taiwanese-based wood chucking tool manufacturer even though he purchased the wood chucker from an American catalogue in America. Furthermore, ELT was aware that their products were being sold through a catalogue in America. Since 1989, ELT had netted $2 million in profits from American catalogue sales.