Over the last few years, as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has moved slowly in its rulemaking efforts to address tip-overs of dressers. Without a final rule, the agency has sought to use other methods to address dresser incidents, specifically its authority to investigate potentially hazardous products and its ability to request – and even compel – recalls. The agency’s process has been straightforward: It has obtained samples of countless brands and models of dressers, tested them against the relevant voluntary standard, and, where testing suggested the samples did not meet the standard, sent letters requesting recalls.
Continue Reading Regulation-by-Enforcement: CPSC Targets Adult Portable Bed Rail Industry Company-by-Company

In yesterday’s post, we described a scenario involving a simple traffic accident, asking you to estimate the average exposure at trial.

What is the average exposure at trial in this case, based on your counsel’s estimates of these various possible outcomes?

  1. $1.4 million
  2. $3.3 million
  3. $5.5 million
  4. $8.1 million


Continue Reading How to Value Important Cases: Magnitude Has the Answer

Legal success is driven by the correct perception of risk. Plaintiffs don’t want to leave emptyhanded, and defendants don’t want to pay more than necessary. Sometimes the facts favor only one side, but most of the time a party’s legal risks fall on a spectrum between these extremes.

Managing that spectrum effectively is critical. But when cases get complex, even great lawyers have a hard time placing values on them. We have a solution to this: MagnitudeSM, our new artificial intelligence tool that takes the good advice of your preferred lawyers about the merits of a claim and translates it into dollars.
Continue Reading How to Value Important Cases: Introducing Magnitude

With consumers attempting to navigate quarantine and “shelter-in-place” orders, businesses that sell basic necessities are facing overwhelming demand.

This new level of demand is placing stress on both businesses that sell basic necessities and their employees. Many businesses are experiencing increased overall customer service inquiries, call volume, and website orders. They are needing to meet increased consumer demand while making unprecedented provisions for their own employees’ health and well-being (which we have written about here and here).


Continue Reading Five Effective Ways Companies Can Communicate with Customers During COVID-19

Current thinking from public health experts is that COVID-19 will affect the American economy for several months. But during this period businesses still have responsibilities to their brands and obligations under law. And unlike during last year’s government shutdown, the pandemic has forced government agencies like the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to operate differently, but it hasn’t closed its doors. For that reason, businesses will still have legal obligations and face the possibility of CPSC enforcement efforts.

Here are three steps companies can take to protect their brands and reduce the risk of CPSC enforcement.
Continue Reading COVID-19: Three Steps Companies Can Take to Reduce Risk of Regulatory Side Effects

Frequently the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) shares big news at the annual meeting of the International Consumer Product Health & Safety Organization (ICPHSO), the body that brings together all stakeholders in the product safety space, from consumer advocates to industry to regulators. A few years ago, then-Chairman Elliot Kaye shared his desire to see penalties in the “double-digit millions.” That statement preceded – by mere weeks – the announcement of a $15.45 million penalty against Gree Electric Appliances, Inc., the maximum penalty allowed by CPSC’s statutes.
Continue Reading CPSC to Industry: Talk to Our Lawyers

Entities regulated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) should have greater confidence in sharing confidential business information with the agency following a U.S. Supreme Court decision earlier this year that addressed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s duty to disclose information in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Continue Reading Private Eyes: When is Company Information Shared with the CPSC Confidential?

In April, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) broke new ground by indicting two former officials of a company accused of failing to timely report a potential product safety hazard to the CPSC. Those indictments marked the first time the CPSC has sought to hold executives criminally liable based on an alleged reporting violation. But while the CPSC had never previously filed criminal charges against individual corporate officers, it has previously sought to hold individuals civilly liable for corporate actions.
Continue Reading Who’s in Charge Here? The CPSC and Individual Liability for Corporate Actions

When a bulk container of vitamins tore and began to leak, it set into motion an unforeseen chain of events — beginning with the injury of Martin Cassidy and ending with an increased risk of strict liability for distributors of allegedly defective products.

In an Illinois strict product liability action, the court must dismiss a distributor once that distributor certifies the identity of the product’s manufacturer. Previously, a plaintiff seeking to vacate such a dismissal order — to reinstate the distributor as a defendant — had to show that the manufacturer was “bankrupt or nonexistent.” Cassidy v. China Vitamins, LLC rejected that rule.[1] The court held instead that the distributor could be reinstated as a defendant if the “plaintiff can establish other circumstances that effectively bar recovery of the full measure of judgment damages” from the manufacturer.

What are these other circumstances? The court declined to say, leaving it up to distributors, manufacturers, their counsel, and trial courts to attempt to define them.
Continue Reading I Can’t Get No Satisfaction: Illinois Revisits the Standard for Imposing Strict Liability on Nonmanufacturers