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Chuck Firth of Batavia, IL, loves cats. How much, you ask?

Well, according to Chuck, he and his family had as many as seven furry feline friends at one point. Multiple cats means multiple litter boxes, and a lot of cleaning up after they “do their business.”

Dissatisfied with the quality of “poop scoopers” on the market, Chuck set out create his own super-scooper: The Durascoop Original.

Unfortunately, more than 2,100 miles away, opportunistic plaintiffs’ lawyers were using an obscure law — California’s Proposition 65 — to file abusive lawsuits that threaten the future of the Durascoop.

“Prop 65” requires that any consumer products that contain any one of 800 different chemicals to include a warning label.  Because many of these chemicals can be found in a wide array of common, everyday, household products, the failure to properly label and meet requirements of Prop 65 has created a cottage industry for a handful of plaintiffs’ lawyers.

Under Prop 65, the plastic handle on Chuck’s Durascoop needed a warning label.  So, lawyers filed lawsuits that may have the impact of forcing Chuck to shut his doors, taking the popular Durascoop off the market for good.

Here are three reasons this lawsuit really stinks:

1) It Might Destroy an Innovative American Business.

“Owing my own business really was a dream come true,” according to Chuck.

But now, lawsuit abuse is turning that dream into a nightmare and could force Chuck to close his doors for good.

One less American business. Less Durascoops. More cat poop.

2) It Could Knock the Purrrrfect Pooper-Scooper Off the Market for Good

Cat lovers found the Durascoop Original to be the cat’s meow and it became the most popular  “pooper scooper” on the market.

These cat owners may soon be out of luck, however, thanks to plaintiffs’ attorneys who, according to Chuck, are “skimming off the backs” of innovators like him.

3) Plaintiffs’ Lawyers are “Skimming off the Backs” of Business Owners

Like cats to catnip, California lawyers were drawn to the money-making possibilities created by Prop 65.  In 2011 alone there were 338 settlements in Prop 65 cases, totaling more than $16 million dollars.  Who got the majority of this fancy feast of cash?  Plaintiff’s lawyers, of course, taking home about 75% of the settlement money.

As Chuck put it: “We created value where there was none before.  These guys are skimming off the backs of the people who are actually doing all the innovation, creating the value, adding  to the economy.  And they’re laughing all the way to the bank.”

If it sounds like something smells, it’s what the Durascoop scoops.

It’s the lawsuit.

65 comments

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  • “This product contains chemicals known to the State of California as having the potential to cause cancer.” How hard is that? Inept businessman deserves what he gets. Heard of product liability insurance? Everyone else has. Tell the complete real story.

  • My guess is you will moderate my previous sensible comment out of existence. You still can’t change the truth no matter how much you modify it. Please publicly prove me wrong.

  • Sure stinks to high heaven! Need to have some kind Super Scoop to clean up the lawyer poop scattered across the country!!

  • Ridiculous laws like this and the over reaching California bureaucracy are part of the reason I moved out of California. Me and all members of my immediate family are native born Californians, but enough is enough!

  • The only thing that smells here is the lawyer. With all the laws that are hidden it is almost impossible to cover all of them. Something like this could be pardoned as long as labels are produced for future sales.

  • There are two sides of the street; the plaintiffsd’ lawyers, and the defnese attorneys; they all “clean up.” (no pun intended).

  • There are two sides of the street; the plaintiffs’ lawyers, and the defense attorneys; they all “clean up.” (no pun intended).

  • Since it has been proven that of all the civil lawsuits in the world 95% are filed in the United States. The rest of the more civilized world uses arbitration to settle its civil lawsuits. What has happened to this countries priorities?

  • Just what you’d expect in a country were laws have gone too far. Is it really the lawyers fault when they’re handed a quick and easy way to make money?
    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but there are 50,000 laws on the books and unknowingly you violate more than one every day in one way or another and some carry felony status.
    Can you imagine how many more laws and regulations small businesses have to deal with? The safety police are now reaping the rewards.
    Repeal the laws and make the lawyers go away.

  • Thank God at least California has the common sense to protect consumers from toxic chemicals in products. And California labeling laws are hardly obscure. It is well know they have tougher standards than any other state. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to check the list when you decide to market your product there. Chemicals literally everywherre in our environment are causing all sorts of cancers and illness. He deserved to get sued.

  • I don’t have any use for lawyers, they are a big part of the problem in America. Lawyers will say you don’t like lawyers until you need one but the only reason I’d ever need a lawyer is because of lawyers. 60% of U. S. Senators and a third of the House are lawyers and they make the laws that require the use of a lawyer. It’s a giant money laundering scheme.

  • Put warning label on it and public is notified
    As if we do not know about the handles
    We love these product creators the lawyers are lazy

  • These types of lawyers are what give a bad name to law.
    The only thing worse is the Judges and judicial system that provide a breeding ground to prosper.

  • These lawyers are nothing but shysters who abuse a law that likely didn’t need to exist. Wonder which lawyers in the California Assembly and State Senate introduced and got the law passed? We have so many laws now. We need to sic the good guy lawyers on these sociopaths and stop them.

