The El Segundo-based toymaker agreed to pony up $2.3 million in civil penalties for violating a federal lead paint ban that resulted in a massive recall of its Chinese-made products. The Consumer Product Safety Commission said the fine was the third largest in history. But while agreeing to the penalty, Mattel and its Fisher-Price division denied violating any laws. From CNNMoney.com:
The agency said the penalty settles allegations that Mattel imported up to 900,000 non-compliant toys between September 2006 and August 2007, including the Sarge toy car from the movie "Cars" and numerous Barbie accessory toys. Fisher-Price imported up to 1.1 million non-compliant toys between July 2006 and August 2007, including certain licensed character toys, the agency said.
Late last year I wrote a piece for Los Angeles magazine on how Mattel managed to finesse its PR and legal headaches connected with the recall (mostly it was by hiring lobbyists and keeping quiet). Here's the link.