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Rite Aid Corp. to pay more than $12 million to settle lawsuit

City News Service | 9/24/2013, 1:38 p.m.

Rite Aid Corp. was ordered today to pay more than $12.3 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged employees at about 600 California stores unlawfully handled and disposed of hazardous materials, such as bleaches and pesticides, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said.

The judgment requires Rite Aid Corp. to pay $10.35 million in penalties and costs. The Los Angeles Count District Attorney’s Office will get $1.325 million in civil penalties and cost recovery, according to Lacey.

Rite Aid Corp., based in Camp Hill, Pa., must also pay $332,000 in civil penalties and cost recovery to Los Angeles County environmental regulators.

The company also must pay for environmental projects that further consumer protection and environmental enforcement in the state.

The judgment marks the culmination of a environmental protection lawsuit filed this month by the district attorneys of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Joaquin Counties. In all, 52 district attorneys from California and two city attorneys joined in the action, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

The case began with an investigation in the fall of 2009 by local environmental health agencies and expanded with a series of waste inspections at Rite Aid facilities and landfills across the state, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

The products allegedly discarded included pesticides, bleach, paint, aerosols, automotive products and solvents, pharmaceutical and bio-hazardous wastes and other toxic, ignitable and corrosive materials.

Rite Aid Corp. now works with state-registered haulers to document, collect and dispose of hazardous waste produced through damage, spills and returns, and has implemented a computerized scanning system and other environmental training to manage its waste, according to the District Attorney’s Office.