Department of Justice Sues Michaels Stores for Failing to Report Product Defect
Glass vases sold in Michaels stores between 2006 and 2010 caused serious injuries to some of those who purchased them, in addition to some who just picked up the item while browsing in the store.
Now the company is facing legal ramifications as the Department of Justice and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have jointly filed a lawsuit against Michaels Stores Inc. and its subsidiary Michaels Stores Procurement Co. Inc., alleging the company failed to report the vase's laceration hazard.
“Michaels allegedly failed to report critical information about the safety of one of its products,” Benjamin C. Mizer, principal deputy assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said. “The Department of Justice will continue to protect the public against companies that put profits over safety.”
The vases' walls were too thin to withstand normal handling, and therefore shattered in consumers' hands, causing lacerations requiring stitches, permanent nerve damage and surgery to repair severed tendons, according to the complaint. Michaels allegedly received complaints over the course of two years, beginning in 2007. The federal complaint described nine incidents occurring prior to Michaels reporting the danger of the vases. Many more have allegedly occurred since then.
Oct. 19, 2007: A consumer reported a vase shattering in her hand, causing injuries that required surgery to repair tendon and nerve damage, and resulted in permanent impairment of her left thumb. An expert report in that case compared the thinnest part of the vase to the thickness of a light bulb and deemed it "unreasonably dangerous for its normal use."
Feb. 22, 2009: A vase shattered injuring the customer who was checking out at the register. An employee documented the incident in a injury report.
March 13, 2009: A consumer lacerated her thumb while shopping. The injury report indicated, "customer grasped vase and vase broke in middle. Poorly made—thin glass in middle of vase."