Consumer Product Safety & Regulatory Compliance
We regularly represent manufacturers in matters before the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and provide advice regarding the CPSC’s standards, bans, regulations and rules, including compliance with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). In this role, we counsel companies concerning their testing, certification and reporting obligations, and coordinate with compliance officers at the CPSC to implement effective corrective action plans and recalls when necessary. We also assist companies with drafting product labels and warnings in compliance with the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), Flammable Fabrics Act (FFA), Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA), Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PPPA) and other regulations enforced by the CPSC. In addition, we have advised companies on the CPSC’s consumer complaint database—saferproducts.gov— and have drafted responses to database complaints for several clients. Our regulatory experience includes a broad range of U.S. and foreign manufactured consumer products, as well as issues arising from insertion of counterfeit products into the U.S. market from other countries, including China. Representative engagements include:
- Pool and Spa Drain Covers: We represented a manufacturer in an investigation by the CPSC regarding the safety of pool drain covers. After extensive negotiations with the CPSC that significantly limited the scope of the recall, our client and several other manufacturers conducted a voluntary recall of over one million drain covers. The recall received significant national press, including a report by ABC News, and articles in hundreds of newspapers, including a front-page article in USA Today and pieces in The Wall Street Journal and on CNN.com.
- Apparel: We represented a clothing company before the CPSC in connection with the voluntary recall of children’s coats with drawstrings. We also advised a major U.S. apparel company regarding CPSIA testing, certification and reporting obligations, and are representing the company before the CPSC in connection with the voluntary recall of non-compliant children’s apparel and sporting uniforms.
- Sporting and Recreational Goods: We represented a U.S. sporting goods manufacturer before the CPSC in connection with a nationwide voluntary consumer level recall. In addition, we successfully negotiated with the CPSC to limit the scope of other recalls from proposed consumer level recalls to more narrow retail level recalls. We also advise several importers and manufacturers of sporting goods and bicycles regarding ongoing obligations under the CPSIA.
- Consumer Electronics/Batteries: We assisted an electronics company in connection with a voluntary CPSC recall involving defective counterfeit batteries and have advised on testing on various regulatory issues related to its products. In addition to the recall, we worked closely with an electrical engineering expert to identify the counterfeit batteries received from a supplier as the cause of the defect, enabling the company to sue the supplier and achieve an early favorable settlement based on the results of our investigation. We worked with experts, as well as engineers, from the United States and Japan on another consumer products issue that led to reports to both the CPSC and regulatory agencies in Europe and Asia. Following a presentation concerning our clients’ and experts’ failure analysis at the CPSC, we received a “no action” letter from the CPSC. We also assisted in the successful defense of a global electronics company at trial in Bangkok by presenting testimony from U.S. experts in a case in which a product branded with the company’s name was alleged to have caused catastrophic injuries by creating an arc between an uninsulated high voltage line in a factory in Thailand and the injured person.
- Consumer Power Tools: We assisted a major power tool manufacturer in analyzing potential product hazards associated with tools imported from China that bore paint containing high levels of lead. We worked with expert witnesses in industrial hygiene to determine whether power saws and other tools coated with lead paint could present a respirable hazard, which would trigger actions under the CPSA and FHSA.
- Toys and Children’s Products: We advised manufacturers of children’s products, including toys, on federal regulations and voluntary standards governing products intended for children. In addition, we have drafted CPSA-compliant warnings for toys and advised clients on labeling requirements and product modifications to ensure compliance with all applicable regulations and standards. We are assisting a major consumer product paper company regarding CPSIA obligations, including testing and certification for lead and phthalate content with respect to the company’s disposable children’s products and childcare articles. We are also representing a manufacturer with the voluntary recall of phthalate-containing sports-themed toys pursuant to the CPSIA.
- Light Fixtures: We represented a billion-dollar manufacturer of light fixtures and other products in regulatory matters before the CPSC. We guided the company through recalls of overhead light fixtures and worked with the client to determine the cause of the defects. We also represented the company in commercial litigation and negotiations with a supplier of defective component parts.
- Building Products: We represented a building products manufacturer in reporting to the CPSC and conducting a cooperative recall with the CPSC.
- Furniture and Home Furnishings: We recently used product testing to assist a manufacturer of office furniture in obtaining a “no action” letter from the CPSC. In addition, we have counseled a major home furnishings and decorative accessories distributor regarding its testing and certification obligations under the CPSIA for rugs, bedding and other household furnishings.
- Carpets and Rugs: We have assisted a major carpet and rug manufacturer in analyzing potential flammability issues under the FFA, reporting to the CPSC, designing a voluntary recall and implementing a regulatory compliance system.
- Motor Vehicles: We advised a motor vehicle equipment manufacturer on its reporting obligations required to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and assisted the company in reporting potential product defects and announcing a cooperative recall.
Alston & Bird Widely Recognized in Chambers USA 2020
Alston & Bird has earned wide recognition in the 2020 edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.