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Section of Litigation Roundtable - The CPSC's Publicly Searchable Database

April 11, 2013 • Washington, DC


The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) required the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to create a publicly searchable database to allow consumers to search for safety information about products before or after purchasing them, and to help the commission in identifying potential hazards. The database went live in March 2011. Since then, thousands of reports have poured in, been responded to and been published. There has also been significant "Company Doe" litigation to prevent a particular report from being published, implicating two interesting and intertwined issues: judicial challenges to the publication of reports in the commission’s database; and the ability of manufacturers to seal court files and remain anonymous in the process. This roundtable will discuss the origin and workings of the database, the Company Doe litigation and future concerns with the database. The roundtable features former CPSC General Counsel Cheryl Falvey and Attorney Scott Michelman of the Public Citizen Litigation Group, one of the intervening parties in the Company Doe litigation. The roundtable will be moderated by Josh Johanningmeier.

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