On April 1—no joke—the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s troubling new standard for magnet sets was slated to go into effect. However, thanks to the efforts of the sole remaining distributor of Small Rare Earth Magnets (SREMs) in the United States, Zen Magnets LLC, consumer freedom won a last-minute reprieve.
As companies wishing to challenge final rules of federal agencies may typically do, Zen Magnets filed a stay of enforcement directly in the U.S. Court of Appeals covering its home state, Colorado in this case. In rapid response to Zen Magnets LLC’s motion for a stay, the Tenth Circuit issued a same-day order to temporarily “stay the enforcement and effect of the Safety Standard for Magnet Sets promulgated by respondent Consumer Product Safety Commission on October 3, 2014, which goes into effect on April 1, 2015.” In addition, the Court ordered CPSC to file a brief in response on or before today (April 14) “to assist the court in its review of the motion.”
Under the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, the Court had to consider four factors in issuing the motion to stay: likelihood of success on the merits; threat of irreparable harm; absence of harm to the government; and risk of harm to the public interest. Just because the Tenth Circuit has issued the stay does not mean that it has decided the motion to stay enforcement will succeed. Still, if the Court were convinced that the arguments Zen Magnets has presented in opposition to the Magnet Safety Standard were frivolous or had little chance to prevail, it is unlikely the Court would have issued even a temporary stay. Since the appeals court’s review marks the first time any entity outside the agency’s purview has had an opportunity to check CPSC’s work, it is encouraging to see the Tenth Circuit forcing the agency to explain its unprecedented actions here. Continue reading