As You Sow v. House of Kolor, Inc., et al.

Posted: 02/15/1995  browse the case archive

The Marin County Superior Court approved the terms of the January 30, 1995 settlement agreed to by Proposition 65 private enforcer and whistleblower, As You Sow, and paint and coatings manufacturer, House of Kolors, Inc. ("HOK") on February 15, 1995. The settlement resolves AYS' claim that HOK violated Proposition 65 when it sold certain urethane base coats and urethane reducers containing toluene without providing the health hazard warning required by Proposition 65. Toluene is listed pursuant to Proposition 65 as a chemical that is known to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. AYS commenced the private enforcement action when it served Pro-Line with a 60-day notice of violation of Proposition 65. More than sixty days later, with no public enforcement agency having elected to prosecute the alleged violations, AYS filed a private Proposition 65 enforcement action in Marin County Superior Court.

Under the terms of the settlement, HOK provided specific health hazard warnings regarding the risk of reproductive harm or birth defects associated with toluene exposures for all products sold or distributed for sale in California within ninety days. The settlement also required HOK to provide its customers with inventory of products shipped without warnings with the health hazard warning labels and request that they apply them to the products prior to sale or shipment for sale in California. Under the settlement, HOK made settlement payments totaling $9,000, including a $2,300 payment to AYS in lieu of civil penalties, which AYS divided between the West County Toxics Coalition and the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, organizations dedicated to promoting public awareness of harmful toxic exposures and providing environmental education and outreach. HOK also paid AYS $6,700 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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