As You Sow v. Bowman Distribution Division, Inc., et al.

Posted: 06/05/1995  browse the case archive

On June 5, 1995, Proposition 65 Private enforcer and whistleblower, As You Sow, and manufacturer of paints, solvents, and cleaning chemicals, Bowman Distribution Division and Barnes Group, Inc., submitted their settlement to the San Francisco Superior Court for approval and entry as a judgment. The settlement resolves pending litigation between AYS and Bowman; AYS claimed Bowman violated Proposition 65 when it failed to warn consumers and other individuals in California of the health hazards associated with exposures to benzene, methylene chloride, lead, toluene, and other Proposition 65 chemicals contained in Bowman's paints, cleaning chemicals, and other products. The chemicals identified by AYS are listed pursuant to Proposition 65 as chemicals that are known to the state to cause cancer, reproductive harm, or birth defects. On March 29, 1995, after no public enforcer elected to prosecute the violations alleged in the whistleblower's January 9, 1995, 60-day notice of violation, AYS filed a private enforcement action, As You Sow v. Bowman Distribution Division, Inc., et al., San Francisco Superior Court Case No. 968342.

Under the terms of the settlement, by January 1, 1996, Bowman provided specific health hazard warnings on the labels of its products regarding the carcinogenic or teratogenic health hazards associated with exposures to the particular Proposition 65-listed chemicals in the products, and revised the MSDS accompanying each product to include the same information. The agreement required Bowman to make a $25,000 settlement payment that included both restitution and costs. AYS allocated the restitution component of the payment to Rainforest Action Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the world's rainforests. The cost component of the settlement reimbursed AYS for the reasonable attorneys' fees and costs incurred bringing, litigating, and negotiating a settlement of the private enforcement action in the public interest.

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