The Manufacturing Law Blog provides timely commentary on issues of importance to manufacturers and distributors. Contributors from the law firm of Robinson & Cole LLP are corporate compliance and litigation attorney, Jeff White; environmental, health and safety attorney, Pam Elkow; and labor and employment attorney, Nicole Bernabo.
In late June, I had the pleasure of speaking at the American Conference Institute’s 2013 Consumer Products Regulation and Litigation Conference in Chicago. The conference brought together a number of in-house counsel, private practioners, and government officials, including from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
I spoke on a panel entitled: “Warning! Following These Best Practices for Crafting Warning Labels to Mitigate Litigation Risks.” This particular panel was of interest to me because it focused on ways in which manufacturers and distributors can avoid and/or mitigate their litigation risks. Joining me on the panel was a regulatory and safety consultant who had spent decades working for some of the largest manufacturers in the United States and also a consultant that specialized in human factors and product safety.
During my portion of the presentation, I reviewed four common statements by manufacturers regarding warnings and labels that you may want to review with your legal counsel. Obviously, the risks involved with making and/or relying on these statements depend upon the circumstances.
- My company is protected. Our product does not have any design defects.
- If the consumer does not read the warning, my company is not liable.
- My company adequately warned the consumer – the label satisfies industry standards.
- The drafting of a warning label is for my human factors’ personnel to worry about.
I am happy to share a copy of my power point presentation. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a copy.