An administrative law judge (ALJ) has determined that the former CEO of a company that sold high-power magnet desk toys subject to a hazardous-product proceeding before the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is not required to produce information about his personal finances. In re Maxfield & Oberton Holdings, LLC, CPSC Docket Nos. 12-1, -2, 12-2 (CPSC, order entered March 26, 2014).
Craig Zucker had sought a protective order as to his financial information and that of the now-defunct corporation. He argued that CPSC was “conflating the concepts of the responsible officer doctrine with an attempt to pierce the corporate veil and make Mr. Zucker the alter ego of the company.” CPSC claimed that it needed the information because it would be relevant to a remedy in the case. The ALJ disagreed as to Zucker’s personal information, stating that the law “does not, as alleged, required the undersigned to consider finances when determining an appropriate remedy.… [and] CPSC does not explain how a company’s insufficient funds would create a ‘charge’ for a person wishing to avail themselves of a financially unfeasible remedy.”
Regarding CPSC’s claim that “if the undersigned determines the subject magnets constitute a substantial product hazard, Mr. Zucker should be responsible for any ordered remedy by virtue of the responsible corporate officer doctrine,” the ALJ determined that company-related financial information may be relevant, but that “CPSC has failed to demonstrate how or why financial items related solely to Mr. Zucker should be discoverable.”