(a) A person who violates or threatens to violate Section 25249.5 or 25249.6 may be enjoined in any court of competent jurisdiction.
(b) (1) A person who has violated Section 25249.5 or 25249.6 is liable for a civil penalty not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) per day for each violation in addition to any other penalty established by law. That civil penalty may be assessed and recovered in a civil action brought in any court of competent jurisdiction.
(2) In assessing the amount of a civil penalty for a violation of this chapter, the court shall consider all of the following:
(A) The nature and extent of the violation.
(B) The number of, and severity of, the violations.
(C) The economic effect of the penalty on the violator.
(D) Whether the violator took good faith measures to comply with this chapter and the time these measures were taken.
(E) The willfulness of the violator’s misconduct.
(F) The deterrent effect that the imposition of the penalty would have on both the violator and the regulated community as a whole.
(G) Any other factor that justice may require.
(c) Actions pursuant to this section may be brought by the Attorney General in the name of the people of the State of California, by a district attorney, by a city attorney of a city having a population in excess of 750,000, or, with the consent of the district attorney, by a city prosecutor in a city or city and county having a full-time city prosecutor, or as provided in subdivision (d).
(d) Actions pursuant to this section may be brought by a person in the public interest if both of the following requirements are met:
(1) The private action is commenced more than 60 days from the date that the person has given notice of an alleged violation of Section 25249.5 or 25249.6 that is the subject of the private action to the Attorney General and the district attorney, city attorney, or prosecutor in whose jurisdiction the violation is alleged to have occurred, and to the alleged violator. If the notice alleges a violation of Section 25249.6, the notice of the alleged violation shall include a certificate of merit executed by the attorney for the noticing party, or by the noticing party, if the noticing party is not represented by an attorney. The certificate of merit shall state that the person executing the certificate has consulted with one or more persons with relevant and appropriate experience or expertise who has reviewed facts, studies, or other data regarding the exposure to the listed chemical that is the subject of the action, and that, based on that information, the person executing the certificate believes there is a reasonable and meritorious case for the private action. Factual information sufficient to establish the basis of the certificate of merit, including the information identified in paragraph (2) of subdivision (h), shall be attached to the certificate of merit that is served on the Attorney General.
(2) Neither the Attorney General, a district attorney, a city attorney, nor a prosecutor has commenced and is diligently prosecuting an action against the violation.
(e) (1) (A) If, after reviewing the factual information sufficient to establish the basis for the certificate of merit and meeting and conferring with the noticing party regarding the basis for the certificate of merit, the Attorney General believes there is no merit to the action, the Attorney General shall serve a letter to the noticing party and the alleged violator stating the Attorney General believes there is no merit to the action.
(B) If the Attorney General does not serve a letter pursuant to subparagraph (A), this shall not be construed as an endorsement by the Attorney General of the merit of the action.
(2) A person bringing an action in the public interest pursuant to subdivision (d) and a person filing an action in which a violation of this chapter is alleged shall notify the Attorney General that the action has been filed. Neither this subdivision nor the procedures provided in subdivisions (f) to (k), inclusive, affect the requirements imposed by statute or a court decision in existence on January 1, 2002, concerning whether a person filing an action in which a violation of this chapter is alleged is required to comply with the requirements of subdivision (d).
(f) (1) A person filing an action in the public interest pursuant to subdivision (d), a private person filing an action in which a violation of this chapter is alleged, or a private person settling a violation of this chapter alleged in a notice given pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (d), shall, after the action or violation is subject either to a settlement or to a judgment, submit to the Attorney General a reporting form that includes the results of that settlement or judgment and the final disposition of the case, even if dismissed. At the time of the filing of a judgment pursuant to an action brought in the public interest pursuant to subdivision (d), or an action brought by a private person in which a violation of this chapter is alleged, the plaintiff shall file an affidavit verifying that the report required by this subdivision has been accurately completed and submitted to the Attorney General.
