Illinois Product Liability Law Update: U.S. Sues Michaels Stores Over Shattering Glass Vases

The Consumer Products Safety Commission and the Department of Justice jointly announced their filing of litigation against Michaels Stores Inc. over defective glass vases. The complaint, filed April 21, 2015 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, alleges that the craft store giant knowingly violated the Consumer Product Safety Act’s reporting requirements concerning glass vases both manufactured by and sold by Michaels Stores retail outlets.

According to the Justice Department, Michaels purportedly did not report significant information regarding the safety risks associated with the product. Additionally, when Michaels did provide a report to the CPSC, it neglected to inform the agency that not only did it sell the vases, it also imported them directly, allowing the company to avoid legal responsibility with regard to recalls.

The vases that are the subject of the litigation were made of glass so fragile that they were unable to withstand normal usage without shattering. Consumers reported that the vases would shatter simply upon being held in their hands. Serious injuries followed, with victims requiring stitches to repair skin lacerations, or surgery to reconnect severed tendons. In at least one case, a victim suffered permanent nerve damage. Michaels sold the vases in its stores between 2006 and 2010.

Illinois product liability lawyer John J. Malm has been retained by clients injured by the defective Michaels vases. Attorney John Malm expressed enthusiasm for the joint litigation against Michaels. He advised that an engineering consultant utilized in one of the Michaels cases discovered that the vase in question was constructed of glass thinner than that used in the manufacture of light bulbs. Attorney John Malm encourages consumers who may have purchased glass vases at Michaels to retain their receipts, and to carefully pack and keep vases that may have shattered.

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