Girardi | Keese

Legal dispute between CPSC and company escalates

In a majority of cases, when the Consumer Product Safety Commission issues a recall for a product, it's generally done with the help of the company who is providing the product. Together, both parties usually come up with a plan to make the product safer for consumers.

At least, that's how it usually goes in a majority of cases. But in a recent set of lawsuits out of Pennsylvania, a company is fighting back against the CPSC for its push for a mandatory recall. But in order to get the entire story, we'll have to go back to 2010 where it all began.

Following the death of an infant who had been using one of Baby Matters, LLC's products, Nap Nanny recliner, the CPSC and Baby Matters issued a joint recall, warning consumers that there was a defect in the product. After extensive changes to the design and safety warnings, the company released their second generation of the recliner.

But despite changes, the CPSC continued to receive reports of injuries and deaths. Now armed with a total of 70 incident reports, and five confirmed deaths, the CPSC decided that more drastic steps needed to be taken. On December 5, 2012, the agency announced that it had filed an administrative complaint against Baby Matters which would effectively require the company to notify the public of the defect and offer consumers a full refund.

In the wake of the lawsuit, Baby Matters has closed its doors, but in a startling move has issued its own lawsuit which seeks to dismiss the CPSC's attempt to enforce a mandatory recall. Baby Matters' legal team claims that the mandatory recall was merely a "vehicle to give the commission leverage to strong-arm a complete recall without having to prove its case."

Some legal experts argue otherwise, pointing out that the CPSC has collected dozens of reports that indicate-despite changes in design and warnings-that the product is still defective and a safety risk to children nationwide and should be removed from retail shelves until further safety modifications can be made.

Source: The Consumerist, "Maker of 'Nap Nanny' Fights Recall of Product Linked to Death of Five Infants," Chris Morran, Jan. 3, 2013

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