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Product Safety and Liability

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Essay title: Product Safety and Liability

Product Safety and Litigation

In a world that is full of eager consumers ready and willing to find some new way to make the easy buck, litigations involving product safety issues are no stranger to this model. Although it may seem in some instances that consumers are merely ‘playing a dramatic role’ in order to bring in some extra money, some cases can be clearly traced to management and the poor decisions made in the process. These particular cases where management has made detrimental decisions that have inevitably come back to bite them are going to be the primary topic of research. There are those cases where the blame has been labeled as mismanagement when it was clearly a display of ‘impeccable acting’; however, those situations will not be under the spotlight for discussion.

The main issue, or rather litigation case, that is going to be discussed in its entirety involves a lawsuit against Wal-Mart after several injuries occurred in not only its stores but also its Sam’s Club warehouses as well. These injuries that were inflicted on several consumers involved a set of work-out machines that unfortunately caused damage to the consumers by breaking and falling apart while in use. The main issue at hand here is not only the product safety, but more importantly the mismanagement that occurred as a result of these ‘accidents’. Wal-Mart and the manufacturers of the work-out machines, Ikon, found themselves in an unfortunate lawsuit by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, CPSC. The direct issue that overrides all others, in particular the product defects, is that neither Wal-Mart or Ikon informed CPSC of these incidences which raised increased concerns about Wal-Mart’s management philosophy. The failure to inform CPSC of these accidents that occurred within Wal-Mart’s stores proved to be turning point in the following litigation that occurred. Wal-Mart failed to abide by the rules that were clearly set forth by CPSC, which stated, in summary, that all product defects and injuries must be reported so that the appropriate corrective measures can be performed.

Since Wal-Mart failed to abide by the clearly defined policies set forth by CPSC, a penalty was issued on both Wal-Mart and Ikon for their actions. This is clearly a major drawback of the management of both Wal-Mart and Ikon, for they were knowingly stepping outside of the boundaries of the CPSC. Moreover, Wal-Mart representatives stated that these injuries caused by the work-out stations were the customers fault. That is yet another problem with the management’s values, in that they were not willing to simply take the blame for their inadequacies. The managerial values of Wal-Mart and Ikon proved to be lacking because they didn’t report the injuries of the defective products and they didn’t realize a fault of their own when this issue was investigated.

Wal-Mart’s failure to effectively report its product defects not only damaged its reputation as a corporation but also that of Ikon, the manufacturer of the products. The concept of managerial values over all should entail the philosophy to protect consumers from harmful occurrences and not the opposite which would be to make a profit no matter what it takes. Wal-Mart was simply looking out for themselves and more importantly the management of Wal-Mart failed in their duties because they were more focused on the company’s profit rather than the consumer. In the end, however, Wal-Mart found that this philosophy cannot go without punishment and this punishment is rightly due.

Q & A:

1. What are some reasonable

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