Gerber Legendary Blades Paying Penalty for Late CPSC Reporting
The $2.6 million penalty involves the March 2011 recall of the Gator Combo Axe, a small hand ax with a 7-inch knife inside its handle.
Gerber Legendary Blades of Portland, Ore., a division of Fiskars Brands Inc., has agreed to pay a $2.6 million civil penalty to settle allegations that it did not immediately report a safety hazard in a product named the Gator Combo Axe to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Dec. 31. DOJ announced that Fiskars has agreed to establish and maintain a compliance program to keep track of information about product safety hazards; this settlement agreement requires judicial approval.
Fiskars imported 103,000 axes from Taiwan through its Gerber Legendary Blades division, and the division voluntarily recalled them in March 2011 after receiving several injury reports, according to CPSC.
"Fiskars received numerous reports from consumers who were harmed by this product," said Joyce R. Branda, acting assistant attorney general for DOJ's Civil Division. "The company had an obligation to immediately report to the CPSC, and it failed to do so. We will take action against those who fail to abide by the law so that our partners at the CPSC can protect consumers from injuries."
The axe had a 7-inch knife embedded in its handle that was supposed to be secured by two small magnets. A complaint filed on behalf of the CPSC in federal court in Oregon alleged that Fiskars became aware as early as 2005 that the knife could and did dislodge from the axe’s handle when the axe was being used to chop, pound, or hammer, causing serious injuries to consumers.
In the settlement, Fiskars has not admitted that it knowingly violated the Consumer Product Safety Act.