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CPSC Sues Michaels Stores Over Defective Vases

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently filed suit against Michaels Stores Inc. for failing to report a serious safety hazard with one of its products. According to the complaint, the craft retailer was selling vases that were so fragile that they could break in consumers’ hands, sometimes as they simply lifted the vase from the Michaels Stores shelf.

The CPSC specifically alleges that Michaels knowingly violated the Consumer Product Safety Act by failing to immediately report the defect. As we have previously discussed on this San Diego Injury Blog, manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers of consumer products are required to notify the CPSC upon learning that a product fails to comply with a consumer product safety standard; contains a defect that could create a substantial product hazard; or creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death. In this case, the vases resulted in several serious injuries to consumers, including lacerations requiring stitches, permanent nerve damage and surgery to repair severed tendons.

According to the complaint, Michaels received numerous reports of the vases shattering under normal conditions over a two-year period. The CPSC further alleges that when Michaels finally reported the defective vases, its report conveyed the false impression that Michaels did not import the vases, even though Michaels should have known it was the importer. The suit further maintains that Michaels’ misrepresentation allowed the company to avoid legal responsibility for the recall of the vases as well as any obligation to pay costs and expenses associated with a recall.

“We believe that Michaels chose to profit from selling defective vases that put people at risk, instead of following the law and immediately reporting that their vases were shattering and causing great harm to consumers,” said CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye. “To protect the public, companies are required to report potential product hazards and risks to CPSC on a timely basis. That means within 24 hours, not more than a year as in Michaels’ case.”

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured by a dangerous or defective product, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego product liability attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.