A federal judge has blocked lawyers from suing companies under California’s Proposition 65 over the presence of acrylamide in food, according to a report in Legal Newsline. The judge said it is far from settled science that acrylamide, a naturally occurring chemical, causes cancer in humans.
The California Chamber of Commerce sued California in 2019, saying the state was violating the First Amendment right to freedom of speech by forcing companies to make false statements on their products or risk financially ruinous litigation. Prop 65 requires companies to list any chemicals “known to the state of California to cause cancer” on warning labels.
The law includes a “private right of action” that allows lawyers to recover legal fees if they sue companies and win.
In a 31-page decision issued March 29, U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller in Sacramento granted the Chamber’s request for a preliminary injunction against further lawsuits over acrylamide, rejecting California’s arguments and the scientific evidence of its experts. Precedent from other Prop 65 cases holds that California can only require companies to provide information that is “factual and uncontroversial,” the judge wrote.