Leeman v. The Habit Restaurants, LLC

Posted: 09/03/2013  browse the case archive

The Honorable James L. Stoelker of the Santa Clara County Superior Court approved a Consent Judgment on September 3, 2013.  The parties in the enforcement action Leeman v. The Habit Restaurants, LLC executed a Consent Judgment on June 29, 2013, which resolved citizen enforcer Whitney R. Leeman, Ph.D.’s allegations that the defendant The Habit Restaurants, LLC (“Habit”) 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, Habit agreed not to sell any flame-cooked ground beef burgers in California after June 29, 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, Habit must conduct compliance reviews at least twice a year for three years, beginning on June 7, 2013.  Should Habit modify its cooking equipment or method to eliminate consumer exposure by July 11, 2013, Leeman agreed to waive a portion of the civil fine that would otherwise be applied.    

The Consent Judgment requires settlement payments of $141,000, 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.

Download PDF

It appears your Web browser is not configured to display PDF files. No worries, just click here to download the PDF file.