CPSC Administrative Litigation

On Friday, February 16, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) announced that it had voted 3-1 (along party lines) to authorize CPSC staff to file an administrative complaint against Britax Child Safety, Inc., (“Britax”) a global manufacturer of car seats, strollers, and other juvenile products. In its Complaint, CPSC alleges certain models of Britax’s B.O.B. jogging strollers contain a design defect which results in stroller wheel detachments.  The Complaint seeks an order finding that the strollers present a substantial product hazard and directing Britax take action to recall the products, among other things.

One aspect of this case that’s especially noteworthy is that it was opposed by Republican Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle, who is President Trump’s nominee for permanent Chairman. The three Commissioners who voted affirmatively are all Democratic Commissioners who, as a supermajority, still have control over many areas of the agency over one year into the Trump administration.

As we have written about previously, the Democratic Commissioners will continue to hold a majority until the confirmation of Republican Commissioner nominee Dana Baiocco. Of course, it is difficult to say how the composition of the Commission could have shaped the outcome of this vote, considering that the Zen Magnets litigation was only possible because a Republican Commissioner voted in favor of authorizing that Complaint while the Commission was composed of two Republicans and two Democrats in 2012. Continue Reading CPSC Sues Britax over Stroller Wheel Detachments

On May 9, 2014, the CPSC and the maker of Buckyballs and Buckycubes settled the July 2012 administrative case brought by the CPSC alleging that these “rare earth magnets” pose a substantial product hazard.  The settlement agreement includes a voluntary recall of Buckyballs and Buckycubes and a trust to be funded in the amount of $375,000 by Craig Zucker, the Company’s ex-CEO, and controlled by the CPSC to refund consumers. The Commission voted 2-1 to accept the settlement, with Acting Chairman Adler voting against the settlement and Commissioners Buerkle and Robinson voting to approve the settlement.

Buckyballs and Buckycubes are small but extremely powerful magnets that can be formed into different shapes and are used by adults as a game or to relieve stress.

As noted in our earlier post, the CPSC initiated its 2012 administrative complaint against Maxfield and Oberton Holdings LLC after receiving a number of reports of children and teenagers ingesting two or more Buckyballs or Buckycubes and requiring invasive surgery to remove the powerful magnets.  In 2013, the company’s ex-CEO, Mr. Zucker, dissolved the company and subsequently the CPSC named him personally and as an officer of the company.  Although upheld by the administrative law judge, in the “modern era” of the CPSC this is an extraordinary action based on CPSC legal reasoning that arguably could reach thousands of corporate executives.

Continue Reading CPSC Settles Complaint Against Ex-CEO of Buckyballs and Buckycubes

Mintz Levin’s Consumer Product Safety practice is honored to welcome Commissioner Robert Adler as a guest speaker in an upcoming webinar to discuss the trajectory of CPSC enforcement trends and proactive steps your company can take to prevent becoming the subject of CPSC enforcement actions. Consumer Product Safety Enforcement Trends: The Resurgence of Administrative Litigation and Heightened Stakes in Civil Penalty Settlement Negotiations at the CPSC will be held tomorrow (September 12th) from 12:00 to 1:00 pm Eastern time.

Click here to register. We hope you can join us!