When manufacturers discover a product defect, federal law requires them
to immediately notify regulators. Phil & Teds USA recently agreed
to pay a $3.5 million civil penalty for failing to report a defect concerning
its MeToo high chair to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
The settlement also resolves charges that Phil & Teds knowingly made
material misrepresentations to CPSC staff during an investigation of the
high chair in 2011.
According to the
CPSC, the defective high chairs pose an unreasonable risk of serious injury
because the clamps can detach from the table and cause a child to fall
to the ground. If only one side of the high chair detaches, a child’s
fingers can become crushed between the bar and the clamping mechanism,
resulting in amputation.
Despite receiving multiple reports of the high chair detaching and two
subsequent design changes, Phil & Teds failed to immediately report
the defect. When the company finally notified the CPSC in January 2011,
it failed to disclose that the high chair posed an amputation hazard,
and did not notify CPSC staff that the sample high chair provided for
analysis had been redesigned. By the time the MeToo high chair was recalled
in August 2011, Phil & Teds had sold more than 13,000 units nationwide.
As detailed by the CPSC, Phil & Teds has agreed to implement and maintain
a compliance program that includes written standards, policies and procedures
to verify that all information regarding the company’s compliance
with the Consumer Product Safety Act, including reports and complaints,
is conveyed to the company’s responsible employees.
If your child or someone you love has suffered serious harm due to a defective
high chair or other children’s product, don’t hesitate to contact
a San Diego product liability attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage
for a free consultation.