More settlements made in California Prop 65 cases

Heath E. Combs, October 8, 2013

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — More furniture companies have filed out-of-court Proposition 65 settlements in recent weeks for items containing the flame retardants TDCPP and TCEP.

At least two more settlements from suppliers were filed with The Chanler Group, a professional Prop 65 litigant. The initial complaints cover ottomans, barstools, office chairs and folding chairs, among others, and involve chemicals in the items' foam padding.

Prop 65 is a California law requiring retail point-of-sale notification by manufacturers to consumers of products that contain chemicals known to the state to cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm.

It doesn't require elimination of the chemical, but allows citizen plaintiffs to cite companies for lack of proper notice for listed chemicals - often resulting in costly out of court settlements.

The most recent settlements are listed on the California Attorney General's website. Their initial Prop 65 complaints were filed starting in January.

The settlements - which admit no wrongdoing - include chair and dining table supplier Stakmore Co. and another with a group of companies including Cheyenne Industries, Jonathan Louis International, Lexington Home Furnishings and Virco Mfg.

As part of the settlement, by March 31, Stakmore agrees not to manufacture, import or sell to California consumers products that contain more than 25 parts per million of TDCPP or TCEP.

The Oct. 3 settlement will end up costing Stakmore about $50,000, including a non-contingent civil penalty of $15,000 and $35,000 in attorney fees and costs. The non-contingent penalty leaves open the possibility for future penalties.

The same terms are given for the group settlement. It will end up costing the participants about $295,000 including a non-contingent civil penalty of $77,000 and $218,000 in attorney fees and costs. That settlement was filed on Sept. 23.

In the group settlement, The Chanler Group noted filing further 60-day notices violations for products containing the plasticizers DEHP, and BBP and DBP - all Prop 65 chemicals.

Per both settlements, by Oct. 15 the suppliers must also provide notice to their current vendors instructing them to only give them products with no detectable levels of TDCPP or TCEP.

In 2012, more than 200 notices have been filed for TDCPP. The last one was filed Oct. 4.

TDCPP and TCEP are used in foam to help meet California's TB 117 upholstery flammability standard. That standard is still active, but the state is in the process of revising it.


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