California Gov. Jerry Brown is attempting to fix the state’s notorious Proposition 65 law because it “has been abused by some unscrupulous lawyers driven by profit rather than public health,” according to a statement from the governor’s office. The outcome could affect a Prop 65 lawsuit filed last year by “citizen enforcers” against FBOs and aviation fuel distributors and producers.
The law requires the governor to publish annually a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity, and businesses where chemicals on this list are sold must display a “Prop 65” warning label. Because the law allows almost any attorney or citizen to file suits when the law isn’t being followed, a cottage industry has developed to threaten lawsuits against violators. If the violator agrees to settle the matter, these groups can retain a portion of the settlement funds. Citizens have filed nearly 2,000 such complaints since 2008.
One of them is from the Center for Environmental Health (CEH), which filed notices of violation against California FBOs and fuel distributors and producers in May 2011. The FBOs and fuel companies formed a coalition to fight the CEH action and filed a lawsuit against CEH and the attorney general of the state of California. That dispute has yet to be resolved.