Saturday, January 3, 2009

Nordstrom To Pay a $60,000 Civil Penalty For Failure To Report Drawstrings In Children’s Outerwear

A few days ago, I posted on the Consumer Product Safety Commission recently filed lawsuit against a manufacturer. I mentioned this was surprising. Usually, the CPSC negotiates with the manufacturer or seller to agree on a civil fine. Here is an example of this more common approach. About a month ago, Nordstrom Inc. agreed to pay a $60,000 civil penalty to settle allegations that the firm knowingly failed to report to the CPSC immediately, as required by federal law, that its children’s hooded jackets and sweaters were sold with drawstrings at the hood and neck. In February 1996, CPSC issued drawstring guidelines to help prevent children from getting entangled and possibly strangling on hood and neck drawstrings in upper outerwear, such as jackets and sweatshirts. In May 2006, CPSC’s Office of Compliance announced that children’s upper outerwear with drawstrings at the hood or neck would be regarded as defective and a substantial risk of injury to young children. Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to report to CPSC immediately (within 24 hours) after obtaining information reasonably supporting the conclusion that a product contains a defect which could create a substantial product hazard, creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or violates any consumer product safety rule, or any other rule, regulation, standard, or ban enforced by the CPSC. Nordstrom sold about 2,400 drawstring jackets and sweaters in the United States between November 2007 and December 2007. In February 2008 and March 2008, CPSC and Nordstrom announced the recall of the drawstring jackets and sweaters. In agreeing to settle the matter, Nordstrom Inc. denies CPSC's allegations that it knowingly violated the law.

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