Photo of Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson

Sarah L. Wilson is a litigation partner and former federal judge whose practice focuses on litigation and investigations. Ms. Wilson chairs the firm’s Product Safety Practice Group. She advises products manufacturers on product safety laws, and has represented the world’s largest automotive and consumer product companies in recall and post-recall investigations and disputes. She has handled a broad range of civil and criminal disputes, including consumer protection and product liability disputes, False Claims Act litigation, environmental and natural resources litigation, insurance litigation, pharmaceutical and consumer product company investigations, and arbitration.

Congress, the media, and the public have given significant attention to remarks this week by a commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) indicating that the agency would be considering a federal ban on gas stoves due to their health effects.  The suggestion of a ban on gas stoves has drawn comments from bipartisan policymakers in both chambers, and even the White House has weighed in against the prospect of a potential ban.

The CPSC is unlikely to ban gas stoves in the near future, although it has the authority to ban unreasonably dangerous products that cannot be made safe, and has done so with toxic substances in children’s products and other product categories in the past.   A CPSC rulemaking on mandatory safety standards for gas stoves, however, is a possibility, and that process may drive the establishment of voluntary industry standards by a standards-setting body.  Additionally, other federal and state regulators have recently sharpened their focus on indoor air quality and gas-powered appliances, for both health and environmental reasons.  The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), for instance, is undertaking several activities related to indoor air quality.  And the California Air Resources Board (“CARB”) recently adopted a plan that would effectively prohibit the sale of gas-powered space and water heaters in California by 2030.

Particularly with regard to federal regulatory activity on gas stoves and other gas-powered appliances, potentially affected parties will have ample opportunities to help shape the outcome of any mandatory or voluntary product standards put in place or accepted by the CPSC, and to engage with other regulators.  This alert provides an overview of recent and emerging legislative and regulatory activity related to indoor air pollution, focusing particularly on activity by the CPSC and EPA.  Companies—both those with interests in gas stoves and those concerned with indoor air quality issues more broadly—should carefully follow indoor air quality developments, including in their interactions with regulators, given the increased focus on this area.Continue Reading A Growing Focus on Indoor Air Quality by Regulators and Policymakers

On October 4, the U.S. Department of Transportation published Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0 (“AV 3.0”), a policy vision statement that embraces automation as a critical tool to improve motor vehicle safety. AV 3.0 identifies several avenues to remove regulatory barriers to Autonomous Driving Systems (“ADS”), including potential changes to rules that may stand in the way of driverless vehicles. These changes are of interest to automotive manufacturers, parts and systems suppliers, and technology companies.
Continue Reading IoT Update: DOT Publishes Policy Statement on Automated Vehicles