Public Justice recently filed suit in federal and California state courts against CBS Broadcasting, Inc., Planet Toys, Inc., and several retail manufacturers in response to their production and marketing of CSI toy kits containing asbestos. Asbestos has been linked to mesothelioma, a deadly lung cancer, as well as other cancers, asbestosis and pulmonary fibrosis.
CBS licenses the toy, which is based on its popular CSI: Crime Scene Investigation ™ television program. Planet Toys is the manufacturer.
According to a Public Justice press release, the federal complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, alleges that CBS and Planet Toys were negligent in their quality control measures and that they promoted the CSI toys although they contained a hazardous and potentially lethal carcinogen.
In November 2007, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) released results of a study of a number of products, including the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation ™ Fingerprint Examination Kit. It was found that the CSI toy’s fingerprinting powder contained asbestos. The fingerprinting powder containing asbestos also can be found in related CSI toy kits, the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation ™ Field Kit and the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation ™ Forensic Lab Kit.
The story was covered in the news media, including CNN, in December 2007. On Feb. 21 CNN did a follow-up report and noted that the Planet Toys had not yet issued a recall.
Public Justice reports that in a meeting including representatives from ADAO, CBS and Planet toys in December 2007, CBS and Planet Toys agreed to remove some of the toys from store shelves, and to work with Public Justice to further test the toys. However, Public Justice reports that months later, there has been no joint testing, Planet Toys continues to deny the products contain asbestos, and there has been no recall.
The Public Justice press release quotes Linda Reinstein, executive director of ADAO, who says, “Our pleas for the companies to do the right thing have fallen on deaf ears. It is unacceptable and unnecessary to have asbestos in toys, and especially in powder form, its most dangerous state. Most Americans falsely believe asbestos has been banned, but our recent product testing results prove asbestos remains a threat to public health.”
The federal complaint is a class action suit that asks the defendants to “provide refunds to consumers, pay for asbestos testing of toys that have been opened, and pay for appropriate medical treatment for consumers who have been exposed to asbestos,” according to the release. The state lawsuit “seeks civil penalties for violations of the law, in addition to injunctive relief.
Read the full text of the Public Justice press release here. This site also contains links to the federal and California state complaints.
Public Justice is a membership-supported law firm with more than 3,500 members, comprised of trial lawyers, other attorneys, and public interest advocates worldwide.
ADAO is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the mission of “asbestos awareness, education, advocacy, prevention, support and a cure.”