Fiskars Brands Inc. settles CPSC complaint re product liability

Safe and reliable products may not seem like too much to ask for, but defective or dangerous products appear to still grace store shelves in Ohio, putting consumers at risk. Recently, the parent company of Gerber Legendary Blades, Fiskars Brands Inc., forked over millions in fines amid allegations that it did not inform the Consumer Product Safety Commission of a possible defective product in a timely manner. According to the company, the product in question -- an axe -- hit the shelves after company employees tested a few of the axes and concluded that they were safe. Some victims may find that a product liability claim can be an appropriate course of action.

Gerber Legendary Blades manufactured and sold an axe that stored a knife in its handle, which was hollow. Although the knife was supposedly secured by magnets within the handle, customers soon began to report that the knife would easily break free. Although the complaints began in 2005, the axe wasn't recalled until 2011. 

Complaints included one customer who reported that the knife dislodged while he was using the axe and plunged into his wrist. Another customer reported a similar incident when the knife fell out and sliced his wrist. Both of those men suffered nerve damage related to the incident, while the former lost partial use of his hand. Yet another customer contacted the company in 2009 and asked the company to recall the axe, reporting that she too had been injured.

The eventual recall was voluntary, although as part of the settlement with the U.S. Attorney's Office, Fiskars did not acknowledge breaking the law. Nevertheless, this settlement does not appear to preclude the option for injured consumers to pursue compensation for related damages through a product liability claim. Ohio consumers generally have the right to pursue a claims for financial relief for damages in the event that a dangerous, defective or toxic product causes them serious harm or injury.

Source: oregonlive.com, "Fiskars agrees to pay $2.6 million to settle allegations it delayed reporting Gerber ax safety issues", Molly Young, Dec. 31, 2014

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