Lawsuit Against CPSC Could Have Far-Reaching Implications

Posted on October 24, 2012

A lawsuit being brought against the Consumer Product Safety Commission could have far-reaching implications for the consumer safety world.

It all started back in October of last year.  A business known only as Company Doe filed a lawsuit against the CPSC in a bid to prevent that latter organization from publishing a report about an alleged harmful incident involving one of the company’s products.  A local government somewhere in the United States provided the information to the CPSC’s database, which lets medical professionals, firefighters, and regular consumers make reports on items they believe have led to dangerous incidents.

Company Doe took issue with the report filed in conjunction with their company’s product, saying that not only was the report without substance, but that both its revenue and its reputation would be hindered by the report becoming public knowledge.

A judge apparently agreed, and ruled in favor of Company Doe.  However, the Consumer Federation of America, Public Citizen, and Consumer Reports have partnered to appeal the decision to not make available the company’s name and the case as a whole.  A lawyer for the coalition said that this is a matter of First Amendment freedoms and that members of the general public have the right to know why, of all cases, this one was allowed to not be published by the CPSC.

Stay tuned as court proceedings continue in the United States Court of Appeal.

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