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SUITS FOR DAMAGES BY PERSONS INJURED SEC. 23. (a) Any person who shall sustain injury by 15 U.S.C. 2072 reason of any knowing (including willful) violation of a consumer product safety rule, or any other rule or order issued by the Commission may sue any person who knowingly (including willfully) violated any such rule or order in any district court of the United States in the district in which the defendant resides or is found or has an agent, subject to the provisions of section 1331 of title 28, United States Code as to the amount in controversy, and shall recover damages sustained, and the cost of suit, including a reasonable attorney's fee, if considered appropriate in the discretion of the court.
(b) The remedies provided for in this section shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any other remedies provided by common law or under Federal or State law.
PRIVATE ENFORCEMENT OF PRODUCT SAFETY RULES AND OF
SECTION 15 ORDERS Sec. 24. Any interested person may bring an action 15 U.S.C. 2078 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 15, 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 Act. In any action under this section, such interested person may elect, by a demand for such relief in his complaint, to recover reasonable attorney's fees, in which case the court shall award the costs of suit, including a reasonable attorney's fee, to the prevailing party.
EFFECT ON PRIVATE REMEDIES
Sec. 25. (a) Compliance with consumer product 15 U.S.C. 2074 safety rules or other rules or orders under this Act shall not relieve any person from liability at common law or under State statutory law to any other person.
(b) The failure of the Commission to take any action or commence a proceeding with respect to the safety of a consumer product shall not be admissible in evidence
in litigation at common law or under State statutory law relating to such consumer product.
(c) Subject to sections 6(a) (2) and 6(b) but notwithstanding section 6(a) (1), (1) any accident or investigation report made under this Act by an officer or employee of the Commission shall be made available to the public in a manner which will not identify any injured person or any person treating him, without the consent of the person so identified, and (2) all reports on research projects, demonstration projects, and other related activities shall be public information.
EFFECT ON STATE STANDARDS
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Sec. 26. (a) Whenever a consumer product safety standard under this Act is in effect and applies to a risk of injury associated with a consumer product, no State or political subdivision of a State shall have any authority either to establish or to continue in effect any provision of a safety standard or regulation which prescribes any requirements as to the performance, composition, contents, design, finish, construction, packaging, or labeling of such product which are designed to deal with the same risk of injury associated with such consumer product, unless such requirements are identical to the requirements of the Federal standard.
(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the Federal Government or the government of any State or political subdivision thereof from establishing a safety requirement applicable to a consumer product for its own use if such requirement imposes a higher standard of performance than that required to comply with the otherwise applicable Federal standard.
(c) Upon application of a State or political subdivision thereof, the Commission may by rule, after notice and opportunity for oral presentation of views, exempt from the provisions of subsection (a) (under such conditions as it may impose) a proposed safety standard or regulation described in such application, where the proposed standard or regulation (1) imposes a higher level of performance than the Federal standard, (2) is required by compelling local conditions, and (3) does not unduly burden interstate commerce.
ADDITIONAL FUNCTIONS OF COMMISSION
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Sec. 27. (a) The Commission may, by one or more of its members or by such agents or agency as it may designate, conduct any hearing or other inquiry necessary or appropriate to its functions anywhere in the United States. A Commissioner who participates in such a hearing or other inquiry shall not be disqualified solely by reason of such participation from subsequently participating in a decision of the Commission in the same matter. The Commission shall publish notice of any proposed hearing in the Federal Register and shall afford a reasonable opportunity for interested persons to present relevant testimony and data. (b) The Commission shall also have the power
(1) to require, by special or general orders, any person to submit in writing such reports and answers to questions as the Commission may prescribe; and such submission shall be made within such reasonable period and under oath or otherwise as the Commission may determine;
(2) to administer oaths;
3) to require by subpena the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of all documentary evidence relating to the execution of its duties;
(4) in any proceeding or investigation to order testimony to be taken by deposition before any person who is designated by the Commission and has the power to administer oaths and, in such instances, to compel testimony and the production of evidence in the same manner as authorized under paragraph (3) of this subsection;
(5) to pay witnesses the same fees and mileage as are paid in like circumstances in the courts of the United States;
(6) to accept gifts and voluntary and uncompensated services, notwithstanding the provisions of section 3679 of the Revised Statutes (31 U.S.C. 665 (b));
(7) to initiate, prosecute, defend, or appeal any court action in the name of the Commission for the purpose of enforcing the laws subject to its jurisdiction, through its own legal representative with the concurrence of the Attorney General or through the Attorney General; and
(8) to delegate any of its functions or powers, other than the power to issue subpenas under paragraph (3), to any officer or employee of the Com
mission. (c) Any United States district court within the jurisdiction of which any inquiry is carried on, may, upon petition by the Commission with the concurrence of the Attorney General or by the Attorney General, in case of refusal to obey a subpena or order of the Commission issued under subsection (b) of this section, issue an order requiring compliance therewith; and any failure to obey the order of the court may be punished by the court as a contempt thereof.
