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The Impact of a Tainted Product Recall On Your NY Food Poisoning Case


In the aftermath of a defective product recall, there seems to be a widely-held (and erroneous) perception that the recall inherently means that: 

(1) the recalled products are defective; and,
(2) if you've been injured in the course of using that product, the company behind the recall is automatically liable.

The truth, of course, is far murkier, and here's why:

Consider, for example, the recent recall by two Iowa fams of more than 500,000,000 eggs due to concerns of contamination with salmonella.

Some people have already sued, claiming that they sustained food poisoning as a result of consuming those eggs. But if you analyze each case on its own merits, you will realize that the egg companies are certainly allowed to investigate, and determine whether each claimant's alleged injuries 1) are real, and, 2) may have been caused by something other than their eggs. (For more on food poisoning lawsuits under New York law, please see "3 Avoidable Mistakes that Can Destroy Your Food Poisoning Lawsuit in NY").

In fact, in many, if not most product recalls, the companies do so voluntarily, and you would be hard-pressed (read: impossible) to find an instance where the company actually admits liability for claims resulting from the use of or exposure to their products.

That said, as noted in "How Product Safety Recalls Can Help Prove a Defective Products Case in New York," it certainly is far easier to prove a defective products case when the product involved has been recalled as opposed to instances where it hasn't been; at a minimum, you will have the benefit of publicly available government investigations to help support your contention that the defendant company knew, or in the reasonable exercise of diligence should have known, about the defects in the product, yet failed to remedy it in a timely fashion. (This is one of the 5 ways to prove a defective products case under New York law).