SAN LUIS OBISPO — San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow announced Monday, Nov. 2, that Ventura County Superior Court Judge Vincent O’Neill has ordered New Jersey-based Bed Bath & Beyond, Inc. (“Bed Bath & Beyond”) to pay $1,498,750 as part of a settlement of a civil environmental prosecution. This announcement was made after the settlement was negotiated by a consortium of prosecution offices, including 30 other California District Attorneys and the Los Angeles City Attorney.
The judgment is the culmination of a civil enforcement lawsuit filed last month in Ventura County Superior Court claiming that more than 200 Bed Bath & Beyond stores throughout the state unlawfully handled, transported and disposed of batteries, electronic devices, ignitable liquids, aerosol products, cleaning agents, and other flammable, reactive, toxic, and corrosive materials, at local landfills that were not permitted to receive those wastes.
Bed Bath & Beyond also does business under the following business names: Cost Plus, buybuy BABY, Harmon, Harmon Face Values, World Market, and Cost Plus World Market stores.
The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office, in collaboration with other district attorneys, city attorneys, and local environmental regulatory officials, conducted a series of undercover inspections of Bed Bath & Beyond store waste around the state. These inspections, and other investigation, revealed that Bed Bath & Beyond had sent regulated hazardous waste, including electronic items and batteries, from stores to local landfills throughout California.
When notified of the investigation, Bed Bath & Beyond took steps to cooperate and to dedicate additional resources toward environmental compliance and improving its existing regulated-waste management program, including by performing regular self-audits of its compactors and waste bins in California.
Under the final judgment, Bed Bath & Beyond must pay $1,327,500 in civil penalties and as partial reimbursement of investigation and prosecution costs, of which $38,100 will be paid to San Luis Obispo County for the work of the District Attorney’s Office and the San Luis Obispo County Environmental Health Division.
The company will pay an additional $171,250 to fund supplemental environmental projects furthering environmental enforcement in California. The retailer is also now legally required to comply with the terms of a permanent injunction issued by the Court prohibiting similar future violations of law.
This case was prosecuted by SLO County Deputy District Attorney Kenneth Jorgensen, who is assigned to the District Attorney’s Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit of the Special Prosecutions Division.