The lonesome death of Buckyballs revisited

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has settled its outrageous administrative action against Craig Zucker personally to recover the cost of recalling Buckyballs; Zucker is the co-founder of Maxfield & Oberton, the company that created Buckyballs. Zucker talked about the CPSC action as well as his own lawsuit against the CPSC in Sohrab Ahmari’s August 2013 Wall Street Journal Weekend Interview “What happens when a man takes on the feds” (behind the Journal’s dreaded subscription paywall).

The CPSC settled its action against Zucker for a payment of $375,000 and Zucker’s agreement to dismiss his lawsuit against the CPSC. The settlement agreement is posted online here. I urge interested readers to check it out.

The group Cause of Action took up Zucker’s case and has issued a press release proclaiming victory. Here is the short email version:

With the help of Cause of Action, Craig Zucker fought back against the government, and this settlement is evidence that the government caved under pressure. The CPSC’s actions regarding Craig Zucker are not about consumer safety, they’re about punishing an entrepreneur who dared to speak out against the federal government. The years spent by the CPSC targeting a product that has never been declared unsafe and pursuing overzealous litigation against Craig Zucker are yet another example of a federal agency gambling with taxpayer dollars to test its own power.

If the CPSC’s goal was consumer safety, why is it settling for an amount that covers less than one percent of its original $57 million recall estimate? To get the answer, Cause of Action is continuing to pursue our FOIA litigation against the CPSC to expose an agency that values retaliation against its critics above its own mission to protect consumers. The CPSC’s choice to settle proves that the government’s conduct was worthy of criticism.

In a longer statement Zucker is quoted stating: “At this point, I have spent more on legal fees than I will on the settlement. The law does not support an individual being named in a case like this and I hope that this settlement will discourage the CPSC from wrongfully pursuing individual officers and entrepreneurs again in the future.”

Here’s hoping; the CPSC action represents the tyrannical lawlessness of the administrative state. I may be mistaken, but it seems to me that with this settlement the commission comes away with enough to save face and do it all over again the next time it sees fit.

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