The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Henry Gordy International, Inc. (Henry Gordy), of Plainfield, N.J., has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $1,100,000. The penalty agreement has been provisionally accepted by the Commission (5–0).
The settlement resolves CPSC staff’s allegations that Henry Gordy knowingly failed to report the safety defect and hazard with the “Auto Fire Target Set” immediately to CPSC, as required by federal law. CPSC staff also alleges that the firm made a material misrepresentation to CPSC staff in the course of staff’s investigation into the target sets.
CPSC staff alleges that Henry Gordy knew on or about May 2006 that the target set was defective and could cause harm but failed to report this to CPSC. CPSC staff alleges that the target set is defective because if a child places the soft, pliable, plastic toy dart into his or her mouth, the toy can be inhaled into the throat and can prevent the child from breathing.
CPSC staff also alleges that Henry Gordy made a material misrepresentation to the staff in the course of the staff’s investigation into the target sets in May 2009 by not reporting all of the information Henry Gordy was then aware of.
In May 2010, Family Dollar Stores, Inc. and CPSC announced the recall of about 1.8 million Auto Fire Target Sets because Henry Gordy refused to conduct the recall. By that time, there were three deaths associated with the target set. Auto Fire Target Sets were sold exclusively by Family Dollar between September 2005 and January 2009 for about $1.50 each. Each set came with a toy gun; soft, pliable, plastic toy darts and a small target.
Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors and retailers to report to CPSC immediately (within 24 hours) after obtaining information reasonably supporting the conclusion that a product contains a defect which could create a substantial product hazard, creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or fails to comply with any consumer product safety rule or any other rule, regulation, standard or ban enforced by CPSC.
Companies also must specifically report to CPSC choking incidents involving small balls, latex balloons, marbles, or toys or games containing these items or other small parts. Companies that receive information about children choking on any of these items and, as a result, dying, suffering serious injury, ceasing breathing for any length of time or being treated by a medical professional must report this information to CPSC immediately.
In agreeing to the settlement, Henry Gordy denies CPSC staff allegations as to the existence of a defect or that it knowingly violated the law.
Pursuant to the Consumer Product Safety Act, CPSC must consider the appropriateness of the penalty to the size of the business of the person charged, including how to address undue adverse economic impacts on small businesses.