Fiskar Axes

Despite best efforts by organizations like the International Product Safety and Liability Prevention Association to help manufacturers build safe products and avoid recalls, defective and/or dangerous products are the cause of thousands of injuries each year in the U.S. Product liability attorneys at the Berkowitz and Hanna LLC  will attest that manufacturers often have to bear the brunt of a hefty monetary settlement in court, not to mention the potential loss of consumer confidence and future revenue.

In a recent case reported by The Oregonian, Fiskars Brands Inc. agreed to pay $2.6M to settle allegations that safety regulators were not promptly alerted about a hazardous product defect. The Oregon-based Gerber Legendary Blades, a subsidiary of Fiskars Brands Inc., received complaints within months of releasing the Gator Combo Axe in 2005.

Some customers allegedly suffered serious permanent nerve damage to their hands and wrists when the knife, secured by magnets and located inside the axe’s handle, slipped out from the handle and injured them. Customers alerted the company and requested that the product be immediately recalled. Gerber waited 5 years to report the product’s potential hazardous defect to the Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission and later issued a voluntary recall, offering customers a cap for the axe’s handle.

Berkowitz and Hanna LLC notes that the delay resulted in an $2.6M penalty settlement which is awaiting court approval. The parent company, Fiskars, also agreed to set up a corporate program to track product safety hazards.

Note: Berkowitz and Hanna LLC did not represent any of the parties in this case.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons