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Portland Knife Company Agrees To $2.6 Million Federal Fine

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Portland-based Gerber Legendary Blades recalled the Gator Combo Ax in 2011.

A Portland-based knife company has agreed to a $2.6 million federal penalty for allegedly failing to report multiple injuries tied to one of its products.

The settlement was announced Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Gerber Legendary Blades is a division of Wisconsin-based Fiskar Brands. The Consumer Products Safety Commission says the company waited too long to report a problem with the so-called Gator Combo Axe. The compact axe comes with a removable knife stored in the handle.

Several customers complained the knife flew out of the axe handle when they were pounding and caused deep lacerations and permanent nerve damage. Some of the injured filed lawsuits.

But the government said Gerber failed to notify the Product Safety Commission for nearly five years after the first complaint. By the time a recall was issued, more than 100,000 of the combo axes had been sold.

“In this case, Fiskar's failure to report to the CPSC not only put consumers at risk, it contributed to people being injured as a result of the unsafe product design,” U.S. Attorney for Oregon Amanda Marshall said in a statement. “The settlement not only addresses the product safety issue, but also holds the company accountable and sends a message to others that these violations will be taken seriously.”

Gerber Legendary Blades admits no wrongdoing with the multi-million dollar settlement.