As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

CA Lawsuit Watch

Let's turn D-Day into Court TV for a little while, shall we? There seems to be a spate of lawsuits going on in California. First, Debra Bowen has sued ES&S, a voting machine company, for selling systems that were not certified by the state to 5 counties. Bowen is simply fulfilling campaign promises here, though the company is screaming and crying about it.

Jerry Brown has made the strongest move to date against companies who profited from toxic toys made in China, suing Mattel, Toys "R" Us and about 20 other companies for "knowingly" selling the products with illegal amounts of lead.

The suit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, alleges the companies knowingly exposed children to lead and failed to provide warning of the risk, which is required under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, known as Proposition 65.

If the suit is successful, the companies could pay a $2,500 fine for each violation, according to the complaint [...]

The suit, which was joined by the Los Angeles city attorney’s office, also named as defendants Wal-Mart, Target, Sears, KB Toys, Costco Wholesale and others.

That could add up in a hurry, when you consider the millions of lead-filled toys in California that have been sold.

Meanwhile, the state isn't the only with prosecuting attorneys, as the auto industry is challenging the state's global warming law in a Fresno District Court.

Lawyers for car manufacturers, dealers and trade associations said California's 2002 law, the model for statutes in 11 other states, amounted to a requirement for higher gas mileage, a subject that only the federal government can regulate.

Although federal law allows California to take a lead role in reducing air pollution, Congress never "intended a single state to have such sweeping authority to unilaterally set national fuel economy policy ... and profoundly affect a vital national industry," said Raymond Ludwiszewski, lawyer for a trade group of international automakers.

But U.S. District Judge Anthony Ishii suggested that the industry's argument had been undercut by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in April upholding the federal government's authority to limit emissions of greenhouse gases.

The district judge will follow precedent here; this lawsuit is frivolous. But the point is to buy time. Meanwhile, the EPA is still foot-dragging on granting a waiver that would put the 2002 tailpipe emissions law into effect, and the state has sued the federal government over that.

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