Leeman v. BRE Parc 55 Owner, LLC

Posted: 02/05/2014  browse the case archive

Defendant BRE Parc 55 Owner, LLC (“Parc 55”) and whistleblower Whitney R. Leeman executed a Consent Judgment on February 5, 2014.  In this case, Leeman alleged that Parc 55 sold flame-cooked ground beef products containing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, including benz[a]anthracene, benzo[a]pyrene, benzo[b]fluoranthene, benzo[k]fluoranthene, and indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene, in the State of California without providing the requisite health hazard warnings. 

As part of the settlement, Parc 55 agreed not to sell any flame-cooked ground beef products in California after the San Francisco Superior Court approves the Consent Judgment, unless the ground beef has Proposition 65 warnings provided pursuant to Section 2.1 of the Consent Judgment.  Depending on which health hazard warning Parc 55 elects to use, it will pay civil penalties of varying severity.  Parc 55 shall conduct compliance reviews at least once a year for three years, to assess and ensure that each location is in compliance with the Consent Judgment.  Additionally, Parc 55 agreed to install new cooking equipment at each location where the burgers are prepared so the ground beef menu items sold in California will no longer be exposed to flame during cooking.  Should Parc 55 modify its cooking equipment to eliminate consumer exposure within seventy days of when the Court approves the Judgment, Leeman agreed to waive a portion of the civil fine that would otherwise be applied.    

The Consent Judgment requires settlement payments of up to $50,000, depending on which warning is chosen.  The settlement payments are divided therein between civil penalties, 75% of which are paid to California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, and compensation to citizen enforcer Leeman and her counsel for their successful enforcement of this matter in the public interest.

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