Google and Apple Privacy Cases – Illegal Recording

Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri are voice—recognition software programs that allow individuals to use their voice to ask their Google and Apple devices questions and receive answers based on information on the internet. Many phone and home devices sold by Google and Apple have this feature preloaded and are prompted to respond to questions and prompts when they detect hot words such as “Hey, Google” or ”Hey, Siri.” However, since 2016, Google and Apple have been unlawfully and intentionally recording individual’s confidential communications and sending them to third parties to review without their consent. These recordings are often made without the hot words. Our firm is seeking to hold these companies accountable for disclosing consumers’ personal information and violating privacy laws.

Hexavalent Chromium in Leather Footwear and Gloves

Leather footwear and gloves are in high demand in today’s fashion industry and are ubiquitous in modern society. However, what most people don’t know is that most leather today is tanned using industrial chemicals including chromium. If strict protocols are not followed, the process leads to the formation of the highly toxic hexavalent form of chromium which leaches out of the leather and into the skin of consumers who wear the products. Hexavaient chromium is a known carcinogen and reproductive toxicant, the same chemical found in the water in Hinckley, California by Erin Brockovich. Our firm seeks to encourage the glove and footwear industry to reduce or eliminate exposures to hexavaient chromium from leather footwear and gloves.

Aliso Canyon Gas Leak

In 2015, Southern California Gas Company (“SoCalGas”) was responsible for the largest methane gas leak in United States history. Throughout the many months it took SoCalGas to stop the leak, the residents and workers at businesses in Porter Ranch, California were exposed to significant amounts of benzene, a highly toxic chemical known to cause both cancer and reproductive harm. Rather than warning the exposed individuals, SoCalGas told them there was nothing to worry about. LLG is playing a leading role in pursuing SoCalGas on behalf of local residents, businesses and environmental groups to redress this abhorrent behavior.

Quemetco Battery Plant – Lead and Arsenic Emissions and Exposures

The Quemetco lead battery recycling center in the City of Industry, California has polluted the neighborhood surrounding the facility for years and continues to emit lead and arsenic. The local residents are continually exposed to these toxic metals as a direct result of Quemetco’s operations. Our firm has filed suit to curb these illegal and unwarned exposures.

Arsenic in Bottled Water

Many consumers buy bottled water in hopes that is safer and healthier to drink, however testing has shown high levels of toxic metal arsenic in water brands like Starkey and Penafiel. Arsenic is a toxic metal that causes birth defects as well as cancers. We intend to hold these companies accountable for exposing consumers to arsenic and to force them to stop selling arsenic laced bottled water.

Coachella and SnowGlobe – Benzene Exposures at Music Festivals

People attending large music festivals like Coachella and SnowGlobe expect loud music, a raucous atmosphere, and good times with friends and family. Attendees do not expect to be exposed to high levels of benzene, a highly toxic petrochemical and known reproductive toxin and carcinogen. Benzene exposures are created when a large number of diesel generators are used to power lights and sound systems. LLG is pursuing the organizers of these festivals under Proposition 65 to require substantial reductions in benzene exposures, preferably by use of clean energy sources.

Acrylamide in Food

Acrylamide is a carcinogen that is found in cigarette smoke and is produced industrially for use in products such as plastics and grouts. High levels of acrylamide are also found in certain food products, including veggie chips, hash browns, french fries, animal crackers, ginger snaps, California-style black ripe olives, and prune juice. The food industry has known about the problem of acrylamide formation in food for over a decade, but fails to warn consumers that they are being exposed to this known carcinogen. LLG is representing the Center for Environmental Health in a series of Proposition 65 enforcement actions seeking to require retailers, distributors and manufacturers of these foods to provide such warnings or to reformulate their products to reduce the levels of acrylamide below those requiring a warning. These cases have already led dozens of major food companies to agree to substantial acrylamide reductions, including Snyder’s Lance, Kellogg, The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (makers of Terra and Sensible Portions brand veggie chips), Lamb Weston, Pepperidge Farm, Popchips and Kettle Chips.

