As You Sow v. Quest Chemical Corporation, et al.

Posted: 12/01/1996  browse the case archive

The Marin County Superior Court entered a Consent Judgment according to the settlement reached between Proposition 65 private enforcer and whistleblower, As You Sow ("AYS"), and janitorial and industrial cleaning products supplier, Quest Chemical Corporation. The judgment resolves AYS's allegations that Quest sold and distributed eight janitorial/industrial cleaning products that contained the Proposition 65-listed chemicals toluene, dichloromethane, tetrachloroethylene, and trichloroethylene, chemicals that are known to cause cancer, reproductive harm, or birth defects, in the State of California without providing the requisite health hazard warnings.

Under the settlement, Quest was required to immediately begin providing specific health hazard warnings, as requested by AYS, and to ensure that all of the products include the warnings by December 1, 1996. Quest was also required to provide warnings to California customers with unlabeled products shipped prior to the parties' settlement, to be affixed to the products prior to sale in California. The settlement payments detailed in the agreement total $44,500, including a $19,500 payment in lieu of civil penalties to AYS, who redistributed the funds to the Sierra Club Legal Defense fund, and $25,000 in civil penalties. The penalty payments, which were due in installments, were divided between AYS (25%) and the California Office of Health Hazard Assessment (75%). AYS agreed to waive the second penalty installment of $15,000 on receipt of Quest's certification that it has either reformulated the eight products so that they do not contain Proposition-65 listed chemicals or that it will not offer the products for sale in California until reformulated products can be made available. The agreement required AYS to apply to the court for an un-appealable determination of the reasonable attorneys' fees and costs incurred, to be reimbursed by Quest pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5 (fees awarded for public benefit obtained).

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