Leeman v. The Grand Del Mar Resort, L.P.

Posted: 04/30/2013  browse the case archive

Whistleblower Whitney R. Leeman’s allegations against settling party The Grand Del Mar Resort, L.P. (“The Grand”) were resolved on April 30, 2013, when the parties executed a Settlement Agreement.  In this case, Leeman alleged that The Grand 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, The Grand agreed not to sell any flame-cooked ground beef products in California after May 30, 2013, unless the ground beef it uses complies with reformulation standards or has Proposition 65 warnings posted at each restaurant location where the beef is sold.  The Grand agreed to conduct compliance reviews at least twice a year for three years, commencing on May 30, 2013, to assess and ensure that each restaurant location is in compliance with the Settlement Agreement.  Additionally, The Grand agreed to install new cooking equipment at each location where the burgers are prepared by August 31, 2013, so the ground beef menu items sold in California will no longer be exposed to flame during cooking.  Should The Grand modify its cooking equipment to eliminate consumer exposure by August 31, 2013 and/or eliminate the need for Proposition 65 warnings, Leeman agreed to waive a portion of the civil fine that would otherwise be applied.    

The Settlement Agreement requires settlement payments of $61,250, 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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