A federal complaint claims that Michael's craft stores knowingly violated the law when it failed to disclose the hazards of one of the products it imported.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Department of Justice filed a complaint against the craft giant for failing to report the safety hazards of a glass vase that reportedly shattered in consumers' hands.
The complaint alleges that Michael's imported and sold the vases, which caused serious injuries to consumers, including cuts requiring stitches, permanent nerve damage, and surgery to repair severed tendons.
The vases were sold in Michael's stores from 2006 to 2010. The company began receiving complaints in 2007 and lasted for two years until they were finally recalled in September 2010.
According to the complaint, the vases pose a safety hazard because their walls are too thin to withstand the pressure of normal handing and, as a result, they shatter.
By law, the companies are required to report within 24 hours to the CPSC any issues that could be considered a severe safety risk.
The complaint also alleges that when the company finally notified the CPSC, it did so in a way that conveyed the false impression that Michaels did not import the vases, allowing the company to avoid legal responsibility for the recall as well as any obligation to pay any associated costs and expenses.
"We believe that Michaels chose to profit from selling defective vases that put people at risk, instead of following the law and immediately reporting that their vases were shattering and causing great harm to consumers," said CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye.