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Bill Would Reduce Lawsuits Over Prop 65 Warning Signs

Aired 9/17/13 on KPBS News.

Those little signs that warn of potential chemical hazards in buildings have morphed into big money for lawyers over the years.

Those little signs that warn of potential chemical hazards in buildings have morphed into big money for lawyers over the years. Some attorneys seek out businesses whose signs are out of compliance and threaten to sue unless the owner settles.

But a bill sitting on Governor Jerry Brown's desk would reduce the chances for litigation. Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gatto has authored a measure that would charge owners a fine and give them a fixed period of time to bring their signs into compliance before they can be taken to court. Gatto said the suits have gotten out of control.

Capital Public Radio

A Prop 65 warning sign.

“They have brought suit against certain small business owners saying that their sign was one inch too small or that they failed to warn their customers that beer could cause cancer. Things like that,” Gatto explained.

Gatto said his bill would protect the public's right to know, while also shielding businesses from large legal feels. His measure doesn't address whether the signs are needed. Gatto also said he may take that issue up next year.

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