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Matthew R. Howsare

Member / Chair, Consumer Product Safety

[email protected]

+1.202.434.7446

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Matt is a prominent consumer product safety lawyer who advises manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, trade associations, and test laboratories. He has extensive experience with compliance, regulatory enforcement, recalls, and other product safety related issues. He represents clients before the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Health Canada, the Federal Trade Commission, Congress, and state agencies. Matt draws on his four-year tenure as the CPSC chief of staff and his many years advising clients in private practice to devise practical and resourceful solutions for clients. He serves as Co-chair of Mintz’s Consumer Product Safety Practice and president-elect of the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO).

Based in Washington, DC, Matt is the Co-chair of the firm’s Consumer Product Safety Practice. He focuses his practice on consumer product compliance and enforcement issues involving the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), individual US states, the Federal Trade Commission, and Health Canada.

Matt previously served as the Chief of Staff of the CPSC from 2010 to 2013 and as the Chairman’s Senior Counsel in 2009. Matt is very involved in the national and international product safety community and currently serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO).

Matt regularly helps companies seeking representation on product safety reporting obligations, recalls, regulatory compliance, product safety investigations, civil penalties, import investigations, internal compliance programs and training, the CPSC’s public database, and other regulatory and enforcement matters involving the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA), Flammable Fabrics Act (FFA), Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PPPA), the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCSPA), and other federal and state product safety laws. He assists clients with navigating complex product safety compliance issues and avoiding unwarranted recalls or enforcement actions.

Matt’s experience includes representing manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of apparel, children’s toys, fitness equipment, office supplies, household furniture, juvenile products, power tools, products requiring child resistant packaging, audio video equipment, arts & crafts materials, books, recreational and sporting equipment, safety equipment, hair care tools, kitchen appliances, lighters, candles, heating and cooling equipment, home decorations, promotional products, household cleaners, and many other types of consumer products. Matt also advises trade associations, testing laboratories, and various other types of clients on product safety issues and represents them before product safety regulators and Congress.

With over 10 years of experience in product safety, including the representation of a wide range of consumer product industries and working in a senior leadership position at the CPSC, Matt is able to provide well rounded, efficient, and thorough advice on the full spectrum of product safety issues.

Before joining the CPSC, Matt practiced at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough in the area of product safety, as well as general, appellate, class action, and products liability litigation.

Education

  • University of South Carolina School of Law (JD, magna cum laude)
  • Wofford College (BA, summa cum laude)

Experience

  • Represented a supplier of do-it-yourself sewing, quilting, home decorating and crafts products in negotiations with the State of California regulatory agencies to limit fines and penalties in violation of the California Air Resources Board, and also Proposition 65.
  • Represented a major manufacturer after the CPSC’s Office of Compliance ordered the company to implement a stop-sale and take corrective action for a major product line and obtained a reversal of the initial CPSC enforcement determination.
  • Filed Section 15(b) reports for multiple clients where the CPSC’s Office of Compliance did not make a finding that a product was defective or created a substantial product hazard and a recall was not warranted.
  • Successfully managed and negotiated numerous CPSC and Health Canada recalls, including CPSC Fast Track and joint international recalls.
  • Successfully negotiated civil penalty amounts to obtain settlement with the CPSC’s Office of General Counsel and avoid referral to the US Department of Justice.
  • Assisted multiple manufacturers, retailers, and distributors with auditing, modifying, and drafting internal product safety compliance programs and training materials.
  • Assisted a client with obtaining the release a large shipment being held by the CPSC’s Office of Import Surveillance at a US port of entry.
  • Assisted a client with significantly reducing the scope of information requested in an investigation letter from the CPSC’s Office of Compliance.
  • Successfully advocated for the CPSC to exclude a client’s product from a proposed regulatory ban.

Recognition & Awards

  • Included on the Washington DC Super Lawyers: Rising Star – Consumer Law (list 2017)
  • JD Supra Readers' Choice Awards: a Top Author on product liability matters (2016)
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • South Carolina Law Review
  • Moot Court Bar
  • Order of the Coif
  • Order of the Wig and Robe

Involvement

  • Vice President, International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization's (ICPHSO) Board of Directors

