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Blog Posts in April, 2010

  • Sen. Levin Knows a Shi**y Deal When He Sees One

    In an April 28, 2010 Senate subcommittee hearing, Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) grilled Daniel Sparks, former head of Goldman Sachs mortgage department, about an email that Sparks received from Thomas Montag, Goldman’s former head of sales and trading. In the June 22, 2007 email, Montag made reference to a series of mortgage-backed investments Goldman was selling to its customers as one “shi**y ...
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  • Toyota Addresses Skid Issue with Recall of 50,000 Sequoias

    Toyota is recalling approximately 50,000 2003 Sequoias to repair traction controls that can suddenly activate and slow down the sport utility vehicles. The auto defect involves problems with the sensors that are used by the SUV’s electronic controls, which is a key issue under dispute in the automaker’s sudden unintended acceleration cases. It was just a few months ago that Toyota told regulators ...
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  • Yet Another Colorado-Based Ponzi Scheme

    We all know by now what a Ponzi scheme is. Some sharp hedge fund manager or other investment guru sells fund shares, usually to close friends and relatives, and friends and acquaintances of each, promising a higher rate of return than could reasonably be earned in a legitimate investment. Typically, the fund doesn’t generate earnings with which to pay the promised interest to the investors. ...
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  • More Graco and Simplicity Cribs Recalled Following Child Injuries and One Infant Death

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced two major crib recalls today over concerns that the infant sleepers can cause serious injuries to children. To our child injury law firm, the latest recalls are yet another reminder that there are crib manufacturers that continue to place children’s safety at risk with their poorly designed and manufactured products. In the first recall, the CPSC is ...
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  • What is electronic throttle control? Whats under the hood? What is needed?

    So what is this electronic throttle control system that people suspect is causing Toyotas to take off when nobody is stepping on the gas? I’ve seen a lot of technical and confusing drawings, but it really just comes down to this. It used to be that when you stepped on the gas pedal, it was attached to a cable. The cable ran to the throttle valve, and directly controlled engine acceleration. Back ...
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  • Heres the Problem, Simply Stated

    As explained in the Safety Research & Strategies detailed report on Toyota’s speed control problem, past government investigations closed without reaching a conclusion because Toyota convinced the government to narrowly define the problem it was researching, thus excluding many incidents. If you saw the congressional hearings on the issue you saw congressmen, regulators, and company personnel ...
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  • Goldman Sachs Faces Civil Fraud Charges

    Here we go again. Another Wall Street giant has been accused of defrauding its investors. Goldman Sachs & Co., a global investment banking and management firm, allegedly failed to disclose conflicts of interest in mortgage investments it sold during the failing housing market. Fabrice Tourre, a Goldman Sachs vice president, has also been charged by the SEC for his involvement. The Securities and ...
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  • Goldman Sachs Faces Civil Fraud Charges

    Here we go again. Another Wall Street giant has been accused of defrauding its investors. Goldman Sachs & Co., a global investment banking and management firm, allegedly failed to disclose conflicts of interest in mortgage investments it sold during the failing housing market. Fabrice Tourre, a Goldman Sachs vice president, has also been charged by the SEC for his involvement. The Securities and ...
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  • SUV Rollover Risk Prompts Toyota to Recall 2010 Lexus GX 460 SUVs

    Toyota says it will recall about 9,400 2010 Lexus GX 460. The recall follows the recent finding by Consumer Reports that the vehicle poses a rollover risk. As our automotive products liability lawyers reported in our Product Liability Law Blog last week, the safety hazard came to public attention when the popular magazine, after testing the vehicle, told consumers “Don’t Buy” the 2010 Lexus GX ...
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  • Strangulation, Choking, and Fall Hazards Prompt Recall of Baby Walkers, Clothing, and Books

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled a number of products this month because of the injuries to children that they may pose. Although recalls are a proactive step toward preventing personal injuries and wrongful deaths, it is not acceptable to expose children and babies to hazards because a manufacturer made a product that was poorly designed or developed flaws during production. On ...
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  • Manufacturing Doubt on Toyota Unintended Acceleration

    I’ve been reading an interesting book, Doubt is Their Product – How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health (Oxford University Press 2008). It is about the for-profit science companies that develop the “science” to defend their clients against claims that their products are unsafe, such as cigarettes and medicines that increase the incidence of heart attacks. One of the stars of the ...
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  • WEST VIRGINIA MINING DISASTER Tragedy Follows Inaction on Known Risks

    Early last week we were shocked and saddened at the tragic loss of at least 25 men in a West Virginia mine. We subsequently learned that the mine was cited more than 50 times in the last month alone for uncorrected safety violations. 12 citations were for problems with ventilation and preventing methane gas buildup. Mining has always been dangerous and some accidents may be unavoidable. But if ...
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  • Toyota Stops Selling Lexus GX 460 SUV After Consumer Reports Tells Shoppers Dont Buy and Warns of Rollover Risk

    Toyota has temporarily stopped selling its Lexus GX 460 SUV following the Consumer Reports’ warning to buyers that they should stay away from the sport utility vehicle. The magazine, known for independently testing motor vehicles and its recommendations regarding what people should buy, issued a rare “Don’t Buy” warning and said that not only did the SUV fail to pass a key emergency-handling test, ...
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  • How Many Days for an Aspen Vacation?

    A reader of the Aspen, Colorado Local Spur recently wrote in, “How Many Days Would You Need for a Vacation to Aspen, Colorado?” One reader thoughtfully answered that it would depend on the time of year, since there are some interesting things to do and see in the summer. Another answered that a couple of days should suffice, since in the winter one who doesn’t ski would get bored after that length ...
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  • Independent Outside Consultant?

    Toyota’s choice of an “independent” company to investigate its acceleration problem was as interesting as it was predictable. Toyota turned to Exponent, the company the auto industry has turned to for decades for one purpose: To “prove” there is no problem, whether there is a problem or not. Let’s look at Exponent’s credits: Exponent has helped defend notoriously defective products for decades. ...
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  • Colorado Money Launderer Gets Jail Time

    As promised, I am following-up on my previous article, “Corruption on Colorado’s North Metro Drug Task Force?” The Denver Post reported on April 1, 2010 that Dan Tang, prominent owner of a Thornton Chinese restaurant, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to an 18-month prison sentence for his part in financing a marijuana growing operation. Tang’s attorneys had recommended probation. The U.S. ...
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  • NHTSA Seeks to Make Toyota Pay $16.4 Million Fine for Not Reporting Sticky Pedal Defect ASAP

    More trouble for Toyota Motor Corporation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is seeking the maximum civil fine—$16.4 million—against the auto manufacturer for failing to notify the agency about the “sticky pedal” auto defect—per federal regulations—within five days of finding out that a safety problem existed. Through documents obtained from Toyota, the NHTSA found out that the ...
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  • Toyotas Independent Investigation Not So Independent

    We do not know what Toyota did when the complaints of runaway vehicles began coming in. We know that now it has hired an “independent” outside company, Exponent, to do an “impartial” investigation of the sudden acceleration problem. Every auto defect litigator in the country knows Exponent. It has been paid at least tens and likely hundreds of millions of dollars by the auto industry to disprove ...
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  • Killed in Action Marine's Dad Must Pay Funeral Protestors' Court Fees

    The father of a U.S. Marine killed in action in Iraq has been ordered by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to pay court costs of $16,510 to the leader of a Topeka, Kansas church group. The anti-gay group picketed outside the Marine’s 2006 funeral, holding signs that read among other things, “God hates you” and “You’re going to hell” and “Thank God for dead soldiers.” Unsurprisingly, the ...
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