Each year, thousands of products—from cosmetics to motor vehicles to children’s toys—are taken off the market over defects that pose potential safety concerns. Product recall announcements can generate a lot of publicity and quickly lead to class action or mass action lawsuits. Although a product recall does not automatically make a manufacturer liable, a quick and effective response can make all the difference. Product recalls are not necessarily “silver bullets” that defeat all civil claims, but a voluntary recall can serve as a strong defense in such suits, regardless of whether plaintiffs are claiming personal injury or only economic damage.
Continue Reading Recall Litigation Report: CPAP Class Action MDL

In one of the most significant developments in product safety law over the past decade, Gree Electric Appliances Inc. of Zhuhai, Hong Kong Gree Electric Appliances Sales Co. Ltd., and Gree USA Inc. (the “Gree Companies”), an appliance manufacturer and two of its subsidiaries, have pled guilty to willfully failing to report to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) under Section 15(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA). According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the CPSC, the Gree Companies knew their dehumidifiers were defective, failed to meet applicable safety standards, and could catch fire, but failed to timely report that information to the CPSC. Section 19 of the CPSA makes it unlawful to fail to furnish information required by Section 15(b), and such failures are subject to both civil and criminal penalties. While CPSC civil penalties have become fairly routine—the Gree Companies also paid a then-record $15.45 million civil penalty in 2016—this is the first corporate criminal enforcement action brought under the CPSA, according to the DOJ. 
Continue Reading Silence Isn’t Golden: Failure to Report Consumer Product Safety Issues Results in Rare $91 Million Criminal Penalty

On Monday, President Trump nominated Ann Marie Buerkle, who has served as Acting Chair of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission since February 9, 2017, to serve as permanent Chair of the Commission.  The appointment is for a term of seven years beginning on October 27, 2018 when her current term expires.  Acting Chair Buerkle’s

The Consumer Product Safety Commission continues on its path of settling higher civil penalties, announcing on May 27, 2015, that Office Depot agreed to a $3.4 million penalty for failing to report alleged defects in two office desk chair models.  The products were sold exclusively at Office Depot’s retail and online stores and were

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