(2) A person bringing an action in the public interest pursuant to subdivision (d), or a private person bringing an action in which a violation of this chapter is alleged, shall, after the action is either subject to a settlement, with or without court approval, or to a judgment, submit to the Attorney General a report that includes information on any corrective action being taken as a part of the settlement or resolution of the action.
(3) The Attorney General shall develop a reporting form that specifies the information that shall be reported, including, but not limited to, for purposes of paragraph (2) of subdivision (e), the date the action was filed, the nature of the relief sought, and for purposes of this subdivision, the amount of the settlement or civil penalty assessed, other financial terms of the settlement, and any other information the Attorney General deems appropriate.
(4) If there is a settlement of an action brought by a person in the public interest under subdivision (d), the plaintiff shall submit the settlement, other than a voluntary dismissal in which no consideration is received from the defendant, to the court for approval upon noticed motion, and the court may approve the settlement only if the court makes all of the following findings:
(A) The warning that is required by the settlement complies with this chapter.
(B) The award of attorney’s fees is reasonable under California law.
(C) The penalty amount is reasonable based on the criteria set forth in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b).
(5) The plaintiff subject to paragraph (4) has the burden of producing evidence sufficient to sustain each required finding. The plaintiff shall serve the motion and all supporting papers on the Attorney General, who may appear and participate in a proceeding without intervening in the case.
(6) Neither this subdivision nor the procedures provided in paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) and subdivisions (g) to (k), inclusive, affect the requirements imposed by statute or a court decision in existence on January 1, 2002, concerning whether claims raised by a person or public prosecutor not a party to the action are precluded by a settlement approved by the court.
(g) The Attorney General shall maintain a record of the information submitted pursuant to subdivisions (e) and (f) and shall make this information available to the public.
(h) (1) The basis for the certificate of merit required by subdivision (d) is discoverable only to the extent that the information is relevant to the subject matter of the action and not subject to the attorney-client privilege, the attorney work product privilege, or any other legal privilege.
(2) Upon the conclusion of an action brought pursuant to subdivision (d) with respect to a defendant, if the trial court determines that there was no actual or threatened exposure to a listed chemical, the court may, upon the motion of that alleged violator or upon the court’s own motion, review the basis for the belief of the person executing the certificate of merit, expressed in the certificate of merit, that an exposure to a listed chemical had occurred or was threatened. The information in the certificate of merit, including the identity of the persons consulted with and relied on by the certifier, and the facts, studies, or other data reviewed by those persons, shall be disclosed to the court in an in-camera proceeding at which the moving party shall not be present. If the court finds that there was no credible factual basis for the certifier’s belief that an exposure to a listed chemical had occurred or was threatened, then the action shall be deemed frivolous within the meaning of Section 128.5 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The court shall not find a factual basis credible on the basis of a legal theory of liability that is frivolous within the meaning of Section 128.5 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
(i) The Attorney General may provide the factual information submitted to establish the basis of the certificate of merit on request to a district attorney, city attorney, or prosecutor within whose jurisdiction the violation is alleged to have occurred, or to any other state or federal government agency, but in all other respects the Attorney General shall maintain, and ensure that all recipients maintain, the submitted information as confidential official information to the full extent authorized in Section 1040 of the Evidence Code.
(j) In an action brought by the Attorney General, a district attorney, a city attorney, or a prosecutor pursuant to this chapter, the Attorney General, district attorney, city attorney, or prosecutor may seek and recover costs and attorney’s fees on behalf of a party who provides a notice pursuant to subdivision (d) and who renders assistance in that action.
