Ninth Circuit Confirms That Winning Early Summary Judgment May Be the Ultimate Preemptive Tactic for Beating Class Certification

The Ninth Circuit has confirmed that a lack of summary judgment evidence linking a product to concrete injury may properly halt a would-be class action in its tracks if a defendant preemptively moves for summary judgment before plaintiffs have the chance to move for class certification.

As we explored in an earlier post, the plaintiffs in Browning et al. v. Unilever United States Inc. represented a would-be class alleging that defendant Unilever failed to disclose that its St. Ives facial scrubs caused “micro-tears” of the skin. In early 2019, the United States District Court for the Central District of California granted summary judgment in favor of Unilever. The court held that the plaintiffs failed to establish the alleged micro-tears constituted a safety hazard, and found that causation was lacking because the plaintiffs presented no evidence that St. Ives — and not some “other products or lifestyle” choices — caused the complained-of skin conditions.

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First-Ever Criminal Indictments for Failure to Report a Potential Hazard to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Two individual former corporate officers of Chinese appliance manufacturer Gree Electric Appliances have been criminally indicted in the first-ever criminal prosecution for failure to report under the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA).

The CPSA grants the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) the authority to pursue both civil and criminal penalties for violations of the statutes it enforces. As summarized in a Department of Justice press release, Section 15 of “[t]he Consumer Product Safety Act requires manufacturers, importers, and distributors of consumer products to report ‘immediately’ to the CPSC information that reasonably supports the conclusion that a product contains a defect that could create a substantial product hazard or creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death. This duty also applies to the individual directors, officers, and agents of those companies.”

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