Defective Products and Consumer Goods

Whether your case involves a recalled/defective consumer or industrial product, we can help.

Consumer and industrial products surround us in our daily lives and are involved in almost everything we do. From the clothes we wear, to the foods we eat, to the medicines we take, to the machines we use, and to the cars we drive, we count on the companies making and selling consumer products to take the appropriate steps to ensure that the products are safe for normal use. 


A defective product is something that is reasonably capable of inflicting substantial harm or causing injury to both people using the product as well as others who may be in the vicinity of it. While some defective products are easily identified, the more complex the product, the more complex the task is to prove and show to a jury that it is defective. SUGARMAN can help.

Because of the vast numbers of products sold from sources world-wide, dangerous products can and do regularly come to market and cause serious harm. In addition, numerous legislative acts have loosened the requirements, most notably in the medical device and pharmaceutical industries, that companies conduct pre-market tests and trials to ensure that their products are safe for use and consumption. All of this leads to an environment where potentially dangerous and defective products are being sold to consumers on a regular basis.

When people are injured or killed by a defective product, Massachusetts law provides some strong protections. It is, in effect, illegal to make or sell an unreasonably dangerous product in Massachusetts. In addition, the act of selling a defective product exposes a manufacturer, distributor or seller of the product not just to payment of the damages for the harm caused by the product, but in some circumstances allows the victims to obtain double or treble damages and attorneys’ fees.

Proving that a product is defective and that recovery should be had is not simple and requires, almost by definition, a lawyer with years of experience handling such matters, as well as extensive resources. Our lawyers have a full range of experts available to successfully review and litigate product liability cases, including engineers specializing in biomechanical, motor vehicle, chemical, industrial, materials, civil and electrical engineering. SUGARMAN’s personal injury lawyers are committed not just to each individual case, but to the cause of product safety. 

Our attorneys believe that our product liability work serves both the cause of justice for individual victims and the cause of product safety to prevent defective products from injuring future victims. For example, work of our attorneys led to the recall of over 21,000 dangerous inflatable pool slides.

Defective Military Earplugs Sold by 3M Company

Issued to servicemen and women from 2003–2015, 3M’s Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs™ had a known design defect that caused them to loosen and stop protecting soldiers' hearing. 3M Company continued selling these to the military despite knowing about the defect.

SUGARMAN has formed a team to represent U.S. service and military members who have suffered hearing loss and tinnitus from these defective ear plugs.

Defective Industrial Equipment, Vehicles and Products

Many already dangerous factory and construction jobs are made doubly so by defectively designed and manufactured products and equipment that unnecessarily expose workers to a severe risk of catastrophic or life-altering injuries.

Real Cases

Defective aerial lift control design

Settlement reached for an electrical apprentice working on the Big Dig. The worker suffered an abdominal crush injury and an esophageal tear because of a malfunction with the bucket controls.

Firefighter's leg amputated due to defective fire truck

Product liability claim was brought against the manufacturer and distributor of the truck for failing to design the truck with a safety mechanism to prevent uncontrolled movement in the event of a shift into gear while pumping.

Defective elevating scissor lift

Settlement in product liability suit for construction worker who sustained severe crush injuries due to the defective design of a safety device in an elevating scissor lift that allowed the lift to rise due to inadvertent contact with the joystick - the very hazard the safety device was intended to prevent.

Industrial plastic roll-stand

Settlement in product liability suit where the plaintiff suffered a workplace hand injury caused by roll-stand. The manufacturer of the machine had failed to properly guard a nip point with a barrier guard, light curtain, electric eye, trip wire, or presence-sensing device to prevent workers from coming into contact with nip rolls.

Defective/Recalled Consumer and Household Products

Real Cases

Child dies due to carbon monoxide poisoning

Settlement on behalf of a family who lost a child as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. SUGARMAN attorneys brought product liability and general negligence claims alleging improper installation of a residential boiler, and a defect in the boiler which allowed it to create and introduce high concentrations of carbon monoxide into the home during foreseeable weather events, such as heavy snow storms.

Pool slide fatality

SUGARMAN lawyers secured $20.6 million in punitive and compensatory damages for a Colorado man whose wife was critically injured from a defective pool slide sold online and in stores by Toys R Us. The slide was imported from China and did not comply with federal standards regulating swimming pool slides. The jury award was the largest wrongful death/personal injury verdict in Massachusetts in 2011.

Griffin v. General Motors Corp., 380 Mass. 362 (1980)

Jury verdict against General Motors affirmed on appeal, in a case where an improperly designed car allowed fumes from the engine to enter the passenger compartment, explode, and severely burn the driver.