Hexavalent Chromium Exposure in Paramount, California

Hexavalent chromium is the chemical made famous by Erin Brockovich in her case against PG&E. A number of metal plating businesses in Paramount, California are emitting significant amounts of hexavalent chromium thereby exposing individuals living and working nearby to one of the most potent and harmful known carcinogens. LLG filed an enforcement action against the polluters to remedy the ongoing harm. This case has already resulted in settlements with several facilities in the area that will drastically reduce emissions of hexavalent chromium into the surrounding neighborhoods.

Dow’s Telone (1,3-Dichloropopene) in Soil Fumigants

Telone is a soil fumigant manufactured by Dow AgroSciences that is comprised of 1,3-Dichloropropene (“1,3-D”), a known carcinogen. Telone was banned by the State of California in 1990 based on health concerns, but then allowed back on the market following lobbying by Dow. In 2002, the state Department of Pesticide Regulation loosened the restrictions on Telone over the objections of its own scientists who stated, “Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) scientists do not agree and suggest that [the new rules] may actually increase cancer risk.” More recently, DPR disregarded the input of the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment by further weakening its regulation of Telone. LLG is representing the Center for Environmental Health in a Proposition 65 enforcement action against Dow seeking warnings to bystanders about the carcinogenic risks of 1,3-D exposures posed by application of Telone in and around Shafter, California.

Keurig “Recyclable” K Cups

The problems associated with plastic waste management are increasing on a local, national and global scale. This affects the amount of plastic in the ocean, in freshwater lakes and streams, on land, and in landfills. Nearly 90% of plastic waste is not recycled, with billions of tons of plastic becoming trash and litter. As consumers become increasingly aware of the problems associated with plastic waste, they are increasingly susceptible to marketing claims reassuring them that the plastic used to make and package the products that they purchase are recyclable. Taking advantage of these concerns, and to respond to backlash about the wastefulness of its single serve coffee pods, Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. markets and sells its K Cups as recyclable, when the pods cannot in fact be recycled. LLG has filed a class action seeking to end this deceptive and unlawful practice and to recover refunds for affected consumers.

Styrene Exposures From California Plastic Manufacturing Plants

Processing and treating plastics also causes problems for local communities in which such facilities are located. Our firm is pursuing a number of companies under Proposition 65 for exposing their neighbors to styrene, a known carcinogen, without a warning. Companies being sued include Americh Corporation, Armorcast Products, Custom Fiberglass Manufacturing and J.B. Poindexter.

Lead in Molasses

Molasses is a common kitchen item used as a supplement, in baking and found in many foods consumed by children. However, many molasses products contain high levels of lead and acrylamide. We brought suit to stop these companies from exposing consumers to lead and acrylamide without providing clear and reasonable warnings about the chemicals in their molasses.

Lead in Musical Instrument Mouthpieces

Playing or learning a musical instrument can be a joyful and rewarding experience for both children and adults. Unfortunately, some mouthpieces used in brass instruments like trumpets, saxophones and trombones contain high levels of lead. Our firm is pursuing Proposition 65 enforcement actions to force companies like Guitar Center to use safer alternatives that will not expose musicians to toxic chemicals.

TCE Exposures From Senior Aerospace Ketema’s El Cajon Facility

Tricloroethylene (“TCE”) is an extremely toxic industrial solvent that became infamous as the chemical at issue in the book and film “A Civil Action.” LLG is pursuing Senior Aerospace, the operator of a major aerospace components facility in El Cajon, California under Proposition 65 for exposing nearby residents to this known carcinogen.

BPA in Thermal Receipt Paper

Thermal paper is used in thermal printers to print receipts from cash registers and credit card terminals, movie theater tickets, service estimates and other documents such as airline boarding passes and luggage tags. Some thermal paper is coated with a layer of bisphenol A or BPA. BPA is a highly toxic endocrine disrupting chemical that is also known to the State of California to cause birth defects and other reproductive harm. We have instituted a series of Proposition 65 enforcement actions against retailers, middlemen and manufacturers that use, sell or make thermal paper that contains BPA. The cases have already been successful in forcing large companies like H&M, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Del Taco, Southwest Airlines and AMC and Cinemark theaters to eliminate the use of BPA in their thermal paper.