The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that a Wisconsin-based tree stand manufacturer has agreed to pay (pdf) the government a $420,000 civil penalty. The penalty settles a government lawsuit alleging that Ardisam Inc, of Cumberland, Wis., failed to immediately report to the CPSC serious injuries to hunters with its Big Foot and Lite Foot series hunting tree stands. In July 2004, 78,000 of these tree stands were recalled by the company.
The lawsuit against Ardisam alleged that the company received reports of incidents beginning in April 2000, involving tree stands that unexpectedly detached from trees. These incidents resulted in broken bones or other serious injuries to hunters. The lawsuit alleged that Ardisam failed to immediately report this information to the CPSC as required by federal law. The lawsuit alleged Ardisam eventually reported to the CPSC in May 2004.
"The law is clear – companies must immediately tell CPSC about products that could pose a substantial risk or create an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death" said CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. "The quicker a company tells CPSC about a dangerous product, the quicker we can work to protect the health and safety of consumers."
Under the Consumer Product Safety Act, manufacturers, distributors and retailers are required to immediately report to the CPSC information about products that could create a substantial risk of injury or that create an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death.
In resolving the lawsuit, Ardisam denied the allegations that it violated federal law or failed to immediately report to the CPSC.
The Office of Consumer Litigation of the U.S. Department of Justice brought this case before the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin on behalf of the CPSC.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product 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 deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.
Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.
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