Brimer v. The Boelter Companies

Posted: 08/18/2005  browse the case archive
Brimer v. The Boelter Companies

In response to increasing and overwhelming evidence that decorations appearing on the exterior surfaces of ceramicware and glassware (and in some instances inside the vessel) contain detectable levels of lead and cadmium, The Chanler Group client, Russell Brimer, initiated enforcement actions targeting this industry. Mr. Brimer’s efforts resulted in a 2005 global opt-in settlement agreement, whereby the defendants agreed to reformulate their products to significantly reduce or eliminate exposure to lead and cadmium found in the exterior decorations of their product. 

The so-called “Boelter Agreement,” named after the lead defendant in Brimer v. Boelter, et al., San Francisco Sup. Ct., Case No. CGC-05-440811, achieved widely acclaimed reformulation.  Based upon this agreement, 205 businesses within the glassware and ceramics industry executed opt-in stipulations which resulted in $2,108,625 in civil penalties paid directly to the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.  Of the 205 businesses, more than half were manufacturers, distributors and importers, contributing 83.81% to the total civil penalties collected in this set of cases.  Brimer’s enforcement actions against manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of ceramicware and glassware resulted in a far-reaching, industry-wide settlement.

The Boelter Agreement is a prime example of our clients’ willingness to undertake costly, time-consuming Proposition 65 enforcement actions against sophisticated defendants to promote product reformulation within an entire industry.  In successfully settling this action and achieving a commitment from the ceramicware and glassware industries to reformulate products so that they are lead and cadmium-free, Brimer achieved an enormous public benefit for the people in California.

Brimer continues, seven years after this momentous settlement, to monitor the glass and ceramic industries for compliance with Proposition 65. Where continued violations are found, Brimer takes immediate action to bring the offending entities into compliance.



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