A company that fought to conceal its identity in a lawsuit against the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has disclosed its identity – Ergobaby, a leading manufacturer of baby carriers.
Ergobaby brought a lawsuit under the pseudonym “Company Doe” against the CPSC, but disclosed its identity on Thursday, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit said the trial judge had improperly allowed the company to conceal its name from the public, National Law Journal reports. The company was fighting to keep a CPSC product safety report secret and had filed suit against the agency under the pseudonym.
The judge in Maryland, where the suit was filed, is expected to make documents in the case public within a few days. Consumer advocates urged the court to identify the company and to unseal documents. Ergobaby sought to keep the CPSC from publishing an incident report on saferproducts.gov about the death of an infant. The disputed report blamed Ergobaby’s carrier for the death, but an attorney for the company said the litigation reveals that the report about the infant’s death was inaccurate, according to National Law Journal.
The CPSC is charged with “protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction,” according to its web site. The risks include fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard, and the agency says its work has “contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.”
The consumer advocacy group Public Citizen had challenged the sealing of the court records, National Law Journal reports. An attorney for Public Citizen said the organization is pleased about the impending release of the documents. “If companies like Ergobaby are able to litigate in secret,” he said, “the Consumer Product Safety Information Database would be undermined.”