The FTC’s past week invited change as the Commission finalized an updated Energy Labeling Rule and welcomed two new senior agency leaders. This story and more after the jump.
Here’s a brief review of three key developments concerning the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) from the past month or so to help you stay aware of important product safety legislative and regulatory happenings.
The CPSC Has a New Commissioner. On November 16, the United States Senate confirmed Richard Trumka Jr. to a seven-year term on the Commission by voice vote. Mr. Trumka Jr. will replace long-time Commissioner Robert Adler whose term expired last month. Importantly, with Mr. Trumka Jr.’s confirmation, the Commission will remain comprised of two Democratic (Hoehn-Saric and Trumka Jr.) and two Republican (Baiocco and Feldman) Commissioners. The Democrats will not have a majority on the Commission until current Biden nominee (and CPSC Executive Director) Mary Boyle is confirmed by the Senate—and the status of that nomination remains unclear. Ms. Boyle’s nomination is not on the Senate Commerce Committee’s “Nominations Hearing” agenda for December 1. You can read more about Mr. Trumka Jr.’s confirmation in our prior post about his confirmation.
Continue Reading CPSC Insights – November 2021
Here’s a brief review of key developments concerning the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) from the past month to help you stay aware of important product safety legislative and regulatory happenings.
Gree Appliance Companies Plead Guilty to Felony Charge for Failure to Report; Indicted Executives Await Trial. In one of the most significant developments in product safety law over the past decade, Gree Electric Appliances Inc. of China, Hong Kong Gree Electric Appliances Sales Co. Ltd., and Gree USA Inc. (the “Gree Companies”), a global appliance manufacturer, have pleaded guilty to willfully failing to report to the CPSC under Section 15(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act. According to the DOJ and CPSC, the Gree Companies knew their dehumidifiers were defective, failed to meet applicable safety standards, and could catch fire, but failed to report that information to the CPSC for months. Section 19 of the CPSA makes it unlawful to fail to furnish information required by Section 15(b), and that failure is subject to civil and criminal penalties. While CPSC civil penalties (or at least investigations) have become fairly routine—indeed, the Gree Companies paid a then-record $15.45 million civil penalty in 2016—this is the first corporate criminal enforcement action brought under the CPSA by the Government. As part of the Gree Companies’ plea agreement, they will pay a $91 million penalty. Two Gree executives have been charged criminally by the DOJ as well, and await trial, scheduled for March 2022. Stay tuned for a full analysis from the Crowell product safety team.
Continue Reading CPSC Insights – October 2021
For the first time since February 2017, when then-Chairman Elliot Kaye stepped down as leader of the agency, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has a permanent chairman. On October 7, 2021, the U.S. Senate confirmed Alexander Hoehn-Saric as Chairman (and Commissioner) of the CPSC by voice vote. Hoehn-Saric’s confirmation comes on the heels of some partisan wrangling at the Commission during which Republican Commissioners Dana Baiocco and Peter Feldman successfully amended the Commission’s FY22 Operating Plan by a 2-1 vote over the strong opposition of then-Acting (Democratic) Chairman Robert Adler. Given Adler’s plea following that vote for the (Democrat-held) Senate to confirm the pending nominations of Hoehn-Saric, and Richard Trumka Jr., and Mary Boyle, President Biden’s two other recent nominees, Hoehn-Saric’s swift confirmation was likely no coincidence.
Continue Reading Senate Confirms Hoehn-Saric as Chairman of CPSC
Here’s a brief review of key developments concerning the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) from the past month or so to help you stay aware of important product safety legislative and regulatory happenings.
Commissioner Elliot Kaye Departs the Commission. In late August, Commissioner (and former Chairman) Elliot Kaye announced his departure from the agency to assume a senior position at Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen. Kaye, whose term had expired in October 2020, was serving in his “hold-over” year pending the confirmation of a new commissioner. As a result of Kaye’s departure, there are currently two Republicans on the Commission (Dana Baiocco and Peter Feldman) and one Democrat—Acting Chairman Robert Adler. This political dynamic, similar to when the Democrats held a majority of commissioner seats during the Trump Administration, has already caused some partisan maneuvering and angst at the agency (see Vote on FY22 Operations Plan story below). However, this 2-1 split in favor of the Republicans will not last for long. Read on!
Continue Reading CPSC Insights – September 2021