$750,000 Civil Penalty for Delay in Reporting Oven Hazard
The Department of Justice announced recently that a North Carolina company has agreed to pay a $750,000 civil penalty to settle allegations that it knowingly failed to report immediately to the Consumer Product Safety Commission a safety hazard associated with certain wall ovens sold to consumers. The company has also agreed to establish and maintain a compliance program with internal recordkeeping and monitoring systems to keep track of information about product safety hazards.
Under the Consumer Product Safety Act, manufacturers, distributors and retailers are required to report product hazards to the CPSC. According to an agency press release, the DOJ alleged that between February 2006 and November 2007 the North Carolina company knew of 22 consumer reports of flames shooting out of the ovens when the broiler was on and that such incidents had resulted in consumer injuries ranging from singed hair to facial burns. The DOJ also alleged that the company failed to immediately report these hazards despite the fact that its sister company had identified the defective and hazardous nature of the ovens in January 2005 and implemented a design change to fix the defect in March 2006.