October 3, 1958 |
New Brunswick, New Jersey
|Alma mater||Tufts University
New York University School of Law
|Employer||Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP|
Pamela B. Gilbert (born October 3, 1958) is an American lawyer and has been a partner of the law firm Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP since 2003, where she heads the firm's lobbying practice. Gilbert is a noted consumer rights advocate who has testified before Congress over fifty times and made dozens of appearances in the national print and electronic media.
Early career and education
Gilbert graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University with a B.A. in Mathematics in 1980 and received her law degree from New York University in 1984. She was a Root-Tilden scholar at NYU Law School.
After law school, Gilbert served as Consumer Program Director at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group from 1984-1989 where she specialized in consumer protection issues. She led the effort for congressional enactment of legislation to protect children from toxic art supplies.
Gilbert served as Executive Director of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) from 1995-2001. In 2001 she left the government to serve as Chief Operating Officer of M&R Strategic Services, a national firm set up to lobby and conduct grassroots and media campaigns around public policy issues.
Gilbert represented the National Association of Shareholder and Consumer Attorneys to oppose efforts in Congress to change the rules for bringing class action lawsuits. Gilbert subsequently represented the Center for Justice & Democracy, opposing efforts in Congress to impose Federal government restrictions on malpractice laws.
In 2007, Gilbert worked with public interest organizations and victims of Enron's collapse to persuade the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Bush Administration to adopt a position in a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court – Stoneridge Investment Partners LLC v. Scientific-Atlanta Inc. and Motorola Inc. – that would ensure that people slighted by Enron could sue the investment banks that participated in the frauds that led to Enron’s failure. Gilbert's firm held press conferences in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, meeting with administration officials such as then-SEC Chairman Christopher Cox.
On November 15 of that same year, Gilbert testified before the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law of the House Committee on the Judiciary on “Protecting the Playroom: Holding Foreign Manufacturers Accountable for Defective Products.”
In 2008, Gilbert worked with the Center for Justice and Democracy to bring before Congress families with children who developed lead poisoning from hazardous toys, to urge the passage of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement act of 2008. This landmark legislation placed limits on the amount of lead that can be used in children's products.
Also that year, Gilbert testified before the Federal Communications Commission on behalf of consumers who were assessed fees for switching cell phone companies before their contracts expired. Her position was that such fees were unfair. She urged the FCC not to preempt state laws and state-based lawsuits intended to protect consumers from these allegedly unfair practices by cell phone companies.
Over the course of three years from 2007–2009, Gilbert organized a coalition of over a dozen labor and nonprofit organizations to support legislation that would provide a pathway for the approval of generic versions of costly medicines. A version of this legislation was later incorporated in national health care reform policies.
In 2009, Gilbert worked with people injured by defects in Chrysler and General Motors vehicles to urge the Obama administration and the automobile companies to modify their bankruptcy agreements to ensure that personal injury victims would have an opportunity to receive compensation. As a result, the agreements were modified to allow people injured in the future by vehicles manufactured before the bankruptcy to be compensated for their injuries.
On behalf of the Committee to Support the Antitrust Laws, Gilbert worked with Congress and the Obama Administration to amend the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act to ensure that members of criminal antitrust conspiracies adequately cooperate with civil lawsuits in return for reduced damages.
On June 10, 2010, Pamela Gilbert was appointed to the Board of Directors of the AAI (American Antitrust Institute).
On behalf of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS), Gilbert led the successful lobbying effort to pass a federal law prohibiting rental car companies from renting or selling recalled cars until they are repaired. Gilbert worked with Mrs. Cally Houck, whose two daughters were killed in a rental car that caught on fire and crashed as a result of an unrepaired defect that had been subject to a safety recall. President Obama on December 4, 2015 signed into law the "Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act" (H.R. 2198, S. 1173), sponsored by Reps. Capps, Jones, Schakowsky and Butterfield and Sens. Schumer, Boxer, McCaskill and others, as part of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) .
Gilbert represents SD3, LLC, which owns SawStop, a table saw manufacturer whose table saws are equipped with technology that stops a spinning saw blade in milliseconds when it comes in contact with human flesh. Gilbert has worked with SawStop and a coalition of consumer protection groups in an effort to enact a mandatory safety standard so that all table saws contain injury mitigation technology to prevent amputations and other serious laceration injuries. The CPSC published a notice of proposed rulemaking in 2011  and in 2015 the commission's staff urged adoption of the new requirement. 
Gilbert is working with a coalition of patients with diseases caused by asbestos exposure and their families to defeat the proposed Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act of 2015 (H.R. 526, S. 357). The proposal would require asbestos trusts to file quarterly reports about the payouts they make and personal information on the victims who receive them in a publicly accessible database. Opponents argue that this would violate the privacy of victims and use trust funds to meet the new administrative requirements, making it more difficult for asbestos claimants to receive timely and full compensation.
In 2008, Gilbert wrote a chapter entitled “Consumer Product Safety Commission: Safety First” for Change for America: A Progressive Blueprint for the 44th President, published by the Center for American Progress and the New Democracy Project.
In 2001, Gilbert stepped down as executive director of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) after President Bush sparked a constitutional controversy by seeking to replace the leadership of the Commission, citing his powers under Article Two of the United States Constitution. Later, in 2008, Gilbert was mentioned as a possible appointee by President Barack Obama to be Chairman of the Commission. However, her nomination was criticized on the grounds that while she was executive director of the CPSC, the agency was known for its "strident enforcement efforts" contrary to large business interests.
Gilbert is married to the noted journalist Charles Lewis, Professor of Journalism at American University, founder of the Center for Public Integrity, and a former producer for 60 Minutes. With Lewis she raises two children, Cassandra and Gabriel.
- Pamela Gilbert's profile at cuneolaw.com
- Pamela Gilbert's profile at cuneolaw.com
- Change.gov: The Obama-Biden Transition Team
- Docket Sheet for Stoneridge Investment Partners LLC v. Scientific-Atlanta Inc. and Motorola Inc.
- Gilbert's 2007 testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative law
- Testimony before the FCC 6/12/2008
- "The Obama Administration and Public Protections"
- AAI Names Pamela Gilbert to Its Board of Directors
- Federal Register; Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
- CPSC report on table saw standards
- "One-Sided Bill on Asbestos Injuries". The New York Times. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
- "Change for America: A Progressive Blueprint for the 44th President"
- Gilbert, Pamela - The Human Face of Tort Reform
- Chapter 15: Proposals for Reform
- Justice.gov: PRESIDENT'S AUTHORITY TO REMOVE THE CHAIRMAN OF THE CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION
- Discussion of Pamela Gilbert's qualifications as a nominee for Commissioner of the CPSC
- Arent Fox: New Administration and New Congress to Bring Major Changes to CPSC