Saturday, August 31, 2013

Before you produce a product, watch-out for the CPSC...

In this instance, it seems as if the Consumer Product Safety Commission is nothing but a very big bully...


August 31, 2013, on page A11 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal,
 with the headline: What Happens When a Man Takes on the Feds.

Craig Zucker... the former CEO of Maxfield & Oberton, the small company behind Buckyballs, an office toy that became an Internet sensation in 2009 and went on to sell millions of units before it was banned by the feds last year.

...a vindictive U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission that has set out to punish him for having challenged its regulatory overreach...

..."The commission's saying that because as CEO I did my duty—didn't violate any law, was completely lawful—I am now the manufacturer individually responsible"...Mr. Zucker will have to defend himself in the Maxfield & Oberton recall case to its conclusion at the administrative level before he can challenge the individual-liability holding on appeal.


Kids swallowing more magnets since 2002: study | Reuters


CPSC's Attack On Corporate CEO More Dangerous Than Rare Earth Magnets?

CPSC is trying to warp well-established legal doctrine in its pursuit of Mr. Zucker.  In order to hold him personally liable, CPSC would have the court *both* ignore the corporate form for unprecedented reasons *and* trample the traditional understanding of the responsible corporate officer (RCO) doctrine.  Millar and Biszko note that the former move “rais[es] questions about whether other individuals involved in product safety decisions—especially those who disagree publicly with initial Commission decisions—could face exposure to personal liability if they resist a voluntary recall request.”

This is not a criminal case, and thus doctrines of criminal liability are not applicable

No violation of law has even occurred...

Selling magnets is not a public welfare offense; it is not a clear and obvious offense, but rather a seemingly acceptable commercial activity

Mr. Zucker would be at jeopardy for more than a misdemeanor; although criminal charges are not sought, the recall costs that the agency seeks to force him to pay personally might well exceed the misdemeanor fine level acceptable without a mens rea showing

Mr. Zucker quite obviously did not have the requisite mens rea.  He co-operated with the agency’s initial warning label requests and even obtained a letter from the agency’s general counsel allowing him to continue selling.  At no point did he sell in the face of a final determination that his product posed a ‘substantial product hazard.’ pursuing a goal in this case that could be far more dangerous: an agency freed to rule by whim and able to exceed its statutory mandate with impunity.



CEO Craig Zucker talked to Fox Business News...about Buckyballs' fight to stay in business, and about standing up to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Craig Zucker on Fox News' "Your World with Neil Cavuto"
...CEO Craig Zucker...battle with the CPSC...

...Tennessee Representative Blackburn grill Chairwoman Inez Tenenbaum about the CPSC's actions against Buckyballs.

...CEO Craig Zucker spoke to the CBS This Morning show about...the CPSC.

Craig Zucker debated the Consumer Federation of America's Rachel Weintraub on CNBC...


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