LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The U.S. government is suing one of the nation's largest arts and crafts retailers.
Federal investigators say Michaels stores failed to report serious safety hazards from poorly-made and breakable glass vases.
The Department of Justice, on behalf of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, alleges a 20-inch glass vase recalled in 2010 shattered easily in customers' hands, causing serious injuries.
In the complaint, government officials claim Michaels knew about the shattering issue for two years but failed to report the problem while an estimated 203,000 of the vases from China were sold in the U.S.
In 2007, a vase shattered in a consumer's hand and "surgery was required to repair tendon and nerve damage," according to the filing.
In 2009, a "consumer reported that she underwent surgery, required a cast for five weeks and had lost nerve sensation in her fingers," the complaint further reads.
In total, the company knew of at least nine injuries related to the vase before, prosecutors say, Michaels reported the problem.
A spokesperson for Michaels released the following statement: "We stand by our actions in this matter and believe that the facts will show that Michaels acted promptly and appropriately."
The DOJ also alleges Michaels gave false information that another company - not them - had manufactured and imported the vases to avoid the recall costs.
The government wants to see the civil penalties and injunctive relief.
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