Recent Insights

News & Press

Events

Viewpoints

The consumer product safety community is rarely provided guidance by federal court decisions. On Tuesday, however, Judge R. Brooke Jackson of the Federal District Court for the District of Colorado issued an opinion in the never-ending saga of Zen Magnets, LLC v. CPSC.
Yesterday, President Donald Trump nominated Peter Feldman to fill the fifth and final spot as Commissioner of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Yesterday the U.S. Senate confirmed Dana Baiocco (pronounced “Bee Awe Co”) as a Commissioner for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission with a term that runs through October of 2024.
On Friday, February 16, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) announced that it had voted 3-1 (along party lines) to authorize CPSC staff to file an administrative complaint against Britax Child Safety, Inc., (“Britax”) a global manufacturer of car seats, strollers, and other juvenile products.
With Congress back in session, on January 8th President Trump was swift to re-nominate Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle to be the permanent Chairman of the CPSC, along with a nomination for a second term as a Commissioner.  President Trump also re-nominated Dana Baiocco to be a Commissioner.
This morning at the CPSC’s public hearing Commissioner Joe Mohorovic announced that he would be resigning from his position as a Commissioner, effective Friday, October 20th.
Over the past few weeks, there have been many key goings-on related to the CPSC and its Commissioners. First, on September 27, 2017, Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle sat for a confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
Today, President Trump announced his nomination of Dana Baiocco to be a Republican Commissioner on the Consumer Product Safety Commission. If confirmed, Ms. Baiocco would take the seat of Commissioner Robinson, whose term expires on October 26, 2017.
Today, President Donald Trump officially announced his intent to nominate Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle to be the permanent Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Her new seven year term will begin on October 27, 2018 when her first term is set to expire. If confirmed, she will become the permanent Chairman immediately and her new term will end in October 2025.
This morning it was announced internally at the CPSC that Commissioner Ann Marie Buerkle has become the Acting Chairman of the agency. The CPSC has not yet released a statement concerning the transition of the chairmanship from Elliot Kaye to Ann Marie Buerkle, but we have confirmed the change in leadership with multiple sources inside the agency.

News & Press

Matt Howsare, Chuck Samuels and Shawn Skolky authored this “Expert Analysis” column. The authors note that the consumer product safety community is rarely provided guidance by federal court decisions. They do however discuss a recent U.S. District Court opinion in Zen Magnets LLC v. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the implications for the industry.
Matthew Howsare, a Mintz Member and Co-chair of the firm’s Consumer Product Safety Practice, is quoted in a CPG Matters article on the benefits of the increasingly prominent role direct notification will play in mandated recalls involving government agencies.
Matthew Howsare, a Member in the Mintz Washington, D.C. office and Co-chair of the firm’s Consumer Product Safety Practice, was featured in this ICIX article on the large fines issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to major companies for preventable mistakes.
Eight Mintz attorneys have been named Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers for 2017 and four have been named Washington, D.C. Rising Stars. The list will be published in a special advertising supplement in The Washington Post Magazine and in a stand-alone magazine, Washington D.C. Super Lawyers Magazine.
JD Supra has recognized Mintz in its 2017 Reader’s Choice awards, highlighting the most widely read authors and articles over the past year. Eleven Mintz attorneys were named JD Supra Top Authors in four industries and Mintz was recognized as the Top Firm with readers in the Energy Industry.
Matthew R. Howsare, Co-chair in the Consumer Product Safety Practice at Mintz, has been named Vice President of the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO). He will serve as the ICPHSO President-Elect in 2018 and as the ICPHSO President in 2019.
Mintz Members Matthew Howsare and Chuck Samuels authored this Law360 article examining the federal courts’ involvement in interpreting the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) product safety laws.
Matthew Howsare, Co-chair of the firm’s Consumer Product Safety Practice, is quoted in a Pennsylvania Record article covering the leak of an IKEA product recall by a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission employee before IKEA themselves could announce it.
Matthew Howsare, Co-chair of Mintz’s Consumer Product Safety Practice, and Member Chuck Samuels, authored this Law360 column highlighting “divides along party lines” within the Consumer Product Safety Commission leadership over the civil penalties for companies in violation of their regulations.
Matthew Howsare, Co-chair of Mintz’s Consumer Product Safety Practice, is featured in this article discussing Mintz’s commitment to their blogging efforts and how that not only is catching clients’ attention but also that of potential lateral hires such as himself.  
Matthew Howsare, a Mintz Member and Co-chair of the firm’s Consumer Product Safety Practice (CPSC), authored a Law360 column that addresses the sometimes-unclear question of how to determine the CPSC’s statute of limitations as it pertains to companies’ filing Section 15(b) reports.  
Seven Mintz attorneys have been named Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers for 2015 and five have been named Washington, D.C. Rising Stars. The list will be published in a special advertising supplement in Washington Post Magazine and in a stand-alone Washington D.C. Super Lawyers Magazine.

Events

Panelist
Feb
22
2018

2018 ICPHSO Annual Meeting and Training Symposium

ICPHSO

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hotel, Orlando, FL

Speaker
Feb
20
2018

RILA Consumer Products Committee

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hotel, Orlando, FL

Panelist
Moderator
Feb
21
2017
Speaker
Oct
25
2016

2016 Retail Law Conference

Retail Litigation Center

InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta, Atlanta, GA

Moderator
Oct
5
2016

RILA Product Safety Committee Meeting

Retail Industry Leaders Association

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress - Grand Cypress A Orlando, FL

Speaker
Sep
30
2016

2016 Advanced Product Safety Management Course

St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO

Speaker
Jun
6
2016

The Basics of the CPSC & Recent Trends Involving Retailers

CLE Course for Con Edison Legal Department

New York, NY

Moderator
Speaker
May
25
2016

2016 Leadership & Crisis Prevention Forum

EDU Networking

Hilton Long Beach, Long Beach, CA

Panelist
Oct
2
2015

Product Liability Advisory Council 2015 Fall Conference

Product Liability Advisory Council

Four Seasons- Las Colinas, Dallas, TX

Speaker
Sep
10
2015

Product Safety Committee Meeting

Retail Industry Leaders Association

Washington, DC