Vornado Fined $7.5 Million for Failing to Report Lethal Space Heater Safety Defect

fire hazard
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has fined Vornado Air $7.5 million for allegedly failing to report a space heater safety defect that led to a man’s death. According to Consumer Reports, many of the agency’s commissioners said the fine amounted merely to a slap on the wrist for the company. One commissioner said the CPSC “approved a woefully inadequate settlement with Vornado Air regarding some of the most serious charges I have seen during my time as a commissioner.”

Failure to Report Serious Product Defect

The company’s conduct included failing to report a serious fire hazard with its space heaters – and it wasn’t the first time. The commissioner stated that had the firm made a timely report as required under federal law, the gruesome death of a 90-year-old man, a World War II veteran living in an assisted living facility, could have been avoided. The company initially announced the recall of 350,000 of its Vornado VH101 Personal Vortex electric space heaters in April 2018 because they can overheat posing a fire danger. Several incidents of the heaters catching fire had been reported at the time, but no deaths. Four months later, the company announced the recall again after confirming that a 90-year-old Minnesota man died in December 2017 in a fire linked to the recalled space heaters. Federal law requires companies to report dangerous or defective products promptly regardless of whether they have dire consequences. According to the CPSC, portable heaters are involved in about 1,700 fires yearly, resulting in about 80 deaths and 160 injuries annually. Officials said evidence collected by CPSC shows that Vornado knew just how dangerous their product was in 2014 and chose to hide it from the public and the CPSC.

Product Liability Issues

Suppose you or a loved one has been injured by a malfunctioning space heater or any other appliance. In that case, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Families of loved ones can also file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation. An experienced product defect lawyer will be able to advise victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options. Source: https://www.consumerreports.org/lawsuits-settlements/vornado-fine-for-failing-to-report-fatal-space-heater-defect-a7512637926/

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