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Federal Agency Takes Steps to Keep Companies from Keeping Settlements Secret

Tuesday, January 31, 2017By Richard Alexander

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) can’t do its job if companies hide important information about the lack of safety of their products. That’s why the federal agency has issued a guidance document urging everyone involved in lawsuits to make sure orders and agreements don’t keep it from obtaining information that can help it improve consumer safety.

In early December, the CPSC published the document, trying to take steps to save lives and avoid injuries nationwide. In brief, the agency asks that when judges make orders or when parties reach settlements in products liability cases, they include a provision allowing disclosure of product information to the CPSC.

It’s critical to public safety that companies follow the procedures for reporting matters to the CPSC quickly. If this is not done, more people may be injured or even killed by defective, dangerous products.

Consider the recent problem involving Samsung’s Galaxy Note7 phone. The Wall Street Journal reported that Samsung “fail[ed] at the outset to coordinate efforts with U.S. safety authorities.” Rogue practices like this can result in significant delay at the governmental level, reducing the effectiveness of government agencies in helping to avoid additional, unnecessary injuries and deaths.

Watchdog agencies can also be hampered in their public safety efforts when companies who have been sued convince innocent plaintiffs not to disclose the nature or cause of their injuries to regulating agencies. Unfortunately, this practice is common and dangerous, “[a]s the deadly, growing series of examples [shows]—from Remington rifles to Takata airbags to GM ignition switches.”

Kudos to the CPSC for taking a step in the direction of consumer safety. Hopefully, for most of us, it will not be too little, too late.

A skilled products liability attorney can help you identify potential money damages when you’ve been badly injured by a defective product. For help, contact the California accident lawyers at Alexander Law Group, LLP for a free, no obligation consultation. Call 888.777.1776 to speak with an attorney right now. Delays can harm your case.

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