The Department of Justice and the Consumer Product Safety Commission recently jointly announced that Black & Decker had agreed to pay a $1.575 million penalty. The penalty was to settle allegations that Black & Decker had knowingly violated the reporting requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Act. The Consumer Product Safety Act requires companies to inform the Consumer Product Safety Commission immediately once they become aware of a safety problem with a product.
The complaint related to cordless lawnmowers that were manufactured and sold by Black & Decker from 1995 to 2006. According to the complaint, as early as November 1998 Black & Decker became aware that the lawnmowers continued to run even after a user released the lawnmower’s handle and removed the safety key. Another defect was also reported related to the mowers – that they sometimes unexpectedly started.
Between 1998 and 2009, Black & Decker received more than 100 complaints about the mowers. Many of these complaints related to the lawnmower spontaneously starting or continuing to run, resulting in injury. In one case, the lawnmower continued to run for several hours while the consumer was treated in an emergency room for hand injuries, and even ran after fire department personnel arrived and removed the blade.
Hiding safety problems with its products is nothing new for many companies. They often do not want to issue a recall, because of the expense and publicity involved. If a company does manufacture a product that is unsafe, and that product harms a consumer, the company is liable for all damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. To learn more, call the Houston defective product attorneys at Kennedy Hodges at 855-947-0707.