(k) Any person who serves a notice of alleged violation pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (d) for an exposure identified in subparagraph (A), (B), (C), or (D) of paragraph (1) shall complete, as appropriate, and provide to the alleged violator at the time the notice of alleged violation is served, a notice of special compliance procedure and proof of compliance form pursuant to subdivision (l) and shall not file an action for that exposure against the alleged violator, or recover from the alleged violator in a settlement any payment in lieu of penalties or any reimbursement for costs and attorney’s fees, if all of the following conditions have been met:
(1) The notice given pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (d) was served on or after the effective date of the act amending this section during the 2013–14 Regular Session and alleges that the alleged violator failed to provide clear and reasonable warning as required under Section 25249.6 regarding one or more of the following:
(A) An exposure to alcoholic beverages that are consumed on the alleged violator’s premises to the extent onsite consumption is permitted by law.
(B) An exposure to a chemical known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity in a food or beverage prepared and sold on the alleged violator’s premises primarily intended for immediate consumption on or off premises, to the extent of both of the following:
(i) The chemical was not intentionally added.
(ii) The chemical was formed by cooking or similar preparation of food or beverage components necessary to render the food or beverage palatable or to avoid microbiological contamination.
(C) An exposure to environmental tobacco smoke caused by entry of persons (other than employees) on premises owned or operated by the alleged violator where smoking is permitted at any location on the premises.
(D) An exposure to chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity in engine exhaust, to the extent the exposure occurs inside a facility owned or operated by the alleged violator and primarily intended for parking noncommercial vehicles.
(2) Within 14 days after service of the notice, the alleged violator has done all of the following:
(A) Corrected the alleged violation.
(B) (i) Agreed to pay a civil penalty for the alleged violation of Section 25249.6 in the amount of five hundred dollars ($500), to be adjusted quinquennially pursuant to clause (ii), per facility or premises where the alleged violation occurred, of which 75 percent shall be deposited in the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Fund, and 25 percent shall be paid to the person that served the notice as provided in Section 25249.12.
(ii) On April 1, 2019, and at each five-year interval thereafter, the dollar amount of the civil penalty provided pursuant to this subparagraph shall be adjusted by the Judicial Council based on the change in the annual California Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, published by the Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Statistics and Research, for the most recent five-year period ending on December 31 of the year preceding the year in which the adjustment is made, rounded to the nearest five dollars ($5). The Judicial Council shall quinquennially publish the dollar amount of the adjusted civil penalty provided pursuant to this subparagraph, together with the date of the next scheduled adjustment.
(C) Notified, in writing, the person that served the notice of the alleged violation, that the violation has been corrected. The written notice shall include the notice of special compliance procedure and proof of compliance form specified in subdivision (l), which was provided by the person serving notice of the alleged violation and which shall be completed by the alleged violator as directed in the notice.
(3) The alleged violator shall deliver the civil penalty to the person that served the notice of the alleged violation within 30 days of service of that notice, and the person that served the notice of violation shall remit the portion of the penalty due to the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Fund within 30 days of receipt of the funds from the alleged violator.
(l) The notice required to be provided to an alleged violator pursuant to subdivision (k) shall be presented as follows:
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NOTICE OF INCOMPLETE TEXT: The Proof of Compliance form appears in the published chaptered bill. See Sec. 1, Chapter 510 (pp. 8–9), Statutes of 2017.
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(m) An alleged violator may satisfy the conditions set forth in subdivision (k) only one time for a violation arising from the same exposure in the same facility or on the same premises.
(n) Nothing in subdivision (k) shall prevent the Attorney General, a district attorney, a city attorney, or a prosecutor in whose jurisdiction the violation is alleged to have occurred from filing an action pursuant to subdivision (c) against an alleged violator. In any such action, the amount of any civil penalty for a violation shall be reduced to reflect any payment made by the alleged violator for the same alleged violation pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (k).
(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 510, Sec. 1. (AB 1583) Effective January 1, 2018. Note: See published chaptered bill for complete section text; the Proof of Compliance form appears on pages 8 to 9 of Stats. 2017, Ch. 510. Note: This section was added on Nov. 4, 1986, by initiative Prop. 65.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018