Kolcraft Settlement Sends Confusing Message


On March 4, 2013, the CPSC published its settlement agreement with Kolcraft Enterprises, Inc., providing for a civil penalty of $400,000 for late reporting of incidents relating to a play yard which was recalled in 2009.  The settlement agreement is significant in that it includes requirements that, among other things, Kolcraft “implement and maintain a compliance program” that “ensures compliance with the safety statutes and regulations enforced by the CPSC”, ensures “prompt disclosu...
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Significant Changes Proposed in European Product Safety Rules


On February 13, the European Commission announced a proposed revamping of its product safety rules.  Although the draft proposals are expected to be adopted in 2014 and would not take effect until 2015, several elements of the new rules would require significant changes for manufacturers long before that date. For example, the new rules require that the “manufacturer” (which includes a distributor and an importer) prepare a detailed risk assessment of every product that it introduces to th...
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CPSC Chair Announces She Will Not Seek Re-Nomination


We were there when CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum announced last week at the International Consumer Product Safety and Health Organization...
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Voluntary Standards Compliance and Non-Compliance


As a general rule, it usually is preferable for products to comply with voluntary industry standards.  In many cases, consumers insist on products which bear a recognizable certification seal as a reliable indicator of good product quality and value. But is voluntary compliance with industry standards also helpful in dealing with the CPSC?  It often depends on whether the standard is a “safety standard” (i.e. one adopted with the intent to reduce or eliminate product hazards) or a “perf...
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CPSC Adopts New Press Release Format


As part of the redesign of http://www.cpsc.gov/, the CPSC has adopted a new look for the press releases and recall alerts housed on the web site.  The new format is designed to make it easier for consumers to locate recalls and comply with them.  While it may accomplish that goal, the format tends to bury the important information, like complete descriptions, model numbers and product dating information, deeper into the web page.  For example, the name of the product on the new format tends t...
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Bishop and Mullin Speaking at ICPHSO Conference


For those in the product safety area, there is one “must attend” conference – the annual meeting of the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (“ICPHSO”).  This year‘s meeting will be from February 26 through March 1 in Arlington, Virginia.  This is the one meeting where you can rub shoulders with the regulators, private bar, company leaders, NGOs, academics, and test labs. The Product Safety Blog will be hard to miss.  Lee Bishop will be leading the first ...
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GAO Report Highlights Restrictions on CPSC Sharing of Confidential Information


Last month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued its report on the Consumer Product Safety Commission‘s (CPSC) ability to identify product hazards and assess and address product risks.  One aspect of the report bears particular note. In our global marketplace, one of the mechanisms for identifying hazards and addressing risks is the use of a memorandum of understanding with foreign governments and their product safety agencies.  The GAO correctly pointed out that, while the c...
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CPSC General Counsel to be Political Appointee


The CPSC announced recently that the new General Counsel, Stephanie Tsacoumis, would be a political appointee from the chairman‘s office.  The previous general counsel, Cheryl Falvey, was a non-political career employee, a decision in 2008 of the then acting Chairman Nancy Nord.  Commissioner Nord has stated repeatedly that the general counsel should not be subject to political oversight as a way to enhance the independence and credibility of the position. Obviously, Chairman Tenenbaum does...
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District Court Revokes Consumer Groups' Intervenor Status in CPSC Database Case


On January 11, 2013 (Order filed January 14, 2013) the United States District Court for the District of Maryland ruled that the consumer groups that had provisionally been granted the right to intervene in the Consumer Product Safety Commission Database Case (“Consumer Groups”) could not intervene in that lawsuit now that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) dropped its appeal of the District Court Order granting Company Doe‘s motion for summary judgment (See our October 25,...
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CPSC Drops Appeal in Database Case


On Friday, December 7, 2012, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) dropped its appeal of the U.S. District Court for Maryland‘s adverse ruling in the CPSC Database Case (Company Doe v. Tenenbaum, Civil Action No. 8:11-cv-02958-AW (D. Md.  Oct. 22, 2012)).  As we mentioned back on October 25, 2012, in response to a sealed lawsuit filed against the CPSC by a company under pseudonym (“Company Doe”), the District Court enjoined the CPSC from publishing what it found to be a materiall...
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