Leeman v. Estancia Hotel, LLC

Posted: 03/15/2013  browse the case archive

The parties in the enforcement action Leeman v. Pacific Hospital Group, LLC; Estancia Hotel, LLC executed a Consent Judgment on March 15, 2013, which resolved citizen enforcer Whitney R. Leeman, Ph.D.’s allegations that the defendant Estancia Hotel, LLC (“Estancia”) sold flame-cooked ground beef burgers 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, Estancia agreed not to sell any flame-cooked ground beef burgers in California after March 15, 2013, unless the restaurants where the ground beef is sold have Proposition 65 warnings provided as outlined in Section 2.1 or the ground beef complies with the reformulation standards pursuant to Section 2.3.  Additionally, Estancia must conduct compliance reviews at least once a year for five years, beginning on April 14, 2013.  Should Estancia comply with these heightened standards and modify its cooking equipment or method to eliminate consumer exposure by August 15, 2013, Leeman agreed to waive a portion of the civil fine that would otherwise be applied.    

The Consent Judgment requires settlement payments of $44,200, divided therein between civil penalties, 75% of which are paid to California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, and compensation to whistleblower Leeman and her counsel for their successful enforcement of this matter in the public interest.

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