A federal judge granted a default judgement and a permanent injunction (pdf) ordering Brooklyn Sleep Products Inc., of Brooklyn, N.Y., and its president Francisco Chavez, to stop manufacturing, importing, renovating and selling mattresses until they provide evidence that their mattresses comply with federal flammability laws.
Additionally, United States District Judge Roslynn R. Mauskopf of the Eastern District of New York ordered Brooklyn Sleep Products and Chavez to recall all mattresses, mattress sets or mattress pads sold to consumers that failed federal flammability tests. If the firm fails to comply with the judge's order, it can face fines of $1,000 per day.
The judgment is a victory for the safety of consumers and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which filed suit against Brooklyn Sleep Products and Chavez after discovering that the firm was selling mattresses that did not comply with the the Flammable Fabrics Act (FFA) and the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA). The firm committed violations even after it had been preliminarily enjoined from selling violative mattresses.
In 2008, CPSC conducted inspections and collected mattress samples at Brooklyn Sleep Products' facility in Brooklyn, N.Y., and at retail stores selling the firm's mattresses in Fall River, Mass., and Providence, R.I. CPSC collected a non-compliant mattress made by Brooklyn Sleep products at a Newark N.J. store in 2010. The mattresses failed flammability tests conducted by CPSC for open flames.
Chavez admitted to CPSC inspectors that neither he nor Brooklyn Sleep Products tested their mattresses and mattress sets as required by law.
Chavez failed to respond to numerous court filings against him.
In September 2008, January 2009 and again in March 2010, CPSC requested that Brooklyn Sleep Products stop selling and distributing mattresses that failed comply with federal laws. But the firm continued to manufacture, renovate, sell, offer for sale and introduce into commerce mattresses in violation of the federal mattress flammability requirements putting consumers at risk.
Mattresses and mattress sets sold in the United States are required to comply with federal mattress flammability requirements including for open flame and for cigarette ignition. CPSC estimates there was an annual average of more than 300 deaths associated with mattress fires from 2006 through 2008. The intent of the mandatory standards is to slow the spread of a mattress fire to give consumers more escape time.
The U.S. Attorneys Office in the Eastern District of New York and the Office of Consumer Protection Litigation in the Justice Department prosecuted the case on behalf of CPSC.