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Matthew R. Howsare

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Education

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

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • South Carolina
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the District of South Carolina

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 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.

Representative Matters

  • 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.

Recognitions & Awards

  • 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

Professional & Community Involvement

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