California companies face possible lawsuits over flame retardants in products

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Partner Melissa A. Jones was recently quoted in the California legal newspaper Daily Journal about the anticipated wave of consumer product lawsuits concerning the flame-retardant chemical chlorinated tris (or TDCPP). The chemical was recently listed under the state's toxics warning law, Proposition 65 ("Prop 65"). That law requires companies to provide a warning on any product that exposes the public to a chemical on Prop 65's list, including TDCPP.

Two plaintiff's firms, the story reports, are threatening to file lawsuits against over 100 large and small retailers and manufacturers.

Jones pointed out the inherent difficulty that companies face with such lawsuits. With the newly listed chemicals, she explained, there is not yet agreement on what levels should legally require a warning and there are no previous settlements to help guide companies and attorneys.

"You don't have the history, background and years of litigation like you do with other Prop. 65 chemicals," she said. "The defense bar is going to have to help their clients decide what is defensible, . . . whether there's an actual violation of Prop. 65 and whether it makes sense to defend the case or settle … and limit defense cost fees."

"Companies face wave of lawsuits over flame retardants in products" was published on the front page of the San Francisco and Los Angeles editions of the Daily Journal, February 13, 2013. Subscription required

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Melissa A. Jones
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