The Department of Justice, in conjunction with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), today announced that the government will collect $105,319.56 in civil penalties from Lithionics Battery LLC and its Chief Executive Officer, Steven Tartaglia (together, Lithionics ), as part of a settlement to resolve allegations that Lithionics violated the FTC’s “Made in USA” labeling rule and FTC law in connection with the marketing of its battery products.
In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Intermediate District of Florida, the government alleged that Lithionics violated the rule by improperly labeling and advertising batteries, battery modules, and battery management systems as ” made in the United States,” even though key components of the products — including the lithium-ion cells that powered the batteries — were imported. This is the first action under the FTC’s new “Made in USA” rule.
“The Department of Justice will not tolerate companies that mislead customers by falsely claiming that their products were made in the United States,” said Senior Assistant Deputy Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, Chief of the Civil Division of the Ministry of Justice. “The department is committed to protecting consumers from deceptive practices by companies hoping to gain an unfair advantage through dishonesty.”
“As our country works toward onshore production of lithium-ion batteries, it’s critical that honest businesses have a chance to compete and that consumers can buy American,” said Office of Privacy Director Sam Levine. FTC consumers. “Falsely labeling batteries as made in the USA is against the law, and the FTC is using its new Made in USA rule to ensure that this misconduct has a price.”
In addition to civil penalties, the stipulated order issued by the court today prohibits Lithionics from making “Made in USA” and other unsubstantiated misrepresentations of origin in the future. The stipulated order also requires Lithionics to notify affected customers and submit compliance reports to the FTC for more than a decade.
This case is being handled by trial attorneys Deborah Sohn and Zachary Cowan of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch. Julia Ensor represented the FTC.
For more information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts, visit its website at https://www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch. For more information about the FTC, visit its website at https://www.FTC.gov.