Brimer et al. v. AWI Acquisition Company

Posted: 10/23/2012  browse the case archive

The Honorable Mark H. Pierce of the Santa Clara County Superior Court granted the parties’ motion to approve the Consent Judgment in the case Brimer et al. v. 3M Company, et al., on October 23, 2012.  This enforcement action resolved citizen enforcers Russell Brimer, John Moore, and Peter Englander’s allegations that sixteen defendants, including AWI Acquisition Company and its release Restoration Hardware, Inc. (collectively “AWI”), sold hand tools, garden tools, and/or kitchen utensils containing the phthalate chemicals di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (“DEHP”), di-n-butyl phthalate (“DBP”), butyl benzyl phthalate (“BBP”), and the heavy metal lead.  Specifically, the citizen enforcers alleged that AWI sold Junior Trucker tool sets containing DEHP in California without providing the health hazard warnings.

As part of the settlement, AWI agreed not to sell any tool sets in California after September 15, 2012, unless the tool sets contain no more than 1,000 parts per million (0.1%) of DEHP, DBP, and BBP in any accessible component when analyzed using state or federally approved testing methodologies.  Additionally, AWI agreed to provide the reformulation standards to its vendors by September 13, 2012, and instruct them to provide tool sets that comply with the reformulation standards expeditiously.  As a de minimus defendant, AWI paid a substantially reduced fine in light of its low sales.

The Consent Judgment requires settlement payments of $28,000, divided therein between civil penalties, 75% of which are paid to California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, and compensation to whistleblowers Brimer, Moore, and Englander and their counsel for their successful enforcement of this matter in the public interest.

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