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The Case of the Anti-Bacterial Toys

 Wendy Jacobs and David Abrams  
Product number:
January 2012
15 pages
Product Type:
Workshop-Based Case Study
Link to Faculty Author Page:
Educators / Non-Profits:


In 1997 toy maker Hasbro, Inc. ran afoul of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over how to label the new line of anti-bacterial toys sold by its subsidiary, PlaySkool®. The case asks students to play the role of the General Counsel for Hasbro, determine what questions to ask their client, draft a press release to communicate to the public and respond to the EPA's actions, and draft language to re-label the toys.  The problem fits in the general category of avoiding trouble or distributing losses that have already occurred.

Table of Contents

This problem set consists of five parts:

  • The Voicemail Message introduces the student assignment
  • Part 1-The Problem presents the problem and describes the company and setting
  • Part 2-The Relevant Law gives students an overview of the law relevant to the problem
  • Part 3-The Theory includes links and articles that ground students in theoretical points of view relevant to the problem
  • Part 4-The EPA Press Release shows how the EPA communicated the problem to the public

This product contains a zip file with all of the products listed above.

Learning Objectives

  • Begin to develop a systematic approach to problem solving when faced with an unresolved issue or new situation.
  • Discuss whether lawyers should advise clients as if they were solely interested in taking maximum advantage of their legal rights or if their advice should encompass the full range of the client’s concerns, engaging the client's moral compass in deciding whether it is right to pursue a legally-available objective.
  • Learn how to define and represent a client when the client is an entity or organization; identify and appropriately respond to conflicts of interest among an organization’s stakeholders.
  • Understand the legal constraints and repercussions of writing public statements on behalf of a publically traded company engaged in a controversial situation.

Subjects Covered

Risk Averseness, Acting in the Shadow of the Law, Conflicts of Interest, SEC Regulations, Public Disclosure, Crisis Management


Geographic: United States

Industry: Consumer Goods, Toys

Event Year Begin: 1997


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Additional Information

The Problem Solving Workshop: A Video Introduction

Copyright Information

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