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From Products Liability Law Daily, October 31, 2014

Williams-Sonoma agrees to pay $700,000 for failure to report defective shades

By Joe Bichl

Williams-Sonoma, Inc., of San Francisco, California, has agreed to pay a $700,000 civil penalty pursuant to a settlement agreement that was accepted provisionally by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in a 4 to 1 vote. The agreement settles charges by CPSC staff that the company knowingly failed to report to CPSC immediately, as required by federal law, a defect involving Pottery Barn Kids Roman shades with exposed inner cords. Williams-Sonoma has also agreed to maintain a compliance program and system of internal controls to ensure compliance with the safety statutes and regulations enforced by the Commission (In the Matter of: Williams Sonoma, Inc., October 30, 2014).

Background. Williams-Sonoma sold the Roman shades nationwide, through its Pottery Barn Kids brand, between January 2003 and November 2007, for $30 to $60. CPSC staff determined that that the Pottery Barn Kids Roman shades posed a strangulation hazard to young children.

CPSC staff charges. CPSC staff also charged that by the time Williams-Sonoma filed its full report with CPSC regarding the defective shades, seven consumers had reported that children had become entangled on the inner cords of the Pottery Barn Kids Roman shades. Williams-Sonoma ultimately recalled approximately 85,000 of the shades in cooperation with CPSC.

In agreeing to the settlement, Williams Sonoma did not admit to CPSC staff’s charges that its shades contained a defect which could create a substantial product hazard or created an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or that the company failed to notify the Commission in a timely manner, in accordance with the reporting requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Act.

MainStory: TopStory SettlementAgreementsNews CPSCNewsStory ChildrensProductsNews

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