United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Nov 21, 2019

§ 2073.
Additional enforcement of product safety rules and section 2064 orders
(a)
In general

Any interested person (including any individual or nonprofit, business, or other entity) may bring an action in any United States district court for the district in which the defendant is found or transacts business to enforce a consumer product safety rule or an order under section 2064 of this title, and to obtain appropriate injunctive relief. Not less than thirty days prior to the commencement of such action, such interested person shall give notice by registered mail to the Commission, to the Attorney General, and to the person against whom such action is directed. Such notice shall state the nature of the alleged violation of any such standard or order, the relief to be requested, and the court in which the action will be brought. No separate suit shall be brought under this section if at the time the suit is brought the same alleged violation is the subject of a pending civil or criminal action by the United States under this chapter. In any action under this section the court may in the interest of justice award the costs of suit, including reasonable attorneys’ fees (determined in accordance with section 2060(f) of this title) and reasonable expert witnesses’ fees.

(b)
State Attorney General enforcement
(1)
Right of action

Except as provided in paragraph (5), the attorney general of a State, or other authorized State officer, alleging a violation of section 2068(a)(1), (2), (5), (6), (7), (9), or (12) of this title that affects or may affect such State or its residents may bring an action on behalf of the residents of the State in any United States district court for the district in which the defendant is found or transacts business to obtain appropriate injunctive relief.

(2)
Initiation of civil action
(A)
Notice to Commission required in all cases

A State shall provide written notice to the Commission regarding any civil action under paragraph (1). Except when proceeding under subparagraph (C), the State shall provide the notice at least 30 days before the date on which the State intends to initiate the civil action by filing a complaint.

(B)
Filing of complaint
A State may initiate the civil action by filing a complaint—
(i)
at any time after the date on which the 30-day period ends; or
(ii)
earlier than such date if the Commission consents to an earlier initiation of the civil action by the State.
(C)
Actions involving substantial product hazard

Notwithstanding subparagraph (B), a State may initiate a civil action under paragraph (1) by filing a complaint immediately after notifying the Commission of the State’s determination that such immediate action is necessary to protect the residents of the State from a substantial product hazard (as defined in section 2064(a) of this title).

(D)
Form of notice

The written notice required by this paragraph may be provided by electronic mail, facsimile machine, or any other means of communication accepted by the Commission.

(E)
Copy of complaint

A State shall provide a copy of the complaint to the Commission upon filing the complaint or as soon as possible thereafter.

(3)
Intervention by the Commission
The Commission may intervene in such civil action and upon intervening—
(A)
be heard on all matters arising in such civil action; and
(B)
file petitions for appeal of a decision in such civil action.
(4)
Construction
(A)
to prevent the attorney general of a State, or other authorized State officer, from exercising the powers conferred on the attorney general, or other authorized State officer, by the laws of such State; or
(B)
to prohibit the attorney general of a State, or other authorized State officer, from proceeding in State or Federal court on the basis of an alleged violation of any civil or criminal statute of that State.
(5)
Limitation

No separate suit shall be brought under this subsection (other than a suit alleging a violation of paragraph (1) or (2) of section 2068(a) of this title) if, at the time the suit is brought, the same alleged violation is the subject of a pending civil or criminal action by the United States under this chapter.

(6)
Restrictions on private counsel
If private counsel is retained to assist in any civil action under paragraph (1), the private counsel retained to assist the State may not—
(A)
share with participants in other private civil actions that arise out of the same operative facts any information that is—
(i)
subject to attorney-client or work product privilege; and
(ii)
was obtained during discovery in the action under paragraph (1); or
(B)
use any information that is subject to attorney-client or work product privilege that was obtained while assisting the State in the action under paragraph (1) in any other private civil actions that arise out of the same operative facts.
(Pub. L. 92–573, § 24, Oct. 27, 1972, 86 Stat. 1226; Pub. L. 94–284, § 10(d), May 11, 1976, 90 Stat. 507; Pub. L. 97–35, title XII, § 1211(a), (h)(3)(C), Aug. 13, 1981, 95 Stat. 721, 723; Pub. L. 110–314, title II, § 218(a), Aug. 14, 2008, 122 Stat. 3060.)
cite as: 15 USC 2073