Jaime Jackson recently settled a product liability case with an importer when an unsafe product imported from China broke and caused our client’s vision loss.
Many unsafe products manufactured in other countries are brought into the United States and distributed by importers. Often, the foreign manufacturer, (e.g., China), may not be subject to jurisdiction in the U.S. In other words, you may not be able to sue a Chinese manufacturer in a United States court. Or, it is an extremely lengthy and costly process to bring them into court in the U.S.
Fortunately, for American consumers of foreign products, the Consumer Products Safety Commission has long since recognized that products brought into this country may be dangerous. Further, American consumers may be injured by unsafe imported products and left without recourse.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission
There is a long history of governmental regulation that places responsibility for ensuring safe imported products onto the importer. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) Regulations define the responsibilities of importers and states:
“The CPSC recognizes the critical position of importers in protecting consumers from unreasonably hazardous products made abroad and importers are subject to the same responsibilities as manufacturers.
Importers of products are directly responsible for the safety of products they bring into the United States just as if they had manufactured the imported product themselves.
Importers of “consumer products” are deemed the “manufacturer” of the imported product.”
15 U.S.C.2052, Sec. 3(a)(4)
The facts in this case
In this case, the unsafe product was manufactured in China. The product broke and caused a piece of plastic to strike our client in the eye, resulting in loss of vision.
Strategically, we decided to only sue the importer. Under the Consumer Product Safety Act, the importer stands in the shoes of the manufacturer and has the same responsibilities. This means the importer must make sure the products they are importing and selling in the United States are safe.
Often, as was the case here, the importer takes little or no steps to make sure the product is safe. Oftentimes, there is no testing, no hazard analysis, and no review of design specifications. It is also common for there to be no inspection of the manufacturing facility to make sure the product is safe for people to use.
We worked with the client’s neuro-ophthalmologist to gain a full understanding of the extent of our client’s vision loss. We created exhibits to convey to the jury what our client experiences every day from this defective imported product.
The case settled at mediation shortly before trial.
Contact Jaime Jackson Law
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured as a result of a defective product, contact Jaime Jackson Law on 717-519-7254 or through our website jaimejacksonlaw.com.