The CPSC recently filed an administrative complaints against two manufacturers and distributors of magnet desk sets/ novelty items that are marketed and intend for adults. This is only the second time administrative complaints have been filed by the CPSC in over a decade. According to a recent article, “the suits are so rare that the agency will have to borrow an administrative law judge from another agency to oversee them.” And in case the administrative complaints were not enough, the CPSC staff issued a recommendation that the CPSC ban the products, similar to the 1998 ban of lawn darts.

According to the Commission, there have been several allegations of children accidentally ingesting the adult-targeted product, which may lead to severe injuries. The suits comes after a March 2010 recall of one of the products for similar issues. Around the time of the recall, the company changed its packaging, warnings, instructions, and labeling on the products to explicitly state “Keep Away from Children.” Despite the changes made, the CPSC alleges that a substantial risk of injury to the public still exists, and that ingestion incidents continue to occur. The CPSC has already contacted a number of retailers and sellers of the products, many of whom have agreed to stop selling the products at issue as well as other similar products manufactured by other companies.

Maxfield, the target of the first administrative complaint, is fighting back, shouting from its website: “CPSC: Thank you for trying to drive a $50 million New York-based consumer product company out of business.” (emphasis in original). Maxfield states that its products are not defective and that by claiming that warnings never work, the CPSC is calling into question its enforcement of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.

Voluntary Recalls Announced by the CPSC in July 2012

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Civil Penalties Announced by the CPSC in July 2012

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