Monday February 14, 2022
CPSC Files Administrative Complaint to Force Leachco to Recall Podsters
Commissioners February 9 followed through with a threat to launch an administrative suit aimed at forcing a recall by Leachco. Last month (PSL, 1/24/22), the agency urged consumers to stop using the company's infant loungers, asserting they are not safe. It said then that it still was investigating but referred to the company's refusal to conduct a voluntary recall.
A 3-1 vote launched the action to target the company's Podster, Podster Plush, Bummzie and Podster Playtime loungers. The counter vote came from Commissioner Dana Baiocco, who voted to direct staff to collect more data to support the move. She explained:
"[The company's] Pleading that the product is not marketed for sleep, that parents do not use the product as intended and in direction contravention of the warnings, calls into question the legal sufficiency of the Complaint.”
According to the administrative complaint (bit.ly/3gCDsmL), CPSC attributes the deaths of two infants to the products, one in 2015 and one in 2018. It alleges that the products are defective in five ways; allowing rollovers; thick, soft, concave padding; lack of rigid under sides; facilitating other movement on the products; and facilitating movement off them. The complaint also suggests that the design makes the products attractive to caregivers who want to bedshare, but it asserts that it is inappropriate for that use.
When CPSC issued its warning last month, the company pushed back that the products are not intended for sleep and that they bear warnings against use for unsupervised sleep and against placement in beds or cribs.
JPMA and others also opposed the move while Consumer Federation of America and Kids in Danger supported it.
CPSC's press release on the complaint included this statement from Chairman Alexander Hoehn-Saric:
"Filing complaints like this one is a last resort when a manufacturer fails to respond to the type of safety concerns raised in this case, yet in the interest of protecting consumers we were left with no other options."
Meanwhile, the vote sheet (bit.ly/3sxKLS5) had statements from Commissioners Peter Feldman and Rich Trumka attached. Their remarks included:
Feldman: "I have long advocated that the Commission use its full complement of resources to protect American consumers. In my view, if a matter is serious enough for the Commission to issue a Health and Safety Finding to truncate the 6(b) process, it may be necessary to pair such public warnings with administrative litigation, as we have done here."
Trumka: "There is a reasonable basis to believe that CPSC staff can prove that the loungers present a substantial product hazard. Today's suit should be a signal that this Commission is serious about protecting consumers. When companies refuse to recall products deemed deadly by CPSC staff, they should expect an administrative complaint to quickly follow."
CPSC also has open cases to compel recalls by Amazon (CO detectors, children's sleepwear, and hair dryers) and by thyssenkrupp Access (residential elevators).