As You Sow v. Pro-Line Paint Co., et al.

Posted: 02/03/1995  browse the case archive

The Marin County Superior Court approved the settlement terms agreed to by Proposition 65 private enforcer and whistleblower, As You Sow, and paint and coatings manufacturer, Pro-Line Paint Company ("Pro-Line") on February 3, 1995. The settlement resolved AYS' claim that Pro-Line violated Proposition 65 when it sold certain paint, boat repair and coating products containing toluene without providing the health hazard warning required by the Act. 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 on August 25, 1994, when it served Pro-Line with a 60-day notice of violation of Proposition 65. On October 28, 1994, 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 (Case No. 162033).

Under the terms of the settlement, Pro-Line 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 beginning March 1, 1995. The settlement also required Pro-Line to provide its customers who held inventory of products shipped prior to March 1, 1995, with health hazard warning labels to be applied to the products prior to sale or shipment for sale in California. Pro-Line also made a $7,500 settlement payment to AYS in lieu of civil penalties. Of the $7,500 payment, a portion went to the investigation costs and legal fees incurred by AYS in bringing, litigating, and negotiating a settlement of this private enforcement action in the public interest, and a portion 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.

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