The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) announced that Hewlett-Packard (“HP”) has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $425,000. The CPSC had alleged that HP knowingly failed to report immediately to CPSC, as required by federal law, that certain lithium-ion battery packs could overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard to consumers.
CPSC alleged that by September 2007, HP knew of about 22 incidents associated with the lithium-ion battery packs. At least two of these incidents resulted in injuries to consumers. HP also was aware that at least one consumer apparently went to the hospital. HP did not notify the CPSC about the incidents or the study until July 25, 2008. By that time, CPSC staff alleges that the firm was aware of at least 31 incidents involving the lithium-ion battery packs.
Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to report to CPSC immediately (within 24 hours) after obtaining information reasonably supporting the conclusion that a product contains a defect which could create a substantial product hazard, creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or fails to comply with any consumer product safety rule or any other rule, regulation, standard, or ban enforced by CPSC.