On April 21 the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) filed a complaint in the District Court in the Northern District of Texas against Michaels Stores alleging Michaels failed to timely notify the CPSC of a possible defect in glass vases it imported and sold. In particular the complaint asserts that Michaels: 1) knowingly failed to timely report the defect to the CPSC; and 2) knowingly misrepresented material information to the CPSC by failing to identify itself as the importer or manufacturer of the vases and thus evading recall responsibilities. The complaint seeks an assessment of civil penalties and injunctive relief compelling Michaels to implement a compliance program designed to ensure that it timely reports any potential product defects to the CPSC.
With the CPSC’s ability to impose up to $15 million dollars in civil penalties, this will be an interesting case to watch. A copy of the complaint can be found here.