Posts tagged as:

Prop 65

California’s Proposition 65 strikes again [Stoll]

Tom Scott in Flash Report notes that a specialized California bar continues to rake in substantial money suing businesses for alleged Prop 65 violations, such as failing to put warnings on their merchandise. Three named lawyers (Russell Brimer, Anthony Held, and John Moore) obtained attorney’s fees and costs last year in the $1.8 million-$2 million range after settling 61, 41 and 47 suits respectively.

Anthony T. (Tom) Caso at the Federalist Society’s “Engage” analyzes California chemical-warning law, long notorious for empowering entrepreneurial lawyers to file suits supposedly on behalf of the general public and then settle those suits for cold cash.

March 13 roundup

by Walter Olson on March 13, 2012

  • “Are Courts Dragging Out the Housing Crisis?” [Mark Calabria, Cato] “Boom-Era Property Speculators to Get Foreclosure Aid” [Bloomberg News via Bader, CEI] Community organizing groups expect to cash in on state AGs’ robosigning settlement [Neil Munro, Daily Caller, earlier] As does NAAG itself [Daniel Fisher] More: Kevin Funnell.
  • “Non-standard explanation offered for bugging wife’s bedroom” [Lowering the Bar]
  • Chris DeMuth on James Q. Wilson [Weekly Standard, earlier] I wrote about Wilson’s work on at least two occasions: the Baltimore Sun had me review a book of his on “abuse excuses” and other difficulties of psychiatric testimony in court, a good book if a mere foothill in the mountain range of his overall scholarship; on another occasion in Reason I challenged his uncharacteristic backing of a “family policy” proposal ripe with potential for unintended consequences;
  • Boston city councilor: make valet kid at restaurant responsible if patron drives off drunk [NPR via Alkon]
  • “Texas is being stiff armed by the EPA at every turn” [Munro/DC quoting Texas attorney general Greg Abbott] NYT’s “modest” offshore drilling restrictions: “I hate to think what immodest restrictions would look like” [John Steele Gordon]
  • “The Southern Poverty Law Center Is Now Writing About Pickup Artists as Hate Groups” [Mike Riggs]
  • SFO rental car garage offers a whiff of Prop 65 absurdity [Stoll]


January 11 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 11, 2012

  • California’s Prop 65 and the numbness of overwarning [Tung Yin via Bainbridge]
  • Time to kill off medical-method patents [Alex Tabarrok, Medical Progress Today]
  • Spite decoration: “Gretna fence squabble continues in bitter fashion” [, Louisiana]
  • “The Problem With Immigration Lawyers and How to Fix It” [Dzubow/Asylumist via Legal Ethics Forum]
  • “Are NYC transit bus drivers prevented from calling police?” [Turkewitz]
  • “Circumvention tourism” is travel intended to sidestep medical regulation [Glenn Cohen, Prawfs]
  • Abolition of wasteful, arrogant California redevelopment agencies has Tim Cavanaugh ready to kiss a nurse in Times Square [Reason, similarly Gideon Kanner and Steven Greenhut]

Several environmental groups say objects accessible to visitors at Disney parks, such as brass knobs, test positive for lead. “The groups filed suit against Disneyland in April based on a California law that requires businesses to post warnings when lead levels in fixtures and other items exceed certain levels.” Lead in brass and similar stable alloys is often regarded as posing little or no danger as compared with lead in more readily ingestible forms, but has nonetheless been swept in for similar treatment under various ill-conceived laws. [Orlando Sentinel]


“When consumers in California visit the Dunkin’ Donuts website hoping to order a bag of their favorite java, they are met with the following message: ‘Important Notice: We are temporarily suspending the shipment of orders to California while we work to comply with Proposition 65 with the State of California. We apologize for any inconvenience.'” Acrylamide, a compound naturally present in many roasted or cooked foods, is among the hundreds of substances that must be warned against under Prop 65, which has led, as we noted in May, to a lawsuit against more than 40 coffee companies. [TechNewsWorld] Author Vivian Wagner quotes me:

“The law empowers private litigants to enforce its terms without having to show that any consumer has been exposed to any material or substantial risk, let alone harmed,” Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, told the E-Commerce Times. “As a result, entrepreneurial law firms roam the state identifying new, often far-fetched, unwarned-of risks and extracting cash settlements along with promises to warn from hapless defendants.”


