Ceramic Industry

SGCD Seeks Input on Proposition 65 Settlements (posted 7/25/07)

July 25, 2007
The Society of Glass and Ceramic Decorators (SGCD) is seeking companies that signed Boelter or other Proposition 65 settlements that can support a review of recent opt-in process and warning thresholds.

The Society of Glass and Ceramic Decorators (SGCD) is seeking companies that signed Boelter or other Proposition 65 settlements that can support California Attorney General (AG) Jerry Brown’s review of recent opt-in process and warning thresholds. The SGCD has offered to support these efforts to address and correct certain defects in the Proposition 65 opt-in settlement process utilized in the recent Boelter settlement for 205 glass and ceramic cases.

The SGCD has also formally asked Brown to carefully review how warning threshold standards are effectively established for an industry as part of private opt-in settlement negotiations, and to examine defects in the process that resulted in what the AG feels could be excessive fees for plaintiffs attorneys involved in the opt-in process.

To provide this support, the SGCD requires the assistance of Proposition 65 Boelter opt-in parties, or other parties or their customers, distributors and others who negotiated settlements with the law firm of Hirst & Chanler for plaintiffs Michael DiPirro, Russell Brimer, and Whitney Leeman. The SGCD seeks to pass on to the AG parties who are willing to speak with the AG’s staff and who fit either of two specific categories related to their Proposition 65 settlements:

1. Small retailers and foodservice establishments that could plausibly assert that they had no advance knowledge that lead was present in the glass or ceramic items that were targeted by the Proposition 65 plaintiffs. These parties would be required to indicate that they were willing to remove the questioned items from store shelves (or from use in their foodservice establishments) or to post Proposition 65 warnings. The AG noted in his letter to Cliff Chanler that such a defendant would have no Proposition 65 liability, and there would be little likelihood that a court would award a penalty.

2. Parties who negotiated a Proposition 65 settlement with plaintiff’s attorneys Hirst & Chanler or signed the Boelter opt-in settlement related to allegations for decorated glass or ceramic ware and who, as a result, are effectively precluded from purchasing decorated glass or ceramic ware products that do not comply with the standards set forth in the Boelter opt-in settlement even though they comply with the standards set forth in a consent judgment to which the original manufacturer or importer of the product (such as Libbey, Arc or Anchor Hocking) is a party. For example, the August 2004 consent judgment to which Libbey, Arc and Anchor Hocking, among others, are party entitles their respective customers to a downstream release of liability with respect to alleged Proposition 65 violations relating to decorated glassware that Libbey, Arc, Anchor Hocking and the other parties to the August 2004 consent judgment negotiated for the benefit of their customers. And the decorated glassware that Libbey, Arc or Anchor Hocking produce or import may not comply with the more stringent standards set forth in the Boelter opt-in settlement even though it complies with the August 2004 settlement.

Interested parties should contact SGCD Director of Public Affairs Andy Bopp at (703) 838-2810 or andyb@sgcd.org. The society’s website is located at www.sgcd.org.

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