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.
Scott L. Winkelman is a partner in the firm, co-chair of the Environment, Energy and Resources Group, and a member of the firm's Management Board and Executive Committee. He litigates class actions, multidistrict proceedings, and other complex litigation nationwide in products and commercial matters. Scott also represents clients in proceedings before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and related regulatory bodies, and counsels clients on liability prevention, records management, and commercial contract and warranty matters.
Last month, our colleague Joshua Foust analyzed the then-newly introduced Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017. The bill, sponsored by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), amends procedures used in federal court class action and mass tort litigation. Last week, on March 9, just one month after Chairman Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced the bill, the full House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 220-201. The legislation will now be considered by the Senate.
Now that the bill has passed the House, we have drafted an alert providing additional analysis. Click here to read the alert on Crowell.com or read below.
The U.S. House Sets Out To Reform Class and Mass Actions
Join 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.
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 done in a “clear and conspicuous manner.”
The Senate unanimously passed this bill, and it now heads to President Obama. Passage seems likely. Product manufacturers and sellers should be taking steps now to prepare to convert their warranty worlds to the Internet age—with easily accessible web platforms, warranty text that is both clear and reader-friendly in electronic form, and related actions to move swiftly and smartly away from the paper world.
On November 13, 2013, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted 3-1 to publish notice of a proposed interpretive rule that would establish standards for voluntary product recalls, revising 16 CFR part 1115. As approved, the proposed rule, which originally focused on the form and content of recall notice, incorporates several substantive amendments introduced by Commissioner Robert Adler during the November 13 meeting. These amendments would eliminate the option to engage in a voluntary recall without entering into a legally binding agreement and would allow the Commission to seek compliance terms as part of a firm’s binding corrective action plan governing the conduct of the recall. Notice of the proposed rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on November 21, 2013. 78 Fed. Reg. 69,793 (Nov. 21, 2013).