Posts tagged Automobile.
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The beginning of the New Year experienced a drop off in recalls as the busy holiday season came to a close. Nevertheless, two important trends developed throughout January.

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Civil penalties continue to serve as a reminder that noncompliance with the Consumer Product Safety Act can be costly. A major retailer agreed to pay a $3.8 million penalty for failure to implement an internal compliance program for the distribution and sale of recalled products. The retailer sold about 600 recalled products over a five-year period, a pattern of behavior that continued even after informing the CPSC that measures were in place to reduce this risk.

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November brought a reminder that civil penalties are the trend to watch from the CPSC when a pet goods retailer agreed to a $4.25 million penalty for failing to immediately report to CPSC an alleged defect in fish bowls at risk of breaking, which posed a risk to purchasers of cutting themselves. CPSC’s data shows a hefty increase in the amount of civil penalties extracted, ranging from a low of $700,000 to a high of $4.3 million in fiscal year 2015 and a low of $2 million to a whopping high of $15.45 million in fiscal year 2016. Virtually all of those instances involved a “failure to report” or delay in reporting.

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October was filled with frights as malfunctioning electronics took center stage. With personal panic devices failing to operate and diving computers posing drowning risks, manufacturers should keep in mind that life-threatening hazards dramatically increase their potential liability.

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Much ado about lithium-ion batteries. If you have watched the news, you have seen that certain smartphones have been recalled due to fire and burn hazards posed by the phones’ lithium-ion batteries. While this recall is important, it is not unique. This year alone, at least nine other companies have issued recalls due to problems with lithium-ion batteries. These recalls include video baby monitors, batteries in laptop computers, batteries in flashlights and other battery packs. Not to mention last year’s slew of recalls over the most popular holiday gift – the hoverboard. While there are advantages to lithium-ion batteries, such as their recharge capability and their low memory effect, there are risks to using them in household electronic devices. Manufacturers must assess these risks when rolling products out to the public. Companies could not only face an expensive recall, but also a potential shift in public perception of the quality of its devices that could have repercussions long after the initial recall is over.

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Hunton & Williams LLP focuses on product issues ranging from compliance, recall issues, investigations and products-related litigation in state and federal courts and in various administrative forums. Our lawyers have managed and consulted on recall or potential recall issues for a number of clients requiring involvement with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the state attorneys general. Our lawyers have conducted broad-based federal and 50-state research to identify applicable regulatory schemes, consulted with clients regarding compliance strategy and litigation risk management issues, and litigated numerous products liability claims (gas controls, valves, water heaters, tires) in state and federal courts.


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