Proposition 65 Warning
OTHER INFORMATION OF INTEREST
Though SpeedWeed has always been in compliance with Proposition 65, and does not have enough employees to be be sued under Proposition 65 (businesses under 11 employees are exempt), the law firm Bush & Henry has chosen to pursue us anyway.
An interesting fact: lawyer David Bush advertises himself as a “cannabis attorney”, while simultaneously attacking the industry he claims to serve. Mr. Bush has been disciplined by the California State Bar multiple times, including having his license suspended disallowing him from practicing law for several years.
I wonder, does David Bush let his clients know that they are peddling product that he believes can cause cancer? Of course not. David likes money. Out of one side of his mouth he is a huge cannabis industry advocate. The other side of his mouth: he attacks the industry he claims to love.
Hey, hypocrisy is profitable!
Prop 65 was created with good intentions (clean water), but has created an industry of abuse by unscrupulous lawyers. Mr. Bush’s law partner Jennifer Henry has attempted to join SpeedWeed using false information on more than one occasion — this is not just unethical, it is illegal. Jennifer Henry could be disbarred on this issue alone: an option we are considering.
From the excellent cannabis industry website futurecannabisproject.org:
Here’s the team of Bush, Henry and DiPirro sending a 60 day Prop 65 violation notice to a garden hose maker, a tent maker, and a power tool rental company way back in 2001. DiPirro has been the plaintiff in cases dating as far back as 1997. There aren’t PDFs in the Office of the Attorney General database that go that far back, so it’s unclear whether Henry and Bush were the lawyers representing the plaintiff in those cases. The search results on the Prop 65 database show 36 pages (20 search results per page) of Michael DiPirro as the plaintiff in Prop 65 cases. Either this guy really really cares about the public good, or he really cares about the payout from suing companies across pretty much every industry imaginable.
Henry seems especially vigilant fighting for the public good, going after a book publisher for failure to warn, a tow rope maker, a bracelet maker, a pocket notebook maker, a toiletry bag maker, a beauty company, an LED flashlight maker, a tote bag maker, a rain coat maker, a calendar maker, another bag manufacturer and…well, you get the point. It seems that she mastered the craft while working for notorious Prop 65 abuser Cliff Chanler.
In a six-page letter to Clifford A. Chanler of Hirst & Chanler in New Canaan, Connecticut, former Governor and then Attorney General Jerry Brown said that Chanler and his clients’ tactics do not “appear to be in the public interest” and that his fees “may not be legally justifiable.”
“He takes advantage of small companies,” Edward G. Weil, a lawyer in Mr. Brown’s office, said of Mr. Chanler. “He pummels small, basically defenseless companies for small amounts of money individually for cases that should not have been brought in the first place.”
Appellate Justice David Sills, in one of the few Proposition 65 cases ever to reach the appellate level, blasted some private attorneys for “the absolutely generic boilerplate quality” of their notices. He included a mini-essay on “how simple it is for a hypothetical unemployed lawyer…to extract money from businesses” and concluded that in the case before him “instead of $540,000, this legal work merited an award closer to a dollar ninety-eight.”
These are dishonest people. If you are contacted by this firm or any of the firms listed below, call an attorney immediately — but do not respond or settle until they file their claim. These crooks are playing a numbers game. If you respond too quickly, they will pursue you for years. Their claim against us goes back to 2014, yet:
- They never received a delivery from us. If they had, they would have seen the Prop 65 Warning.
- They never served us the requisite 60-day notice.
- They did not mail us at the correct address.
- They did not have the correct company name.
- They did not check our number of employees to see if they even had the right to pursue us. (They don’t)
- They lied in court documents about our business practices, structure and ownership.
That’s right, attorneys David Bush and Jennifer Henry will lie in court documents and attempt illegal discovery in order to pressure you to deliver to them thousands of dollars.
We are currently under attack by this predatory law firm (for the second time) though they have no evidence to support their claim. Unfortunately, under Proposition 65, you are guilty until proven innocent.
If your dispensary is under attack by a Prop 65 Bounty Hunter, contact us and we will gladly assist.
We have contacted the LA City Council, the State Assembly, the Governor’s office and the California State Bar. We will continue to fight frivolous lawsuits and use all means at our disposal to expose these dishonest attorneys and have them disbarred for unethical and possibly illegal conduct.
