As You Sow v. Gougeon Brothers, Inc., et al.

Posted: 10/14/1994  browse the case archive

Proposition 65 private enforcer and whistleblower, As You Sow, and distributor of boat repair and coating products, Gougeon Brothers, Inc., reached an agreement on May 22, 1995, resolving allegations made by AYS in its October 14, 1994, 60-day notice of violation that Gougeon sold solvents containing perchloroethylene and methylene chloride without providing the health hazard warnings required by Proposition 65. Perchloroethylene and methylene chloride are listed pursuant to Proposition 65 as chemicals that are known to cancer.

Under the settlement agreement, Gougeon committed that by December 1, 1994, it would provide specific health hazard warnings for the labels of its products that reference the perchloroethylene and/or methylene chloride present in the products, and inform consumers of the risk of cancer associated with exposures to the chemicals. Gougeon was also required to provide its customers with interim warnings for any inventory of unlabeled products that were already in the stream of commerce in California within 30 days following the execution of the settlement. Gougeon paid AYS $3,500 in restitution and costs under the settlement. 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 was used to reimburse AYS for the reasonable attorneys' fees and costs incurred bringing, litigating, and negotiating a settlement of the private enforcement action in the public interest. The parties submitted the settlement to the San Francisco Superior Court for approval and entry as judgment (Case No. 969468) on June 19, 1995, and the court approved and entered the settlement thereafter.

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