Retail & Consumer Products Law Observer

Retail & Consumer Products Law Observer

Legal Insight for the Retail and Consumer Products Industry

Category Archives: Product Liability & Torts

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Government Blocks Companies from Importing and Selling Children’s Products after Alleged Non-Compliance with Product Safety Laws

Posted in Import/Export, Product Liability & Torts
The U.S. Department of Justice and Consumer Product Safety Commission recently announced that they had entered into consent decrees with three New York-based toy companies and five individuals for importing and selling products that violate the Federal Hazardous Substances Act and the Consumer Product Safety Act. The consent decrees enter permanent injunctions against the companies… Continue Reading

FTC Focusing on Privacy Risks of Interconnected Toys

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Product Liability & Torts
Fuzzy talking toys are no longer the annoying, yet benign Christmas gifts they used to be. Many of today’s toys, like refrigerators, cars, and televisions, are “smart,” and may come gift-wrapped with all of the emerging cybersecurity risks the internet has to offer. And as various government agencies grapple with the regulation and enforcement of… Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court: Shaping the Personal Jurisdiction Landscape in Product Liability Cases

Posted in Consumer Class Action, Product Liability & Torts
On June 19, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision clarifying the circumstances in which a lawsuit “arises out of” or “relates to” a corporation’s contacts with a particular jurisdiction, such that it can be sued there. In Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court, writing for an 8-1 majority, Justice Alito held that California… Continue Reading

Trampoline Manufacturer Can’t Bounce Away From FTC Trouble

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Product Liability & Torts
FTC Moves Ahead Enforcing Endorsement Cases A few months ago, acting Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Olhausen stated that the FTC should shift focus to cases of actual harm, leaving many to wonder whether FTC would still actively enforce endorsement cases. However, in April, the FTC sent out ninety letters to brand influencers and marketers reminding… Continue Reading

CPSC Hears Rare Oral Argument in Zen Magnets Recall Litigation

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Product Liability & Torts
On June 7, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission provided administrative law followers a fascinating case study. For the first time in two decades, the CPSC’s five Commissioners heard an appeal put on by CPSC staff in administrative litigation. In its appeal, the staff seeks to overturn an administrative law judge’s opinion finding that Zen… Continue Reading

Join Us: ABA Food & Supplements 7th Annual Workshop

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Events, Product Liability & Torts
2017 continues to be the year of the Food Safety Modernization Act, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, having completed its roll-out of the major rules implementing this land-mark food safety legislation, moves in earnest with inspections to check on compliance. To help manufacturers prepare for this and other issues confronting the food industry,… Continue Reading

The Devil is in the Details: Recordkeeping a Central Focus in FSMA Inspections

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Product Liability & Torts
The Food Safety Modernization Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011, promised sweeping reform of food safety practices from farm to fork, and shifted FDA’s regulatory posture from reacting to food contamination to proactively preventing it. While the Trump administration has vowed to eliminate two regulations for every new… Continue Reading

CPSC Announces Second Civil Penalty Of Year

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Product Liability & Torts
CPSC Reaches Civil Penalty Agreement with Viking Range and Middleby Corporation; Firms to Pay $4.65 Million to Resolve Late Reporting Allegations Over Defective Gas Ranges The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced a civil penalty settlement with Viking Range, LLC of Greenwood, Mississippi and its parent company, The Middleby Corporation of Elgin, Illinois.… Continue Reading

The President’s Regulatory Agenda and the FTC

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Product Liability & Torts
Presidential advisor Steve Bannon famously told the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that the Trump Administration seeks to “deconstruct” the regulatory state. The President has issued several Executive Orders (EOs) on regulations designed to implement this policy, including the “two for one” EO, an EO on enforcing the regulatory agenda, and an EO on reorganizing… Continue Reading

CPSC Acting Chair Buerkle Announces Top Priorities at Product Safety Conference

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Product Liability & Torts
This past Wednesday, in her first public remarks as Acting Chair of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Ann Marie Buerkle announced her top three priorities. As our readers know from our previous post, on February 9, then Commissioner Buerkle became Acting Chair of the CPSC after Commissioner Elliot Kaye stepped down as Chairman.… Continue Reading

Beauty with a Side of Mercury?

