The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently accused four California companies and six individuals of importing into the United States “illegal children’s products containing, among other things, lead, phthalates and small parts inappropriate for children under age three.” United States v. Toys Distrib. Inc., No. 14-1364 (U.S. Dist. Ct., C.D. Cal., filed February 24, 2014). Filed at the request of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the action follows an investigation of motorized and “pull-back” toy cars, toy musical instruments, dolls, and other toys that allegedly violate the Consumer Product Safety Act and Federal Hazardous Substances Act. Because the defendants’operations were allegedly associated with each other and “the companies share various personal or professional ties,” DOJ claims that joining the conduct in a single lawsuit is appropriate.
Three of the companies and two individuals have apparently agreed to settle the litigation under a consent decree of permanent injunction that will enjoin them from committing statutory violations. According to DOJ Civil Division Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery, “Companies cannot be allowed to import hazardous toys into the United States. Parents have a right to feel confident that the toys their children play with are safe.” See DOJ News Release, February 24, 2014.