Judge Refuses to Toss Lawsuit over Graco Car Seat Belt Buckles, Parker Waichman LLP Comments

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A California judge has denied a motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit against Graco Children’s Products Inc. over allegedly defective belt buckles in car seats. The lawsuit alleges that the buckles may become so impacted and clogged with food, juice, vomit, and other substances that they cannot open.

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“Our firm offers free legal consultations to anyone who has questions about the Graco car seats’ belt buckles.”

Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm dedicated to protecting the rights of consumers affected by defective products, is commenting that a California judge has allowed a class action lawsuit against car seat maker Graco Children’s Products to proceed. The case is Seth Long v. Graco Children's Products Inc., Case Number 3:13-cv-01257, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The lawsuit alleges that the belt buckles on Graco car seats may become so gunked with food, juice, and vomit that they will not open. This may also result in harm to the child during an emergency.

The lawsuit was filed in March 2013, court documents show. In February, Graco recalled 3.7 million toddler seats. Another 1.9 million car seats were added to the recall in July. (Seth Long v. Graco Children's Products Inc., Case Number 3:13-cv-01257, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California)

According to court documents, Graco filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that a refund offer and a recall effort prevented plaintiffs from filing claims against the car seat maker. U.S. District Judge James Donato disagreed and denied the motion. Claims brought under the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act and Unfair Competition Law, as well as claims brought for breach of implied warranty under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act and the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act could proceed, the judge ruled. (Seth Long v. Graco Children's Products Inc., Case Number 3:13-cv-01257, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California)

Graco claimed that subject matter jurisdiction does not exist in this case because the Plaintiff was offered full monetary compensation on two occasions, court documents show. Judge Donato rejected this argument, stating that Graco never actually proved that they truly offered the plaintiff a refund. The company, therefore, failed to establish the factual predicate to its jurisdiction attack. (Seth Long v. Graco Children's Products Inc., Case Number 3:13-cv-01257, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California)

“Consumers should be allowed to pursue claims against manufacturers when a product is defective, especially when a product poses a safety hazard,” said Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman LLP. “Our firm offers free legal consultations to anyone who has questions about the Graco car seats’ belt buckles.”

According to an article published in The Detroit News on December 1, 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating the recall to determine if Graco waited too long to act on the issue. “The department is committed to ensuring that parents have peace of mind knowing that the car seat in which they are placing their child and their trust is safe and reliable,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, according to The Detroit News. “Any delays by a manufacturer in meeting their obligations to report safety issues with the urgency they deserve, especially those that impact the well-being of our children, erode that trust and is absolutely unacceptable.”

Parker Waichman LLP continues to offer free lawsuit consultations to consumers who have purchased a Graco car seat with an allegedly defective belt buckle. For more information, please visit the firm's Product Liability page at yourlawyer.com. Free case evaluations are also available by calling 1(800) LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).

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