White House taps Duquesne Law grad for agency role

Consumer Product Safety Commission

Courtesy of the CPSC website
The current members of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, from left to right: Robert Adler, Elliot Kaye, Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle, Marietta Robinson and Joseph Mohorovic. DU alum, Baiocco, was nominated to fill Robinson’s seat.

Raymond Arke | News Editor

09/28/17

A Duquesne Law School graduate has received attention from the White House. On Sept. 21, Dana Baiocco, who graduated cum laude in 1997, was nominated by the Trump Administration to the position of commissioner on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for a seven-year term.

The CPSC is the governmental agency that is concerned with “protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of types of consumer products,” its website reads. The agency mostly functions as a regulatory force which creates new safety rules and investigates corporate neglect.

CPSC is currently composed of an acting chairman and four commissioners. They work together to enforce several federal safety laws such as the Consumer Product Safety Act, the Child Safety Protection Act and the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.

Baiocco joined the Pittsburgh branch of the national Jones Day law firm in 1998 and became a partner in 2007. She helped to found the Boston branch of Jones Day in 2011, where she is a partner, a White House press release said.

Baiocco, who had received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Ohio University in 1988 before going to Duquesne Law, started her legal career as a clerk for a Western Pennsylvania District Court Judge, according to her biography on the Jones Day website.

The firm’s biography describes Baiocco as “known for strategic business advice and high-intensity trials involving mass torts, consumer and industrial products, and medical devices.” She was named a “leading lawyer” on a number of issues such as product liability and mass tort defense by The Legal 500 website.

As a lawyer, Baiocco has primarily worked on behalf of corporations faced with civil lawsuits.

“Dana counsels clients on minimizing risks, regulatory and reporting obligations, warranties, and CPSC product recalls,” her biography read.

She was part of a Jones Day team that represented Mattel Inc., a toy company, through several mid-2000s lawsuits over their selling and recall of some 14 million lead-painted toys. The CPSC, the commission Baiocco is now nominated to, hit Mattel with a $2.3 million fine. It was the highest fine ever levied by the organization for a product violation, according to the Law360 website.

Jones Day has been a favorite law firm for the Trump White House. The White House Counsel, Donald McGahn II, was a Jones Day lawyer. In January 2017, Jones Day announced in a statement that 14 other firm lawyers would serve in various White House positions. One, Noel Francisco, was confirmed as the Solicitor General of the United States on Sept. 19. Jones Day also represents the Trump campaign committee, the Republican National Committee, and several Trump political action committees, according to an article on Law.com. Reporting by the New York Times found that, as of June 2017, the Trump campaign had paid Jones Day $545,000 for its services representing the campaign in election matters and for the firm’s advisement on legal issues regarding the continuing Russia investigations.

Baiocco said she preferred to wait to comment further until after her nomination hearing due to her being “superstitious.”

She did say that Duquesne was “her favorite place in the world” and praised President Ken Gormley and Law School Dean Maureen Lally-Green.

Colleen Derda, communications director for the Duquesne School of Law, said that Lally-Green does not comment on pending nominations and would wait until after the Senate confirmation process.

David Petrou, global public communications manager for Jones Day, did not reply to a request for comment.

The White House Press Office did not reply to a request for comment.

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