A federal appeals court is siding with consumer groups in a fight to reveal the identity of the manufacturer in a product safety case linked to a child's death.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond, Va., has reversed a lower court ruling and said records in the so-called Company Doe case must be unsealed.

In 2011, an unidentified manufacturer went to court to stop the Consumer Product Safety Commission from publishing online a complaint about a product the company makes. The lower court agreed to keep proceedings secret, allowing the manufacturer to use the pseudonym "Company Doe." Consumer groups appealed.

The lawsuit by "Company Doe" was the first legal challenge to the CPSC's database for complaints about products ranging from baby gear to household appliances.