This morning, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued its mandate in the Company Doe case, making its April 16 decision final. The court also denied a late request filed by the consumer groups involved to recover their court costs. The company that successfully challenged the CPSC’s intent to publish an inaccurate report, but was unsuccessful in seeking to keep the misleading report and the company’s identity from being released through its court challenge, has decided not to pursue further appeals. It has revealed its identity as Ergobaby, which makes baby carriers as well as strollers, car seats, and other products.
In a statement issued today (and reprinted in full after the break), Ergobaby explains that the inaccurate report submitted to the CPSC’s online database, saferproducts.gov, involved a sad situation in which an infant choked on a foreign object while the child happened to be in one of its baby carriers. The tie between the tragedy and the baby carrier, according to the company (as well as the federal district court’s decision finding the report inaccurate), was purely coincidental, and it sought to avoid the spread of information that could mislead the public regarding the safety of its products. Ergobaby provides information about the incident, report, and litigation, including a detailed Q & A, on its website.
The district court, in accordance with the Fourth Circuit’s ruling, is expected to soon release an unredacted version of its ruling and unseal other documents filed with the court.
WHY COMPANY DOE WANTED PRIVACY
Parents Should Have Access To Accurate Information
LOS ANGELES, CA — May 8, 2014 — Ergobaby today acknowledged they are Company Doe. In doing so, Ergobaby released a statement saying “We prevailed in court and prevented the publication of a false and misleading report about a tragic event because we knew it would cause undue concern among the families who have trusted the safety of our products for over ten years. We went to court because we believe that the public deserves accurate and useful information from government agencies. No public interest is served by the spread of false and misleading information.” This statement is in response to the U.S. Circuit Court’s ruling in Case Doe to unseal court records on First Amendment grounds, without changing the underlying decision that prevented the publication of an inaccurate incident report by a government agency.
For over a decade, the company has built trust with millions of families who use its baby carriers and the company wants to reassure those families that its products have always been, and continue to be, safe.
After receiving an incident report in 2011 from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that an infant had died while in an Ergobaby carrier, a thorough investigation was conducted. Even after the CPSC’s own expert concluded that the tragedy was caused by choking on a foreign object, the CPSC attempted to publish an inaccurate incident report. The District Court confirmed that the Ergobaby carrier was not related to, or in any way contributed to, this incident and therefore, the report should not be published.
The company’s statement continues, “It was an unfortunate coincidence that the tragedy occurred in our carrier. The experts and the court agreed that the baby choked on a foreign object. As a company and parents ourselves, we grieve for the child and the family involved.”
In making the announcement, Margaret Hardin, CEO of Ergobaby, said, “We truly hope that in reporting this Fourth Circuit ruling, the media will communicate our deep concern about how this misinformation could affect the millions of families who use our carriers. We hope that they will also communicate that the Circuit Court ruling, although ordering the lifting of the seal of the court documents, reaffirmed the District Court ruling that the claim was false and therefore should not be published in the CPSC database. For Ergobaby, safety has always been, and will always be, our top priority and parents should not lose confidence in our carriers based upon one false report. We continue to stand by the facts and the court decision that our carrier was in no way related to this tragic incident.”
CPSC’s saferproducts.gov was created to help the public make safe choices in the products they purchase. The company fully supports that mission. However, it also comes with an obligation to ensure that the public is not exposed to misleading information about products. There are no reports on the CPSC’s saferproducts.gov related to Ergobaby carriers because the carriers always have been, and continue to be, safe.
District Court Judge Alexander Williams understood why Ergobaby sought to seal the court documents. In his decision he wrote, “Although the law favors access to judicial records, the facts of this case overcome this presumption. The challenged report is materially inaccurate.”
If consumers have any questions regarding this news, they can contact Ergobaby Customer Care at 888.416.4888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Founded in 2003, Ergobaby and its award-winning carriers were born out of the desire for mobility and comfort for both parent and baby, allowing parents to carry their baby from birth to toddler. Ergobaby now offers a broad range of innovative baby carriers, strollers, car seats, and related products to help meet the needs of today’s parents and enable an active parenting lifestyle. Ergobaby is headquartered in Los Angeles and is sold in more than 650 retailers and webshops in the United States and internationally in about 50 countries.
For more on Ergobaby, please visit: www.ergobaby.com.