First-Ever Criminal Prosecution for Failure to Report a Hazardous Product Defect

August 5, 2019

Recently, a Federal grand jury in California indicted two corporate executives for failing to report a hazardous product defect to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in a timely manner.

The Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) requires manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers to immediately report if a product fails to comply with a safety standard or regulation, contains a defect that creates a substantial product hazard, or creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death.

The Indictment

The Duty to Report

Under the CPSA, the duty to report extends to individual directors, officers, and agents of manufacturers, importers, and distributors of consumer products. 15 U.S.C. § 2064(b), 2068(a)(4). A knowing and willful violation of the CPSA could lead to imprisonment of not more than five years, a fine, or both. 15 U.S.C. § 2070 (b). It could also lead to civil penalties. 15 U.S.C.A. § 2069.

The Takeaway

To minimize the risk of running afoul of CPSC reporting requirements, manufacturers and sellers of consumers products should have rigorous internal processes to monitor and ensure compliance, as well as, have experienced CPSC counsel guide you if an issue arises and be your advocate before the CPSC. 

Frost Brown Todd attorneys have a long track record of successfully navigating clients through the complexity of CPSC requirements.