DiPirro v. Central Purchasing, d/b/a Harbor Freight Tools, et al.

Posted: 03/10/2000  browse the case archive

Citizen enforcer Michael DiPirro and Central Purchasing, dba Harbor Freight Tools entered into an out-of-court Settlement Agreement on March 10, 2000.  This agreement was later brought before the San Francisco County Superior Court for approval.  The Settlement Agreement resolved DiPirro’s allegations that Central sold: (1) solder, soldering products and other accessories; and (2) welding machines, welding power sources, and other welding equipment and accessories, containing, or whose customary use and application produced fumes or cases which contained lead, formaldehyde, nickel, chromium, and carbon monoxide in the State of California without providing the requisite health hazard warnings. 

As part of the settlement, Central agreed to use reasonable efforts to ensure that all products in its possession intended for distribution or sale in California are packaged or sold using health hazard warning labels compliant with Section 1 of the Agreement as soon as commercially reasonable.  Additionally, Central agreed that, as of July 15, 2000, it shall not distribute or sell (or cause to be distributed or sold on its behalf) any products for sale or use in California unless each such product is accompanied by the proper health hazard warning language pursuant to Section 1 of the agreement.  DiPirro agreed to waive a portion of Central’s civil penalty payments if Central certified in writing, by specific dates, that it has ceased the sale of solder containing lead in at least 50% of its retail stores.    

The Settlement Agreement requires settlement payments of $39,250 divided therein between civil penalties, 75% of which are paid to California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, and compensation to whistleblower DiPirro and his counsel for their successful enforcement of this matter in the public interest.

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