  • Calif. laweyers, as most others, are greedy bottom feeders as are most all, especially those in the
    white House and Washington.

  • This really is crappy! I love my durascoop! It is the best scooper we have ever had. Can we sue the lawyers for causing undued stress to a disabled person or for being total jerks? We have completely lost our way from what our ancestors wanted for this once great country. Too many foolish laws from too many crooked lawmakers. Time to go back to the basics.

  • I’m a maverick 84 year old lawyer and retired Army JAGC colonel. A law imposing all court costs and attorney fees on losing plaintiffs in cases of this type might help.

  • This is just another reason why all manufactures should avoid sales to the state of California. Don’t conduct business in or with that state, let them go fish.

    Offer to settle out of court, then send em a dollar each week until the debt is paid.

  • Obama’s agenda is to wipe out most small businesses and get as many people as possible on the government dole (and under government control). Obamacare and the mass of new taxes and regulations are killing off the American business spirit. This is insanity – how do the chemicals in a cat litter scoop harm the environment? Plaintiff’s lawyers are just helping Obama with his agenda – and making millions off the backs of entrepreneurs and small businesses.

  • These lawyers need to be stopped! They are basically ripping off people. Would you call this stealing? They are hurting our economy!
    This is as simple as I can put it. They are ridiculous!

  • Requiring a warning label on a product such as a “pooper scooper” is
    totally ridiculous. Assuming the chemical is in the plastic how is this ever going to be harmful? Who in their right mind is ever going to chew on and/or ingest any part of this product? This would never be given to a infant or toddler as a toy and no adult would put it in their mouth. Disposal of this product would just be put in any trash can or recycle bin.

  • I’m sure people could contain SOME of those chemicals… are we gonna label people, too? I sure hope the label on my contact lenses aren’t too big!!!

  • I used to think some lawyers were just high-priced used car Salesmen. Actually, I. Now think used car salesmen are a higher class of human. These so-called lawyers are nothing but thieves with a pen and high priced offices ! They should be the ones outlawed !

  • Who will these lawyers leach off of when Obama brings about the end of free market capitalism and there are no innovators and no people who are willing to invest all they have in resources and energy to create and build a business?

  • The people of California deserve everything they get now a days. The ultra liberal governments that they elect are steadily chasing people out of that great state. My advice, put a sticker on it that says. “Not For Sale In California” and then let them figure out what to do…

  • what do you call 10,000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start. This should never have even made it to court. How much is this costing the tax payer?

  • I am not a lawyer, only a business management consultant that works with companies that do global business. I work with companies to help avoid regulatory compliance issues. The following is what I share with them.

    Ignorance of the law is never a defense. Federal regulations and many state regulations require the government to perform the compliance detection and enforcement. That is the reason that there are few civil regulatory lawsuits attempting to enforce federal regulations.

    In California, in an attempt to avoid building a government division of enforcement, Prop 65 backers used the concept of civil enforcement, where a common citizen can bring suit in civil court to enforce the laws under the proposition. That opened the door for the suits we see here in this story. This is an example of the Law of Unintended Consequences, where the actions to avoid one unattractive outcome creates another unattractive outcome.

    The Prop 65 regulation is old – 27 years old – passed as a ballot initiative in 1986. If you are selling anything in California, it will need the label. You cannot walk into a retail store, restaurant, and many offices without seeing the warning sign posted up by the door, or printed on the product.

    It is up to the business to assure that they are aware of any regulations that impact their operating. Ignorance is never a defense.

  • Of course, these lawyers will tell folks that they are only trying to protect citizens. However, that is shown to be completely untrue in the fact that they go after monetary ‘damages’. If they were truly trying to protect citizens, they would push for the result of there being the required warning label on each product. If judges would open their eyes and do the right thing themselves, these lawsuits would result in correction of the issue versus a monetary damages settlement, for damages that aren’t even realized! Obviously, the lawmakers in California have zero foresight when making laws. What a lot of entrepreneurs should learn from these lawsuits is to never ship a product to California! Just leave them out. They are only in the business of finding some insignificant (or nonexistent) fault and going for the cash.

  • You’ve got to be kidding me!!!! This is way out of control, c’mon judges use some common sense, it’s things like this that kill our small businesses & are hurting America!!!

  • It is not any different than our own government sending in agencies like Department of Labor or EEOC to find reasons to close business down over what they call violations and charge the business thousands to millions of dollars over a business paperwork violations. Even if the business is well run they will find violations to fine over sometimes over $1,000.00 or more per employee for applications or other forms that were purchased from stores. I know someone who is going through that now and most of the employees are well paid and happy but it only takes one person to turn a company in and it can put a company out of business. A business has no rights.

  • According to California just about everything causes cancer. It’s a great distraction from dealing with the true culprit – smog.

