Recently, we wrote about how the impending presidential election might affect the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and specifically what might happen with the Commission’s current vacancy and the two more (at least[1]) that will arise during the next presidential term. Now we’ll take a look at how the upcoming congressional elections may also affect the CPSC and the companies it regulates. Continue Reading Safety on the Hill: Prospects for CPSC Overhaul in the 117th Congress

In a decision with potentially far-reaching consequences for class actions, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that the ubiquitous practice of awarding a class representative an “incentive” payment as part of a class action settlement is impermissible. Johnson v. NPAS Solutions, Inc., No. 18-12344, ___ F.3d ____, 2020 WL 5553312 (11th Cir. Sept. 17, 2020). Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Rules That Class Representative Incentive Awards Are Impermissible

In this two-part series, we take a close look at the uncertainties facing the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). This post examines how the ongoing difficulties in confirming CPSC nominees creates an existential threat for the agency, and we look at the game plans a President Biden or re-elected President Trump could use to overcome those difficulties and keep the lights on at the CPSC. Our first post analyzed the difficulties facing nominees.

Continue Reading Lingering Uncertainties Facing the CPSC: Election Contingency Plans

From apparel companies that have shifted from making clothing to making face masks, to distilleries and breweries that are now producing hand sanitizer, to consumer goods and auto makers manufacturing ventilators and respirators, manufacturers nationwide have shifted their production lines to meet what consumers need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Continue Reading Retooling in the Midst of COVID-19: Statutory Protections for Manufacturers

In this two-part series, we take a close look at the uncertainties facing the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). This post analyzes the difficulties surrounding President Trump’s current CPSC nominee and discusses how the agency would be effective if confirmations remain elusive. In post 2, we will examine how the November election might affect the odds of a confirmation next year – and the risks to the agency if the post remains unfilled. Continue Reading Lingering Uncertainties Facing the CPSC: If Not Beck, Then Who?

Many companies were caught off-guard in the spring when diagnoses of COVID-19 multiplied rapidly and forced businesses to close or drastically change their policies with little warning. Now companies that have reopened must prepare for the future. As we have seen in recent weeks, resurgences may occur at any time in different parts of the country. And epidemiologists have warned about a potential second wave of infections in the fall. Continue Reading Reopening and Readjusting: Preparing for a Diagnosis or Resurgence in the Coming Months

In our last post, we discussed policy changes and new procedures that companies should consider as they reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly given the increase in cases in many parts of the country. But companies cannot change policies in a vacuum: they must clearly and effectively communicate these changes to employees, customers, and the public. Clear, written policies will be ineffective if they are not communicated effectively. Continue Reading Reopening and Readjusting: Communicating COVID-19 Policies to All Stakeholders

Business closures have been immensely difficult for companies of all sizes during the COVID-19 pandemic. But reopening is proving difficult, too, especially given the ever-changing nature of the pandemic. As cases have surged in recent weeks in new parts of the country, businesses have been forced to reassess their operational plans in both the near- and long-term. Owners and executives are paying close attention both to customer and employee safety. And businesses must be mindful of potential legal ramifications of their decisions. Continue Reading Reopening and Readjusting: What Businesses Should Be Thinking About

Attorneys have a duty to preserve evidence when bringing or defending claims.

In many jurisdictions, even accidental losses of evidence can lead to sanctions. For example, last year, an MMA fighter was sanctioned after a bottle of supplements critical to his suit against the manufacturer was lost in transit.[1] The court instructed the jury that it could draw an adverse inference based on the lost evidence.

Courts may also impose these sanctions where evidence is lost before a lawsuit is ever filed, if the litigation was foreseeable. Attorneys must therefore keep this duty to preserve evidence in mind after a dispute arises and remind clients to do the same. Continue Reading Practice Pointer: Potential Consequences for Inadvertent Spoliation of Evidence

Yesterday, the Senate Commerce Committee held a confirmation hearing for Dr. Nancy Beck, who was nominated to be a commissioner and chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Perhaps unsurprisingly, Dr. Beck faced significant skepticism from Democratic members of the committee. However, she also had a tense exchange with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R, W. Va.) regarding Dr. Beck’s prior work with the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House. Continue Reading CPSC Chair Nominee Facing Bipartisan Opposition