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From Products Liability Law Daily, February 25, 2014

U.S. seeks injunction against makers/sellers/importers of unsafe infant and children’s products

By Pamela C. Maloney, J.D.

The U.S. government is seeking an injunction against a number of sellers, importers, and distributors of children’s products that were found to violate the Consumer Product Safety Act, the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, and regulations issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) pursuant to those Acts. The government is pursuing the action on behalf of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the federal agency charged with enforcement of these Acts. One of CPSC’s primary purposes is to protect the public against unreasonable risks of injury associated with consumer products (United States v. Toys Distribution, Inc., February 24, 2014).

Companies involved. The complaint was filed against Toys Distribution, Inc., dba TDI International; S & J Merchandise, Inc.; BLJ Apparel, Inc.; and All Season Sales, Inc., as well as several individuals who manage these companies. All of these companies are engaged in the manufacture, sale, importation, and distribution of various consumer products, including children’s products and toys.

Allegations. According to the complaint, CPSC had collected samples of consumer products manufactured, imported, sold, or distributed by these companies and found that they violate CPSC laws and regulations. Although these products met the statutory and regulatory definition of children’s products, they were in violation of governing requirements in that they (1) contained illegal levels of total lead content, lead paint, and phthalates; (2) contained small parts even though they were intended for children under three years of age; (3) were infant rattles that could cause choking and/or suffocation; or (4) lacked the required certification based on third-party testing and tracking labels.  In each instance, the CPSC had sent the company Letters of Advice (LOAs) informing them of the violations. The government also alleged that the companies’ operations were associated with one another, and that the companies shared various personal or professional ties that made joining all of the conduct in a single lawsuit appropriate.

Relief sought. The government is asking a federal district court in California to permanently restrain and enjoin the companies from directly or indirectly selling, offering for sale, distributing in commerce, or importing into the United States children’s toys and products that do  not conform to the consumer product safety statutes and regulations enforced by the CPSC.  The government also asks the court to award any further relief requested and agreed upon by the parties. Finally, the government requests reimbursement for its costs.

Justice Department announcement. The U.S. Department of Justice announced that BLI Apparel Inc. and All Season Sales Inc., as well as two of the individual defendants, have agreed to settle the litigation and be bound by a Consent Decree of Permanent Injunction. The proposed consent decree will be filed for judicial approval in the near future.  (U.S. Dept. of Justice News, 14-192, February 24, 2014)

The case number is 2:14-cv-01364-GW-PLA.

Attorneys: Patrick Runkle for the United States.

Companies: Toys Distribution, Inc., dba TDI International; S & J Merchandise, Inc.; BLJ Apparel, Inc.; All Season Sales, Inc.

MainStory: TopStory DesignManufacturingNews ChildrensProductsNews CaliforniaNews

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