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Consumer Class Action, Product Liability & Torts, Torts
On July 26, 2016, FDA issued an updated warning on beauty products, warning consumers to avoid certain “skin creams, beauty and antiseptic soaps, and lotions,” particularly those boasting “anti-aging” or “skin lightening” benefits, as potentially containing mercury.  While the dangers of mercury exposure are well-known, mercury’s ubiquity in certain beauty products is not.  Products that… Continue Reading

Turf Wars: The Attack On Crumb Rubber Synthetic Turf

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Environment & Natural Resources, Product Liability & Torts
Many universities and local governments have installed synthetic turf made with “crumb rubber” – ground up tires – on playing fields and playgrounds in recent years to obtain the advantages of all-season use and lower maintenance costs. In recent months, however, the media and a growing group of critics contend that the crumb rubber used… Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Rules That Federal Law Does Not Preempt State-Law Claims Over Truthfulness of “Organic” Labels

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Product Liability & Torts
On December 3, 2015 in a unanimous decision, the California Supreme Court ruled that California state law claims for harms arising out of allegedly false “organic” labeling were not preempted by the federal Organic Foods Production Act of 1990.  With that decision, the Court reversed the lower court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ claims on the pleadings. … Continue Reading

Paper Warranties a Thing of the Past?

Posted in Product Liability & Torts
On Tuesday, September 8, 2015, the House passed the E-Warranty Act of 2015, which, if enacted, would require the FTC to revise the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act to allow manufacturers to satisfy the Act’s requirements by digitally posting consumer product warranties on their websites. The E-Warranty Act would permit manufacturers to provide warranty information online only, if… Continue Reading

The FDA Issues Warning Letters to Five Distributors of Pure Powdered Caffeine

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Product Liability & Torts
The FDA is cracking down on distributors of pure powdered caffeine. On Tuesday, the agency released a statement announcing that it fully intends to “aggressively monitor the marketplace for pure powdered caffeine products and take action as appropriate.” This is no empty threat. Warning letters were issued to five distributors of the product on August… Continue Reading

Report from FDLI’s 2014 Enforcement, Litigation and Compliance Conference

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Consumer Class Action, Product Liability & Torts
On December 8 and 9, 2014, the Food and Drug Law Institute (FDLI) held its annual Enforcement, Litigation & Compliance Conference in Washington, D.C. Speakers from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Justice (DOJ), and other federal agencies, as well as representatives from industry and the private bar, discussed recent activity and… Continue Reading

FTC Warns Retailers to Police Their Products’ Deceptive Concussion Prevention Claims

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Product Liability & Torts
As the storm of concussion-related litigation continues to churn, the Federal Trade Commission is once again wading into its turbulent waters. In August, the FTC sent warning letters to five undisclosed “major” retailers, expressing concerns that athletic mouthguards are being advertised deceptively on the retailers’ web sites as helping to prevent concussions. These FTC letters… Continue Reading

Highlights from ACI’s 2014 Consumer Products Regulatory & Litigation Program

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Product Liability & Torts
The American Conference Institute held its Second Annual Consumer Products Regulatory & Litigation conference on June 11-12, 2014, in Chicago, Illinois. Here is a list of the key takeaways from this year’s event: On recent Commission activity: While Commissioners at the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) may admit to having “erasers on their pencils” when… Continue Reading

California Unveils Green Chemistry Initiative’s Candidate Chemicals Lists

Posted in Advertising & Product Risk Management, Environment & Natural Resources, Product Liability & Torts
A month in advance of its October 31, 2013 statutory deadline, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) on September 26, 2013 released its preliminary lists of Candidate Chemicals under the state’s newly enacted Green Chemistry Initiative.  The Green Chemistry regulations, which officially took effect today, require certain “Priority Products” to go through a rigorous… Continue Reading