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Cheryl A. Falvey is a partner in the Mass Tort, Product, and Consumer Litigation Group, a leader in the firm’s Digital Transformation initiative, and a member of the firm’s management board. An experienced trial lawyer, she defends class actions, unfair competition, product liability and other mass tort claims arising out of consumer, occupational, and environmental exposures, as well as antitrust, trade secret, intellectual property, and other technology litigation. She also provides brand and consumer protection counseling services, with a focus on product safety and security, including the Internet of Things; privacy; anti-counterfeiting; and digital media, including sweepstakes, promotions, and advertising. Ms. Falvey represents a wide range of clients, from emerging companies to multinational Fortune 500 conglomerates, in the automotive, chemical, consumer products, fashion and apparel, food and beverage, retail, medical device, and technology industries. Ms. Falvey was named to the National Law Journal's 2014 list of Governance, Risk & Compliance Trailblazers & Pioneers.

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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 from importing and selling toys until certain remedial actions are implemented and monitored by the CPSC. The decrees can be read here and here.

The DOJ and CPSC alleged that the individuals and companies – Everbright Trading Inc., Lily Popular Varieties & Gifts Inc., and Great Great Corporation – imported and sold numerous children’s toys and products that contained high levels lead content, lead paint, and phthalates; contained small parts; and violated the mandatory toy safety standard (ASTM F-963), bicycle helmet safety standard, and labeling of art material (LHAMA) requirements.


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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 Magnets’ controversial high powered, small rare earth magnets (SREMs) are not defective and are not a substantial product hazard when sold with appropriate warnings. Novel already, what made this argument all the more interesting was an additional wrinkle:  four of the five Commissioners who heard the appeal had voted previously to approve a final safety standard that has the practical effect of banning such magnets outright.


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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

StoveThe 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. The companies have agreed to pay a civil penalty of $4.65 million to resolve charges that they knowingly failed to immediately report allegedly defective gas ranges to the Commission under Section 15(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA). This civil penalty, the second of 2017, follows the Commission’s $5.8 million civil penalty levied against Keurig Green Mountain in February. Both penalties underscore that the Commission’s general approach to civil penalties, and desire to increase the amount of penalties imposed for violations, will not change overnight with new agency leadership. Indeed, the Acting Chairman actually voted against the settlement agreement, proposing instead an amendment to reduce the amount of the civil penalty to $2 million.


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Historically, as administrations change at the safety agencies, new priorities and shifting judgments on risk-based hazard assessment drive regulatory burdens up or down. The effect of President Trump’s executive order requiring the repeal of two rules for every one promulgated is yet to be seen when it comes to rulemaking at consumer facing safety agencies such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Food and Drug Administration, and Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The CPSC, as an independent agency, could take the position that the E.O. simply does not apply to them.  The White House agrees.  But the reality is that very few $100 million rules have been issued by the CPSC over the entire life of the agency.  That is because its enabling statute favors voluntary industry standards over mandatory rules.  Indeed, many of the CPSC rules affecting product performance have been mandated by Congress and could not be repealed by the agency absent an act of Congress.  Still others may require some APA process before they can be legally repealed or changed.


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First 100 Days LogoJoin Us for a Webinar – Thursday, March 30, 2017 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Eastern

Aggressive enforcement, massive recalls and proactive safety agendas left an indelible impression on the product safety world under the Obama administration. Product safety is no longer a bipartisan affair. But what will the Trump administration mean for your regulatory compliance programs? What changes will we see and how will they affect your safety program?

Join us for a roundtable discussion of what the regulated community can expect under the new administration at the Food & Drug Administration, Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway Safety Administration. We’ll help you to forecast where policy shifts on by focusing on topical discussions of emerging products such as autonomous cars, drones, miniaturized cameras and e-cigarettes, and emerging issues including fire and lithium ion batteries, as well as hacking concerns on interconnected products.

Please click here to register for this webinar, or click here to view the event on Crowell.com.

Key topics to be discussed:
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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has a new Acting Chairwoman: Commissioner (and former Congresswoman) Ann Marie Buerkle.  Although no formal announcement has been made, those within the agency have acknowledged that current Chairman Elliot Kaye relinquished the chairmanship yesterday.  Commissioner Buerkle, one of the two Republican members of the Commission and Vice-Chair

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Retailers and consumer products companies need to be aware of a new law affecting negative online reviews. On December 14, 2016, President Obama signed the Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016 (H.R. 5111) into law. The Act voids “non-disparagement clauses” in form contracts designed to prevent consumers from posting negative comments and online reviews of products and services. The Act also makes it unlawful for companies to include these clauses in their form contracts. The Federal Trade Commission will enforce the Act in the same way it enforces against unfair or deceptive trade practices under its jurisdiction; state attorneys general may also enforce the Act under certain conditions. For existing contracts, the Act will take effect in 90 days and FTC/state enforcement may commence one year from now.


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The CPSC announced a civil penalty today against Gree Electrical Appliances that hit the statutory maximum of $15.45 million. CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye had previously expressed his desire at a recent trade conference for the Commission to hit a “double digit” million dollar civil penalty and to pursue more criminal charges. Today’s announcement achieved one of those goals.

There are many lessons learned here, even based on initial impressions.


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On February 12, 2016, the Federal Bar Association will host a day-long Fashion Law Conference at Parsons School of Design (Starr Foundation Hall in the New School’s stunning new University Center) on the last day of New York Fashion Week!

Speakers include in-house counsel from The Estee Lauder Companies, Inc., Tiffany & Co., New York