Things have been very busy at the CPSC – the largest civil penalty since the passage of the CPSIA was announced, the president of an import company was sentenced to jail by a federal judge for violations of consumer product safety laws, and two new commissioners have been confirmed. Details on all three issues are below.

I. $3.9 Million Civil Penalty

The CPSC announced a $3.9 million civil penalty against Ross Stores, Inc., for failing to report that it sold or held for sale approximately 23,000 children’s upper outerwear garments with drawstrings at the neck or waist. According to the CPSC’s press release announcing the penalty:

Ross’s distribution of some children’s garments occurred during the same period of time as CPSC’s investigation and negotiation of a 2009 civil penalty. The $500,000 penalty that Ross paid in 2009 was to settle staff charges that it failed to report four series of children’s upper outerwear drawstring garments distributed between 2006 and 2008. Ross’s distribution of the other garments in this matter occurred either partially or entirely after the effective date of CPSC’s Final Rule. There have been no reported injuries associated with the recalled garments.

The complete press release is available at: Civil Penalty Press Release.

II. Imprisonment of CEO

The president of LM Import-Export was sentenced to 22 months in federal prison and fined $10,000 for importing banned children’s products from China after pleading guilty to “conspiracy to traffic and smuggle in banned children’s products that contained lead and small parts.” The complete press release is available at: Imprisonment Press Release.

III. New Commissioners

On June 27, 2013, the U.S. Senate confirmed Marietta Robinson, a Democrat trial attorney, and Ann Marie Buerkle, a former Republican congresswoman, as CPSC commissioners. These confirmations will bring the CPSC back up to its full five commissioners. Commissioner Nord, a Republican, will leave the Commission in October after the one-year extension of her term expires. In addition, Chairman Tenenbaum has announced that she will not seek another term after her term ends in October. Thus, President Obama will have the opportunity to nominate at least two more commissioners before he leaves office.