The latest surprising application of California’s toxic-warnings law [Ken Odza]


May 12 roundup

by Walter Olson on May 12, 2011

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April 26 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 26, 2011

  • Study of how class action lawyers interact with their named clients [Stephen Meili via Trask]
  • California releases numbers on how bounty-hunting lawyers did in 2010 under Prop 65 environmental-warning law [Cal Biz Lit]
  • According to the tale, lender errors in foreclosure gave Florida borrower home free and clear. Actual story may be more complicated than that [Funnell]
  • The very long discovery arm of the Philadelphia, and Pennsylvania, courts [Drug & Device Law, more]
  • UK law firm “could face big bill” after sending thousands of file-sharing demand letters [ABA Journal]
  • Goodbye to men’s track at U. of Delaware, and the women’s team is suffering too, as often happens with Title IX [Saving Sports]
  • OSHA’s proposed “illness and injury prevention program” (I2P2) termed a “Super Rule” with potentially widespread economic impact [Kirsanow, NRO]


January 21 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 21, 2011

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has repeatedly delayed the implementation of the testing and certification rules required by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, the economics of which is likely to capsize many smaller producers. Now time may be running out for further extensions after the Feb. 10 deadline. [Rick Woldenberg,] Comments from affected parties are here.


Bruce Nye (Cal Biz Lit) and Michael Pappas (at Corporate Counsel) count the ways: “Why do I have to tell everyone that my grilled chicken, which is made the same way as my grandmother used to make it, may cause cancer?” (The answer being California-specific Proposition 65.)


Bruce Nye has a photo of a pointless new warning McDonald’s has posted in California stores to avoid litigation. The warning seems to have a side safety benefit: by the time you finish reading it, your coffee won’t be hot any more.


In legal settlements, that is, thanks to California’s Prop 65 [Cal Biz Lit] We’ve met the Center for Environmental Health before here and here.

P.S.: Bounty-hunting for lead residues has “sort of become big business in California” [Jennifer Taggart, quoted in the Washington Post]

Bruce Nye at Cal Biz Lit has the latest from the California Prop 65 front.


Rick Woldenberg talks back to the California attorney general, and also raises some questions about Proposition 65 and the finances of the freelance enforcers in the case, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH). Two years ago we covered CEH’s crusade against the iPhone. More: Darleen Click/Protein Wisdom and a followup from Woldenberg.

September 30 roundup

by Walter Olson on September 30, 2009

  • CBS declares victory as court dismisses Dan Rather suit [LA Times, Beldar, earlier]
  • Gordon Crovitz on new Harvey Silverglate book Three Felonies a Day [WSJ]
  • Controversy continues on Long Island over D.A.’s refusal to prosecute Hofstra false-rape complainant [Greenfield, earlier]
  • Latest publicity stunt by animal-rights group is to sue KFC demanding labeling of chicken as cancer-causing under California’s Proposition 65 [San Francisco Chronicle; more on soi-disant Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine]
  • “Hertz Sues Firm That Said It Might Go Bankrupt” [Business Insider, Corporate Counsel]
  • “What would Orwell make of a nation in which mothers are investigated for looking after each other’s children?” [Jackie Kemp, Guardian via Skenazy; earlier]
  • Power behind the throne? “New Cohen Milstein Practice Group to Help State AGs Sue & Litigate” [ABA Journal]
  • London restaurant stops asking customers to sign disclaimers if they want to order hamburgers rare or medium-rare [five years ago on Overlawyered]