As You Sow v. Crescent Bronze Powder Company, et al.

Posted: 02/17/1995  browse the case archive

In a stipulated judgment submitted to the Marin County Superior Court for approval and entered as a judgment on February 17, 1995, private Proposition 65 enforcer and whistleblower, As You Sow, and paint and coatings manufacturer, Crescent Bronze Powder Company ("CBPC"), resolved As You Sow's claims alleged in a July 29, 1994 60-day notice of violation of Proposition 65 the nonprofit whistleblower served CBPC and settled pending litigation. In its notice of violation and complaint, AYS alleged that CBPC violated Proposition 65 when it sold various paint and paint-products, including acrylics, lacquers and thinners, containing the Proposition 65-listed chemical, toluene. Toluene is listed pursuant Proposition 65 as a chemical that is known to cause reproductive harm or birth defects. AYS claimed that CBPC violated its duty to warn consumers and other individuals in California of the health hazard risks associated to toluene exposures.

Under the terms of the settlement, CBPC implemented specific health hazard warnings for its products to inform consumers of the reproductive toxicity of toluene. The paint maker also undertook an interim warning program that provided customers who sell or distribute the products for sale in California with the warning labels to be applied to any unlabeled products remaining in inventory.

The settlement also required CBPC to pay $24,475 in settlement payments. The monetary terms required CBPC to make a $4,300 payment in lieu of civil penalties to AYS, who divided the funds equally between the Santa Clara Center for Occupational Safety and Health and the Natural Resources Defense Council. CBPC also paid $5,000 in civil penalties that were allocated between the California Office of Health Hazard Assessment (75%) and AYS (25%). The civil penalty payments included a guaranteed first installment of $1,000, and a second, $4,000 installment, which AYS agreed to waive provided CBPC reformulated the products to eliminate the presence of toluene. In addition, CBPC reimbursed AYS $15,175 for the reasonable attorneys' fees and costs incurred investigating, litigating, and negotiating a settlement of the private enforcement action in the public interest.

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