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Tropitone Fined $750,000 for Delay in Reporting Patio Furniture Defects that Injured Consumers, and Delay in Reporting Lawsuits

Release Date: January 17, 2001

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Tropitone Furniture Co. Inc., of Irvine, Calif., has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $750,000 to settle allegations that it violated the Consumer Product Safety Act by failing to report to CPSC in a timely manner defects associated with six models of its chaise lounge chairs. Tropitone reported to CPSC nearly 9 years after it first became aware of injuries from the chairs. The penalty also settles allegations that Tropitone violated the Act when it failed to timely report settlements of 30 lawsuits alleging injury to consumers from the chairs.

From June 1988 until March 1997, when the firm first reported to CPSC, Tropitone received more than 150 reports of injuries resulting from the use of these chaise lounge chairs. The chairs, manufactured from 1985 to 1992, have nylon ratchets supporting the adjustable headrest. The ratchets can break, causing the headrest to forcefully collapse. Consumers who reached behind the headrest to adjust its height suffered injuries when the ratchets failed and the headrest collapsed in a 'scissoring action' on their fingers. CPSC and Tropitone now have reports of 167 injuries from headrest collapse, including multiple fingertip or partial finger amputations; severe finger lacerations; fractured, crushed, and pinched fingers; back injury; and a skull fracture.

In agreeing to settle this matter, Tropitone denies that it violated the Consumer Product Safety Act, or any other laws administered by the CPSC.

In cooperation with CPSC, Tropitone voluntarily recalled 53,200 chaise lounge chairs with nylon ratchet assemblies in 1997. The chaise lounge chairs subject to the recall are: Tropikai Model 935 (including 935HYA); Cotillion Model 4032; Verrazano Model 4332; Seychelle Model 4432; Colony Model 4932; and Cayman Model 5932. Consumers should stop using the chaise lounge chairs immediately. To participate in the recall, call Tropitone toll-free at (800) 654-7000 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday.

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. 

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