The Department of Justice and the Consumer Product Safety Commission jointly announced that they are filing a complaint against Michaels Stores, the American arts and crafts giant. Michaels has over $4.5 billion in sales and over 50,000 employees.
According to the complaint, Michaels purposely violated the reporting requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Act. Michaels allegedly knew that some of its glass vases were dangerous to consumers. There were reports that the vases would sometimes shatter in the consumers’ hands as they were lifting them from the shelves. The vases caused serious injuries to consumers, including cuts that needed stitches, severed tendons, and permanent nerve damage.
The vases were sold in the stores from 2006 to 2010. The walls of the vases were allegedly too thin to withstand the pressure of being handled. Michaels began receiving numerous complaints about the vases in 2007, but took no action. The vases were finally recalled in 2010.
When Michaels finally did notify the Consumer Product Safety Commission about the dangerous vases, it allegedly did so in a misleading way. Its report gave the impression that Michaels did not import the vases, even though it did. Because of the misrepresentation, Michaels was able to legally avoid the responsibility for the recall, as well as the obligation to pay the costs and expenses of the recall. It took Michaels over a year to report the problem with the vases, and legally companies are required to report product hazards within 24 hours.
Michaels isn’t the first company to attempt to hide problems with its products in order to avoid issuing a recall, and it’s doubtful it will be the last. Recalls are expensive, and provide bad publicity for companies that they usually try to avoid. However, companies have a duty to issue a recall once they become aware of a problem with their products.
If you have been injured by a defective consumer product, call the Houston personal injury attorneys at Kennedy Hodges to schedule your free consultation. You can also reach out to us on Facebook. Call us today to learn more.