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Michaels has agreed to settle a federal complaint for $1.5 million after glass vases injured customers, some of whom needed surgery and stitches.
People who picked up the vases had them shatter in their hands, according to a court filing. The vases were too thin and couldn’t withstand pressure even when handled normally, the Consumer Product Safety Commission previously said.
The case related to how timely Michaels reported the issue to the commission.
“This settlement underscores the importance of reporting product safety issues immediately,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division said in a statement.
Michaels imported the cases from manufacturers in China and sold them in its stores from 2006 to 2010, according to a court filing. But it received numerous complaints that the vases were unsafe and caused serious injuries, the commission said.
The company knew about the issue as early as November 2007, according to a complaint. Michaels knew the vases injured one customer in 2007 and at least four customers in the first half of 2009, according to the Justice Department.
Injuries included permanent nerve damage and surgery to repair severed tendons, according to the commission.
Federal officials alleged the issue should have been reported earlier. The commission’s chairman previously said companies are required to report hazards and risks within 24 hours — not more than a year later.
In agreeing to settle, Michaels Stores has not admitted that it violated the law, according to the Justice Department.
The vases, which involved about 203,000 in the U.S., were recalled in 2010.
Another type of vase sold at the stores from 2008 to 2011 was recalled in 2011 because they also shattered when people picked them up, according to a recall notice. One person had surgery and two needed stitches, the commission reported.
Michaels was contacted for comment.