(d) No person shall be subject to civil liability to any person (other than the Commission or the United States) for disclosing information at the request of the Commission.
(e) The Commission may by rule require any manufacturer of consumer products to provide to the Commission such performance and technical data related to performance and safety as may be required to carry out the purposes of this Act, and to give such notification of such performance and technical data at the time of original purchase to prospective purchasers and to the first purchaser of such product for purposes other than resale, as it determines necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act.
(f) For purposes of carrying out this Act, the Commission may purchase any consumer product and it may require any manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of a consumer product to sell the product to the Commission at manufacturer's, distributor's, or retailer's cost.
(g) The Commission is authorized to enter into contracts with governmental entities, private organizations, or individuals for the conduct of activities authorized by this Act.
(h) The Commission may plan, construct, and operate a facility or facilities suitable for research, development, and testing of consumer products in order to carry out this Act.
(i)(1) Each recipient of assistance under this Act pursuant to grants or contracts entered into under other than competitive bidding procedures shall keep such records as the Commission by rule shall prescribe, including records which fully disclose the amount and disposition by such recipient of the proceeds of such assistance, the total cost of the project undertaken in connection with which such assistance is given or used, and the amount of that portion of the cost of the project or undertaking supplied by other sources, and such other records as will facilitate an effective audit.
(2) The Commission and the Comptroller General of the United States, or their duly authorized representatives, shall have access for the purpose of audit and examination to any books, documents, papers, and records of the recipients that are pertinent to the grants or contracts entered into under this Act under other than competitive bidding procedures.
(j) The Commission shall prepare and submit to the President and the Congress on or before October 1 of each year a comprehensive report on the administration of this Act for the preceding fiscal year. Such report shall include
(1) a thorough appraisal, including statistical analyses, estimates, and long-term projections, of the incidence of injury and effects to the population resulting from consumer products, with a breakdown, insofar as practicable, among the various sources of such injury;
(2) a list of consumer product safety rules prescribed or in effect during such year;
(3) an evaluation of the degree of observance of consumer product safety rules, including a list of enforcement actions, court decisions, and compromises of alleged violations, by location and company name;
(4) a summary of outstanding problems confronting the administration of this Act in order of priority;
(5) an analysis and evaluation of public and private consumer product safety research activities;
(6) a list, with a brief statement of the issues, of completed or pending judicial actions under this Act;
(7) the extent to which technical information was disseminated to the scientific and commercial communities and consumer information was made available to the public;
(8) the extent of cooperation between Commission officials and representatives of industry and other interested parties in the implementation of this Act, including a log or summary of meetings held between Commission officials and representatives of industry and other interested parties;
(9) an appraisal of significant actions of State and local governments relating to the responsibilities of the Commission; and
(10) such recommendations for additional legislation as the Commission deems necessary to carry
out the purposes of this Act. (k) (1) Whenever the Commission submits any budget estimate or request to the President or the Office of Management and Budget, it shall concurrently transmit a copy of that estimate or request to the Congress.
(2) Whenever the Commission submits any legislative recommendations, or testimony, or comments on legislation to the President or the Office of Management and Budget, it shall concurrently transmit a copy thereof to the Congress. No officer or agency of the United States shall have any authority to require the Commission to submit its legislative recommendations, or testimony, or comments on legislation, to any officer or agency of the United States for approval, comments, or review, prior to the submission of such recommendations, testimony, or comments to the Congress.
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