Reprinted from prop65scam.com
Bounty Hunters Target Law-Abiding Businesses
These “bounty hunters” often go after businesses that are actually in full compliance with the law, but fighting the lawsuit is more expensive than just settling the case out of court. As an LA Times piece explains:
[T]he problem is that the law allows anybody to bring a case by finding a listed chemical in a product even if it is present in an amount 1,000 times below the ‘no observable effect’ level. The defendant can prove the level is meaninglessly low — but that is extremely expensive to do in court. Defendants end up settling with the plaintiff even when they are not liable, to avoid the expense of litigation.
Disproportionate Harm to Small Businesses
Any business, whether based in California or out-of-state, can be sued for violation of Proposition 65 by either the State of California or a citizen bounty hunter. While a larger corporation can more easily absorb the costs of such lawsuits, these lawsuits can devastate small businesses.
Small businesses are an easy target for lawyers specializing in Prop 65 litigation. They often lack the resources to fight a case in court and are more likely to settle cases out of court—a win for attorneys. Many are also unaware that they have to provide Prop 65 warnings if their establishments serve alcohol, have any exposure to tobacco smoke from customers smoking outside, or serve food items like coffee or burgers, which contain Prop 65-listed chemicals from the process used to roast or cook them.
Legislation passed by California’s legislature in 2014 slightly alleviates this burden by giving businesses with fewer than 25 employees a 14-day window to put up Prop 65 signage, pay a $500 fine, and avoid a lawsuit. However, the new law doesn’t set any limits on how much trial lawyers can reap in fees from these lawsuits or require stronger evidence from those who bring lawsuits that there actually is a Proposition 65 violation.
Some of these small businesses have had to declare bankruptcy because of the lawsuits that were filed against them. Rather than having ‘gotcha’ lawsuits, we have to have a more reasonable approach for dealing with the issue.
—Former Assembly member Art Torres, one of the authors of Proposition 65
When my business was sued under Proposition 65, it was clear that the lawyer was far more interested in collecting attorneys’ fees rather than protecting the environment….When small business owners like me can so easily become the victims of shakedown lawsuits, it hurts California’s business climate and makes it more difficult for our state to attract businesses and create jobs.
—Joe Derian, owner of Party Warehouse in Montebello
REPRINTED FROM CONKLELAW.COM
Public records identify at least the following law firms, attorneys and their associated plaintiff clients, who pursue multiple Prop 65 claims:
- The Chanler Group
- Represents repeated Prop 65 plaintiffs Anthony Held, Ph.D., P.E.; Whitney R. Leeman, Ph.D; Mark Moorberg; John Moore; Paul Wozniak; and Laurence Vinocur
- Lexington Law Group
- Represents repeated Prop 65 plaintiff Center for Environmental Health
- Yeroushalmi & Yeroushalmi
- Represents repeated Prop 65 plaintiff Consumer Advocacy Group, Inc.
- Aqua Terra Aeris Law Group
- Represents repeated Prop 65 plaintiffs Environmental Research Center; and Center for Advanced Public Awareness, Inc. (“CAPA”)
- Law Office of Daniel N. Greenbaum
- Represents repeated Prop 65 plaintiff Shefa LMV, Inc.
- Represents repeated Prop 65 plaintiff Mateel Environmental Justice Foundation
- Lucas T. Novak
- Represents repeated Prop 65 plaintiff APS&EE, LLC
- Custodio & Dubey
- Represents repeated Prop 65 plaintiff Ecological Alliance, LLC
- Sheffer Law Firm
- Represents repeated Prop 65 plaintiff Susan Davia
- O’Neil Dennis, Esq.
- Represents repeated Prop 65 plaintiff Alicia Chin
- Bush & Henry, Attorneys at Law, P.C.
- Represents repeated Prop 65 plaintiff Michael DiPirro
- Brodsky & Smith, LLC
- Represents repeated Prop 65 plaintiffs Gabriel Espinosa; Kingpun Chen; Precila Balabbo; Ema Bell; and Anthony Ferreiro
- Law Offices of Stephen Ure
- Represents repeated Prop 65 plaintiff Evelyn Wimberley
- Lozeau Drury
- Represents repeated Prop 65 plaintiffs Environmental Research Center, Inc.; and Community Science Institute
- Robert Hancock of Pacific Justice Center
- Represents repeated Prop 65 plaintiff Erika McCartney
- Khansari Law Corporation
- Represents repeated Prop 65 plaintiff The Chemical Toxin Working Group, Inc.
- Law Office of Joseph D. Agliozzo
- Represents repeated Prop 65 plaintiff Sara Hammond
- Glick Law Group
- Represents repeated Prop 65 plaintiff Kim Embry