The Northern District of Georgia court overseeing a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) lawsuit against Home Depot U.S.A. Inc. has entered the consent decree agreed to by the defendant and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Utah, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts in November 2020. Last Thursday’s order officially memorializes the $20.75 million civil penalty Home Depot is to pay, and the lead paint compliance measures it must implement.
By way of background, the EPA investigated Home Depot after consumers from several states complained about substandard renovations in residences containing lead-based paint. The EPA concluded that Home Depot’s sub-contractors failed to use lead-safe practices, clean up properly, furnish residents with lead-based paint information, and maintain compliance records as required by law. The investigation also determined that Home Depot improperly sent uncertified firms to do EPA Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule jobs.
The EPA and the states filed suit on Dec. 17, 2020, the same day that the federal government announced the settlement, which reportedly boasts the highest Toxic Substances Control Act penalty in the law’s history. Prior to judicial approval, the consent decree was subject to a 30-day public comment period.
Last week’s 89-page consent decree describes the nuances of the parties’ agreement, including the compliance requirements. The agreement obligates Home Depot to first comply with the TSCA and its implementing regulations. The company must also revamp its contractor protocols to ensure compliance with the RPP Rules, and, among other things, to develop an RRP Rules educational program complete with online and in-store materials.
The consent decree states that through its entry, the court confirms that it was negotiated in good faith, and is fair, reasonable, and in the public interest. The filing also states that the defendant admits no fault or liability.
The states are represented by their respective counsel, the federal government by the U.S. Department of Justice, and Home Depot by King & Spalding LLP.