Silverman Comments on Ruling Unsealing Records in Challenge to Public Listing of Product Hazard

Shook, Hardy & Bacon Public Policy Partner Cary Silverman commented in a National Law Journal news story that “[a] public database of unverified, inaccurate reports not only poses an unwarranted risk to the reputations of responsible businesses, but does a disservice to consumers.” He was responding to news that the Fourth Circuit had ordered the docket unsealed on First Amendment grounds in a case involving a challenge to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s decision to post on the CPSC’s website,, a questionable report involving a product made by a company that the lower court allowed to proceed under the name Company Doe. The lower court ruled that the report was “materially inaccurate” and refused to allow its posting; that decision is unaffected by the Fourth Circuit’s ruling. Silverman represented the National Association of Manufacturers in an amicus brief supporting Company Doe in its effort to keep the litigation, its name and the product at issue secret. Discussing the case with Reuters, Silverman said that the April 16, 2014, ruling “could result in needlessly alarming people about things that are not true, and harming the reputations of businesses. From a policy perspective, it is in the interests of businesses and consumers to make sure that information being released about the safety of products is accurate.”