Vinocur v. Sauder Woodworking Co.

Posted: 10/07/2013  browse the case archive

Citizen enforcer Laurence Vinocur’s allegations against defendant Sauder Woodworking Co. and Target Corporation (“Sauder”) were resolved on October 7, 2013, when the parties executed a Consent Judgment.  In this matter, Vinocur alleged that Sauder and Target sold upholstered office chairs with foam padding containing tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (“TDCPP”) in the State of California without providing the requisite health hazard warnings.  Target is an intended beneficiary to the Consent Judgment as it relates to Target’s alleged manufacture and sale of the office chairs.  

As part of the settlement, Sauder agreed not to sell any office chairs in California after March 31, 2014, unless the chairs contain no more than 25 parts per million each of TDCPP, tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (“TCEP”) and tris(2,3-dibromopropyl)phosphate (“TDBPP”) when analyzed using state or federally approved testing methodologies.   For a brief interim period from October 15, 2013, until March 31, 2014, chairs may be sold with Proposition 65 warnings provided, after which point all chairs must qualify as reformulated.  Should Sauder provide written certification that it has met the reformulation requirement early so that all chairs sold in California after December 31, 2013 qualify as reformulated, Vinocur agreed to waive a portion of the civil fine. 

The Consent Judgment requires settlement payments of $87,500, divided therein between civil penalties, 75% of which are paid to California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, and compensation to whistleblower Vinocur and his counsel for their successful enforcement of this matter in the public interest.

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