  • I thought they had been passing laws a few years ago, to try to avoid “frivolous” law suits! What happened to those laws? And it was in CA. Very strange…. and by the way…. that stinks! LOL

  • The American Judicial History is lined with frivolous Lawsuits! Over the past Two Hundred (200) Years, Those Ill Gotten Judicial Gains have created Thousands of Very Wealthy individuals who, in turn, Support Politicians who Appoint Federal judges who become Supreme Court Justices like Supreme Court Judge Roberts who, In Spite of his Extreme level of Education, Had to Know the Tyranny that he was creating when He Chose To TURN HIS BACK ON AMERICA!!! GOD BLESS AMERICA !!!

  • I would make it a point to not sell anything in California. I would also counter-sue the lawyers to prove that my product causes cancer. Show me the first person who has contracted cancer from my product…with proof…and I’ll remove the product. I would make a “stink” about this and not back down. I’m going to lose nearly everything anyway so I’d go full gonzo on them.

  • Hey California, you have thousands of square miles of radioactive water headed for your shores, and you are worried about a cat scoop? It’s called priorities.

  • How about altering the proposition to say that 75% of the recovered money go to a fund for cancer patients? Aren’t they the ones it aims to protect?

  • Any Judge worth his salt could put a fix on this in a heart beat, and see justice done. He’d be hated by the lawyers, but loved by their people. Isn’t it horrible that people keep trusting a government that does nothing more than keep them ripped off??

  • We sell things mostly extremely high-end, specialized computers and appliances. We don’t ever sell anything to CA. It is a waste to even try. I don’t let any of my associates approach CA. We often work with independent contractors and, if they do business in CA, we request that they do not offer our products there. It hurts CA more than helps them. They are missing out on many excellent ventures. One day they might learn, laws do not make one safe, one makes one’s own self safe by watching, learning, and making those choices one deems appropriate for the moment at hand.

    Personally, I think the cancer potential is just that, a potential. Over-consumption of anything is possibly cancer causing. One can drown in a bathtub, perhaps Californians should wake up and ban any substance that contains water!

  • Getting tired of being robbed??? Then get up and vote for reforms!!!! These vampires are bleeding the nation dry! Stop voting for tree hugging liberals who are out of touch with reality. If they can’t introduce and pass these ridiculous laws, we won’t have to defend against the lawsuits that come with them!!! Wake up! We need tort reform now!

  • Um – can someone tell me why simply putting a label on the handle is an egregious burden? I mean – really?
    Will that minimum expense put this biz into bankruptcy? If so the profit margins for a scooper clearly dont justify the manufacturing costs – label or no.
    This is a silly thread – inane lawsuit to be sure – but a really simple solution. I dont get it.

  • I am starting a buisness and this made me think that I am not going to promote my product in CAli. I can’t afford a lawsuit and there is no way to keep up with all thier BS.

  • Gregg must be one of the California liberals who think more laws and regulations make it better not worse for us. Well your wrong Gregg!

  • This is the first litter scooper we’ve had that had worked so well…for so long! Those flimsy plastic ones need to be investigated…chronically breaking and need to be replaced ($$). This one should be the ONLY one that pet supply stores should stock!

  • this product is a tribute to “building a better mouse trap.” or finding a need and filling it.” A simple yet ,wonderful solution. I’m an attorney and cat lover and I think that most attorneys are spending way too much time figuring out how to hurt people rather then helping people in need. The lawsuit is just a bump in the highway to the inventor’s ultimate success. .

  • I recently purchased this item and I’m glad I did. It’s durable enough to last a lifetime and may well be the last one I’ll ever need to buy. I believe a movement must be started to push back against unscrupulous lawyers and law firms that are literally driving innovative entrepreneurs out of the marketplace. Surely there is a legal team out there somewhere willing to take on this injustice.

  • It’s California, what do you expect. It’s a liberal cesspool. Where the only way to make it in life is off of others money. Newest installment =Obama care. Yes this is horrible. There is only so much of this honest people will countenance. It may sound crazy but the fall of every great nation, and the rise of revolt has always come from this kind of abuse and over taxing. I hope the day comes soon so our children may see an honest world.

  • B. Reed has it right. Don’t sell ANYTHING in California! If you have a product, just require that it NOT be sold in California. Do not allow anyone doing business with your company to sell your product in California. It’s the only way t put a stop to these lawsuits before they begin. Perhaps finding themselves cut off from common everyday items readily available everywhere except within their state will push the people in California to push their politicians to put a stop to this madness. Until then, doing business in California just makes no business sense at all.

  • Ok, can’t there be some sort of warning like, “hey pal you have to put warning labels on these things!” Hit him with a small fine (that the lawyers can’t have any of) and be DONE! See if the lawyers don’t make any money out of it, then they wouldn’t even bother. But for someone NOT to know the 100billion pages of regulations should first be informed of the infraction, second if they don’t comply a fine will be added, I don’t see why lawyers need to be involved in this case unless he refuses to comply, by what I’m seeing here is Chuck Firth hasn’t even been given an opportunity to comply with the law but is being strong armed by money grubbing scoundrel lawyers!

  • This is so gross! Leave it to an attorney to find a way to steal money from hard working citizens is it any wonder why politicians and lawyers have so many jokes about them? Sadly, whatever law school they attended, taught them how to cheat to get their paycheck