Increasing Consumer Awareness of Hazardous Products

The Impact of Deceitful Marketing Practices

Unfortunately, too many consumers are unaware of the deceitful marketing practices used by many companies to push hazardous products. Sadly, this lack of awareness leads to injury and even death. Whenever a dangerous product harms someone, consumers should know about it. However, current California laws do more to protect companies than it does consumers. For decades, companies have been able to hide the fact that their products are unsafe.

Attorney Vineet Dubey, cofounder of Custodio & Dubey LLP, has focused his practice and career on protecting California consumers. With a focus on environmental litigation, he has been the lead counsel in 500+ Proposition 65 cases, achieving highly beneficial results for his clients and consumers across the state. With this wealth of experience, Attorney Dubey knows how important consumer awareness is. As a firm, we work hard to help consumers get the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe. And when someone is injured because of a harmful, hazardous, or unsafe product, we are here to help victims fight back.

Keep reading to learn more about current legislation aimed at fighting deceitful marketing practices and suppression of evidence from public access.

The Public Right to Know Act, SB 1149

With the new bill, the Public Right to Know Act, SB 1149, the secrecy provisions often included in civil litigation settlements involving defective or dangerous products may not only come to a stop but be deemed unlawful. This bill would create a presumption against this type of secrecy in cases where it is discovered during litigation that the dangerous product or environmental hazard “has caused or is likely to cause significant or substantial bodily injury or illness or death.”

According to a press release from Senator Connie M. Leyva, with SB 1149, “no court order may conceal information about a defective product or environmental hazard that poses a danger to the public health or safety unless the court finds that the public interest in disclosure is clearly outweighed by a specific and substantial need for secrecy.”

Carve-outs or exceptions to this may include:

  • Personal identifying information
  • Medical information
  • Citizenship and immigration status
  • The amount of a settlement
  • Current proprietary customer lists
  • Trade secrets

Why the Public Right to Know Act Matters

For too long, consumers have intentionally been kept in ignorance of dangerous or defective products. Consequently, they have been deliberately prevented from understanding the true risks associated with the products they purchase, and the deceitful marketing practices used by the companies that sell these products. Even when information about these products has come out during lawsuits and litigation, consumers are kept in the dark, leading to further injury and even death.

A well-known example is Purdue Pharma and its marketing practices for OxyContin amid America’s opioid epidemic. Judges at both state and federal levels have protected Purdue Pharma by keeping vital information out of consumer’s hands. Meanwhile, over half a million Americans have died from opioid overdoses.

This suppression of information has been done to protect the reputations of Goliath-like companies like Purdue Pharma and Monsanto (the makers of weed killer Roundup, a product that exposure to which resulted in the death of an untold number of people). The needless loss of lives directly results from the secrecy surrounding defective products and deceitful marketing practices associated with those products.

According to a recent Reuters study, it has been found that in the last 20 years, judges sealed evidence in approximately half of the 115 largest product-defect cases on record. The Public Right to Know Act, which the California State Senate approved, is a crucial step forward in the fight to protect consumer rights.

Do you have questions about your consumer rights regarding defective or hazardous products? Reach out to Custodio & Dubey LLP for experienced legal guidance.

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