Big Win for CPSC in Spectrum Brands Case

The Western District of Wisconsin handed the DOJ and CPSC a big win in it’s penalty case against Spectrum Brands.  This litigation stemmed from a complaint filed against Spectrum alleging that it failed to timely report under Section 15(b) concerns that it received regarding coffee pot handles breaking off from the pot and resulting in injuries to consumers.  It is alleged that Spectrum received over 1600 complaints regarding the coffee pot handles over the course of 4 years.   Spectrum in response to the complaint asserted a number of claims including that: 1) The CPSA’s reporting requirements are vague; 2) The CPSC failed to provide notice that a report was required; 3) the CPSC’s decision that Spectrum reported late was arbitrary and capricious; and 4) Spectrum had no duty to report; 5) the CPSA did not authorize the CPSC to issue non injunctive relief including the establishment of a compliance program.  The Court rejected all of Spectrum’s arguments.  For any company seeking to litigate against the CPSC, this is a must read case.