Jenifer Keenan, counsel in the firm’s Products Liability Group, was quoted in a Law360 article discussing the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC’s) announcement of a settlement that requires companies to set up expansive new compliance systems, which, according to the article, suggests that the agency will “force the programs on even those accused only of failing to report a product defect promptly.”
“I would not be shocked if the next civil penalty settlement agreement we see has those exact three paragraphs in them,” Keenan said, referencing the CPSC’s language used in the Kolcraft and Williams-Sonoma settlement agreements issued for taking too long to report a defect to the agency.
“The differences between the two products at the heart of the settlement also suggest the compliance program requirement will be universal,” she said.
“Companies’ willingness to adopt the CPSC’s vision of a compliance program now could affect their dealings with the agency later…if a company does not match its compliance program to the one outlined in the two settlement agreements, the CPSC may decide to impose a higher civil penalty on it in the event on an alleged violation,” Keenan said. “If it does, it could have more leverage to lower the civil penalty amount.”