Englander v. Bassett Furniture Industries, Inc.

Posted: 09/30/2013  browse the case archive

Citizen enforcer Peter Englander’s allegations against defendant Bassett Furniture Industries, Inc. (“Bassett”) were resolved on September 30, 2013, when the parties executed a Consent Judgment.  In this matter, Englander alleged that Bassett sold padded upholstered ottomans and other furniture with foam padding containing the flame retardant tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (“TDCPP”) in the State of California without providing the requisite health hazard warnings.

As part of the settlement, Bassett agreed not to sell any ottomans or other furniture in California after March 31, 2014, unless the furniture contains no more than 25 parts per million of TDCPP and tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (“TCEP”)  when analyzed using state or federally approved testing methodologies. Additionally, Bassett agreed to provide its vendors with the reformulation standards by October 15, 2013, and instruct them to provide furniture that complies expeditiously.  Furniture currently existing in Bassett’s inventory may be sold with Proposition 65 warnings provided.  Should Bassett provide written certification that all furniture sold in California after November 1, 2013 qualifies as reformulated, Englander agreed to waive a portion of the civil fine.  Additionally, Englander provided a credit for extending the breadth of reformulation, among other credits available, if Bassett should provide written certification that all furniture sold in California after March 31, 2014, contains no detectable amounts of tris(2,3-dibromopropyl)phosphate (“TDBPP”) in addition to satisfying the TCEP and TDCPP requirements.

The Consent Judgment requires settlement payments of $150,000, divided therein between civil penalties, 75% of which are paid to California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, and compensation to whistleblower Englander and his counsel for their successful enforcement of this matter in the public interest.

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