Retailers settle with Brown over toxic toys

Chris Rizo Nov. 6, 2009, 8:47am

Jerry Brown (D)

OAKLAND, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-Three national retail giants have agreed to pay a combined total of $454,000 in penalties to settle claims that they sold toys with excessive amounts of led in them.

Target Corp., Toys R Us Inc. and Kmart were sued by California Attorney General Jerry Brown's office and the Los Angeles city attorney's office in November. The settlement is expected to be filed today in Alameda County Superior Court.

The lawsuit claimed that the toys violated federal safety laws as well as California's Proposition 65, which requires companies and businesses to provide "clear and reasonable" warnings before exposing people to known carcinogens or reproductive toxins.

"Our enforcement action will serve as a reminder to companies that they have a responsibility to make sure that children aren't exposed to harmful chemicals from their toys," Harrison Pollak, a state deputy attorney general, was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying. "The settlement provides a remedy for past violations and makes it less likely that there will be future violations of lead standards."

Under the agreement Target will pay $210,000, Toys R Us will pay $175,000 and Kmart will pay $69,000.

In December, Brown and Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo agreed to a $1.8 million settlement with nine toy manufacturers, including Mattel Inc. and its subsidiary Fisher Price.

In that settlement, the companies agreed to stop selling any toys they know contain lead. The companies will also pay $550,000 for lead testing and improved notification to customers.

The toy companies paid $460,000 toward the cost of the investigation and another $548,500 for civil penalties, according to the terms of the settlement.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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