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Judge Rules in Favor of of “Company Doe” Complaint

January 8, 2013

The United states District Court in Maryland recently ruled that the decision by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to disclose a public database complaint made against a manufacturer (identified as "Company Doe") violated the law and was "arbitrary and capricious," siding with the anonymous manufacturer who sued to keep its name out of the Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) federal database of product complaints.

In the lawsuit, the manufacturer argued that a complaint made about its product on SaferProducts.gov was "baseless" and would cause "irreparable harm to its reputation and financial well-being" if the report was posted as written. While Commission staff agreed and corrected the report, the manufacturer argued that the corrections failed to omit the errors.

The court also rejected requests to unseal the matter to make the company name public; therefore, portions of the decision are heavily redacted. Consumer groups and the CPSC have announced that they intend to appeal the court's decision.

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