$390,000 Settlement in Broken Office Chairs Case

Raynor Marketing, Ltd. has agreed to pay the civil penalty in a settlement with the Consumer Product Safety Commission while denying any violation or that the chairs are contain a hazardous defect.

Raynor Marketing, Ltd. of West Hempstead, N.Y., has agreed to pay a $390,000 civil penalty to settle a case filed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission involving office chairs. The case involved about 150,000 chairs imported and distributed by the company between May 2006 and March 2009 under the brand names Quantum Realspace PROTM 9000 Series Mid-Back Multifunction Mesh Chair and Multifunction Mesh Chair with Headrest, which were sold through Office Depot locations nationwide and online for $300 to $350, according to the commission's Federal Register notice.

The commission's staff allege the chairs are defective because the bolts attaching the seat back to the base can loosen and detach, posing a fall and injury hazard to consumers. Raynor allegedly received its first report of an incident involving a broken chair in December 2007 and by August 2008 knew of approximately 16 such reports, at least four of which injured users, but did not report them until April 2009. By then, Raynor was aware of at least 28 reports that had injured at least eight people, according to the commission. Its notice says the chairs were recalled in October 2009.

Raynor denies that the chairs contain a defect which could create a substantial product hazard or create an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, and denies violating the reporting requirements of Section 15(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. 2064(b).

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