Thompson Hine is a 99-year old law firm with offices in eight different cities. Its products liability lawyers work do work in the aerospace, automotive, chemical, electrical, mechanical, medical device and pharmaceutical areas.
And they are concerned about the implications of Section 212 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which requires the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to implement a publicly accessible, searchable database of consumer product incident reports.
The firm reports that:
[o]n September 10, the CPSC issued its "Report to Congress Pursuant to Section 212 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 – Implementation of a Searchable Consumer Product Safety Incident Database," which outlines the CPSC’s planned rollout of this database. As described below, this database has the potential to have far-reaching business and legal implications for how manufacturers, distributors and retailers of consumer products report and respond to consumer complaints.
The concerns? First, the CPSC’s control of the database "creates the potential for an increased number of, and potentially less efficient, investigations and recalls implemented by the CPSC."
Second, there are concerns on how companies should monitor or use the new site.
Third, "the database will serve as an easily accessible tool for plaintiffs in future litigation to locate potential evidence of "alleged other similar incidents" or evidence to support a punitive damages claim. "
Fourth, "the database will undoubtedly serve as a new resource for an always creative plaintiffs’ bar searching for potential lawsuits. The searchable capacities of the database will enable plaintiffs’ attorneys to search for potential personal injury or consumer claims, as well as to identify potential class actions or mass torts."
Thompson Hine reports that the target deadline for the new public database is March 11, 2011.
Read the entire paper here.