The Department of Justice recently announced that Gerber Legendary Blades, a division of Fiskars Brands, has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $2.6 million. The penalty is to settle allegations that the company failed to immediately report safety hazards associated with its Fiskars' Gator Combo Axe to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The Gator Combo Axe was a combination product that had a knife embedded in its handle that was supposed to be secured by two small magnets. However, when the axe was in use, the knife in the handle could and did dislodge, which caused serious injuries to consumers. According to federal officials, the company received numerous reports from consumers who were harmed by the axe. It had an obligation to immediately report problems to the CPSC, but failed to do so. In March 2011, the company announced a voluntary recall of the axe.
Under the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), manufacturers, distributors and retailers are required to report product hazards to the CPSC. If they purposely fail to do so, the company is subject to civil penalties. Federal officials claim that beginning in 2005, and continuing over the next several years, the company received consumer complaints about the loose knife. In some cases, the knife caused lacerations, permanent nerve damage, and surgery.
The company has not admitted that it knowingly violated the CPSA, but is agreeing to settle the case. It's fortunate in this case that more people weren't harmed by the dangerous axe. Many companies will choose to hide dangers posed by their products from federal officials and customers. Companies often choose profits over customer safety, and they can be held liable for their negligence.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective consumer product, call the Houston defective product attorneys at Kennedy Hodges at 713-489-9493. You can also visit ourFacebook page to learn more about us.