April 23, 2007

Product Recalls

For over 15 years we have been helping clients conduct consumer product recalls. These are typically conducted under the auspices of the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission), but depending on the product can be conducted by other agencies depending on their jurisdiction. For example off road vehicles fall under CPSC jurisdiction but on road motorcycles fall under National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Still others (watercraft) fall under the Coast Guard jurisdiction. Recall regulations among agencies are similar. Most have both voluntary and mandatory recall procedures but the laws are rather murky when deciding to do a voluntary recall.

A company must also be very careful in deciding when to conduct a recall. We assist with recalls because in most cases these recalls are intertwined with product liability suits that we also defend. The strategy needs to be seamless between the two. There are also many types of notifications and inquiries done by agencies and private lawyers that some times are warning signals for regulatory action against your company. For example, many lawyers will use Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to learn about complaints against your product before notifying your company of a claim. These FOIA requests must be handled in a timely fashion and correctly as they can lead to more serious problems down the road if one does not see the "big picture". FIOA activity has now been greatly expanded with the CPSIA as we noted in this article.

Most companies that try to handle recalls on their own usually end up making mistakes in the execution which later come back to hurt them in a products liability suit. Conducting a recall is a lot more time consuming and expensive than most companies realize. And in the vast majority of cases there is no insurance coverage for all the costs associated with them. If your company is thinking of conducting a recall call us before the applicable agency. It could save you a lot of grief down the road.

Law Offices of Steven W. Hansen | www.swhlaw.com | 562 866 6228
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