The Yolo County District Attorney and 23 other local governments reached a settlement with Target that will cost the corporation $7.4 million.
The statewide lawsuit accused the Minnesota-based company of violating state laws when disposing of retail hazardous waste. An investigation alleges that between 2012 and 2016 Target improperly dumped electronics, batteries, aerosol cans, compact fluorescent light bulbs and medical waste such as over-the-counter and prescribed pharmaceuticals, and confidential medical information from its customers into a landfill.
“Our office helped initiate this investigation, was integral throughout the process of working with Target to modify their processes,” said District Attorney Jeff Reisig. “And in doing so helped ensure the safety of the public and the protection of the environment from improper disposal of hazardous waste by companies under their duty to follow our environmental regulations statewide.”
Attorney General Xavier Bacerra says Target's alleged actions harmed the public and the environment.
“We are confident that with these strong injunctive terms and penalties, Target will implement meaningful changes to prevent this from ever happening again.”
On Wednesday December 5, a settlement was reached in which the retail company will pay $7.4 million to the state of California.
Target has three retail locations and one distribution center in Yolo County.
This is the second time Target has settled a lawsuit over accusations of hazardous waste compliance violations.
In 2009, the California Department of Justice, along with several local prosecutors, filed a complaint against the company, saying the retail giant violated state statutes and regulations governing the handling of disposal of hazardous waste.
In 2011, Target paid $22.5 million for penalties, attorneys’ fees, and funding for supplemental environmental projects, and to comply with injunctive terms.
Throughout 2012 and 2014, prosecutors alleged that Target dumped more than 2,000 items of hazardous waste, including 174 pieces of confidential medical information of customers.
Prosecutors contacted Target about the violation after, they say, their findings represented just the tip of an iceberg statewide.
Prosecutors and Target entered into an agreement to revise the judgment from the 2011 settlement.
“The wise move for all companies is to abide by the law and employ proactive training and processes to help ensure that hazardous waste violations are avoided in the first place,” said Attorney General Becerra.