Our lawyers were Proposition 65 authorities even before its beginning. Michèle Corash, former general counsel of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, authored the principal ballot argument against the Prop 65 initiative in 1986. Our lawyers have served as the business community's preeminent voice in Prop 65 litigation, settlements, listings and reform efforts ever since. No other defense group knows Prop 65 better. No one is more experienced, and no one has delivered better results.

Our lawyers have won every Prop 65 case they've ever litigated to judgment, including some of the biggest and most significant Prop 65 cases to come before the California courts:

  • Dowhal v. SmithKline: a California Supreme Court case holding that federal law can preempt Prop 65—the first and only Supreme Court Prop 65 decision favoring a defendant.
  • American Meat Institute v. Leeman: a California appeals court case holding that Prop 65 regulations were preempted by federal law.
  • Environmental World Watch v. Cummins Engine Co.: the first defense verdict achieved after trial in a Prop 65 case.
  • Environmental Law Foundation v. Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp., et al.: one of the most significant trial court decisions in the statute’s 25-year history.

Even with this track record of courtroom success, our lawyers take pride in knowing when and how trial can be avoided. We lead the way in negotiating creative and cost-effective settlements for our clients. We negotiated the first major Prop 65 settlement and have authored several creative settlement structures, including opt-in and group settlement programs, future notice and cure provisions, and far-reaching downstream-liability releases that allow our clients to take care of their indemnity obligations and customers at no additional cost.

Our clients range from small businesses to multicorporation joint defense groups. They come to us from a wide range of industries, including food and beverage, automotive, plumbing and hardware, apparel, electronics and household appliances, and cosmetics and other personal care products. In addition to manufacturers and distributors, we also represent retailers, grocers and food-service operators.

What stays the same is our commitment to securing favorable results for our clients and our deep knowledge of all things Prop 65. We know the major players, including a recurring cast of Prop 65 plaintiffs' attorneys such as the Center for Environmental Health, the Consumer Advocacy Group, the Environmental Law Foundation, Baron & Budd, Cliff Chanler, Reuben Yeroushalmi, Raphael Metzger and Tony Graham. We also know the active roster of Prop 65 chemicals, including currently "hot" ones like acrylamide, lead, cadmium, diesel/gas, DEHP, TiO2, SO2, 4-MEI and BPA.

Our knowledge and experience are unmatched. If you have a Prop 65-related matter, there is no firm better suited to assist you.

TiO2 Joint Defense Group
Defended over 30 companies, including most major cosmetic makers, in a suit alleging that titanium dioxide, which is commonly used as a key ingredient in cosmetics and sunscreens, causes a risk of cancer. Our motion for summary judgment was granted in July 2015. Plaintiff’s expert admitted that he could not specify which TiO2-containing products might result in exposure, and all he could say was that it was more likely than not that some products would require a cancer warning. The court agreed with our argument that such expert opinion does not provide a “credible factual basis” for going to trial. Plaintiff has agreed not to pursue an appeal of the judgment.
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine v. KFC Corp.
Secured a victory on behalf of KFC and YUM! in Proposition 65 enforcement action brought by a vegan group seeking to use Proposition 65 warnings to stigmatize the consumption of grilled chicken. The trial court sustained defendants’ demurrer on a number of grounds, including that the plaintiff’s failure to obtain evidence of an actual violation of Proposition 65 before serving its mandatory pre-suit notice rendered its notice inadequate and its complaint invalid. The California Court of Appeal agreed, affirming the judgment in February 2014.
Environmental Law Foundation v. Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp., et al.
(Cal. Superior Court, Alameda County). Scored trial and appellate victories for Del Monte, Dole, Gerber, Smucker’s, Welch’s, and 10 other companies in a case brought by the Environmental Law Foundation and Baron & Budd class action firm. Plaintiff argued that the companies’ baby food, fruit juice, and packaged fruit products must carry cancer and birth defect warnings because they contained trace levels of lead, notwithstanding the FDA’s findings that they were safe and posed no unacceptable health risk. The trial judge and unanimous panel of the California Court of Appeal rejected arguments that California’s Proposition 65 law required warnings on these products and rejected an enforcement policy long advanced by the California attorney general and numerous plaintiffs’ groups that falsely assumed that every type of food is consumed each and every single day of the year. This decision, considered to be one of the most significant in Proposition 65’s 25-year history, opens the doors to companies that wish to use expert testimony based on actual exposure data to defend themselves, and may have application, including to consumer class action cases, going forward.

Legal 500 US 2017
Environment Litigation
Product Liability, Mass Tort, and Class Action: Consumer Products
Product Liability, Mass Tort, and Class Action Defense: Toxic Tort

Chambers USA 2017
National: Product Liability & Mass Torts
California: Environment

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