California Agency Files Motion to Reassign LA Superior Court Judge

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has filed a motion seeking to re-assign the Los Angeles Superior Court Judge presiding over the Proposition 65 Coffee litigation.

Elihu M. Berle, the Los Angeles County Superior Court judge who rendered the controversial ruling in March that required Coffee roasters to provide a Proposition 65 warnings with a cup of Joe, in September issued an injunction that would prevent the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment with its proposed regulation to exempt coffee from Proposition 65 Warning requirements because the agency determined that coffee poses no significant risk of cancer.

OEHHA, the state agency that overseas Proposition 65 is asking the court to remove Berle from a related injunction case, citing a perception of prejudice and a lack of impartiality on his part.

The Coffee litigation has been brewing since 2011 when the lawsuit alleged that Starbucks and dozens of other coffee roasting companies did not provide “clear and reasonable warnings” sufficient to satisfy the requirements of Proposition 65, which requires cancer warnings for certain products containing listed chemicals identified by the State as carcinogens.

With respect to coffee, the chemical in question is acrylamide–which occurs in many food products such as in toasted bread, potato chips and many other starchy cooked products that are transformed by a chemical reaction known as the Maillard reaction.

While there is no factual finding that acrylamide in food products is carcinogenic, it remains on the carcinogen list because when it was listed by the state, the listing was based on the chemical’s use in industrial applications such as its use in solvents and in forming grouting materials.

Scientists from Sweden discovered the Maillard Reaction in 2002.

At present, there is no existing scientific research to suggest a positive association between acrylamide in coffee and the incidence of cancer in humans.

Now the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is asking the court to remove Berle from a related injunction case, citing a perception of prejudice and a lack of impartiality.

Numerous public agencies, along with coffee industry associations, have argued that the court’s March ruling was in poor judgment and that it only serves to confuse consumers given the fact that coffee has been proven to be a healthy drink that potentially decreases the likelihood of contracting certain types of cancers.

One of those agencies is the OEHHA, which oversees Prop 65 and has proposed changing the legislation to exempt coffee from the list of products carrying cancer warnings.

The plaintiff in the original lawsuit, a secretive organization the goes by the name Council for Education and Research on Toxics, filed an injunction request in September seeking to prevent OEHHA from moving forward with the proposed change. Now, in this remarkable reversal, one state agency is seeking the removal of a state judge. OEHHA is asking for the removal of Berle from the injunction case.

In an Oct. 12 filing, OEHHA chief counsel Carol Monahan Cummings asked for Berle’s reassignment from the case, arguing that the judge is “prejudiced against” OEHHA or its interests, and not able to deliver an impartial trial or hearing in the case.

Numerous public agencies, along with coffee industry associations, have argued that the court’s March ruling was the result of extremely poor judgment and that it only serves to confuse consumers given the fact that coffee has been proven to be a healthy drink

that potentially wards off certain cancers.

One of those agencies is the OEHHA, which oversees Prop 65 and has proposed changing legislation to exempt coffee from the list of products carrying cancer warnings.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit, an obscure organization named Council for Education and Research on Toxics filed an injunction request in September seeking to prevent OEHHA from moving forward with its’ proposal to exempt brewed coffee. The Judge refused to postpone the trial to the trial pending finalization of a proposed regulation by the OEHHA that would essentially nullify his verdict by exempting Proposition 65 warnings for coffee.

California Agency Files Motion to Reassign LA Superior Court Judge

 

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has filed a motion seeking to re-assign the Los Angeles Superior Court Judge presiding over the Proposition 65 Coffee litigation.

Elihu M. Berle, the Los Angeles County Superior Court judge who rendered the controversial ruling in March that required Coffee roasters to provide a Proposition 65 warnings with a cup of Joe, in September issued an injunction that would prevent the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment with its proposed regulation to exempt coffee from Proposition 65 Warning requirements because the agency determined that coffee poses no significant risk of cancer.

OEHHA, the state agency that overseas Proposition 65 is asking the court to remove Berle from a related injunction case, citing a perception of prejudice and a lack of impartiality on his part.

The Coffee litigation has been brewing since 2011 when the lawsuit alleged that Starbucks and dozens of other coffee roasting companies did not provide “clear and reasonable warnings” sufficient to satisfy the requirements of Proposition 65, which requires cancer warnings for certain products containing listed chemicals identified by the State as carcinogens.

With respect to coffee, the chemical in question is acrylamide–which occurs in many food products such as in toasted bread, potato chips and many other starchy cooked products that are transformed by a chemical reaction known as the Maillard reaction.

While there is no factual finding that acrylamide in food products is carcinogenic, it remains on the carcinogen list because when it was listed by the state, the listing was based on the chemical’s use in industrial applications such as its use in forming grouting materials.

Scientists from Sweden discovered the Maillard Reaction in 2002.

At present, there is no existing scientific research to suggest a positive association between acrylamide in coffee and the incidence of cancer in humans.

Now the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is asking the court to remove Berle from a related injunction case, citing a perception of prejudice and a lack of impartiality.

Numerous public agencies, along with coffee industry associations, have argued that the court’s March ruling was in poor judgment and that it only serves to confuse consumers given the fact that coffee has been proven to be a healthy drink that potentially wards off certain types of cancers.

One of those agencies is the OEHHA, which oversees Prop 65 and has proposed changing the legislation to exempt coffee from the list of products carrying cancer warnings.

The plaintiff in the original lawsuit, a secretive organization the goes by the name Council for Education and Research on Toxics, filed an injunction request in September seeking to prevent OEHHA from moving forward with the proposed change. Now, in a remarkable occasion in which one state agency is seeking the removal of a state judge, OEHHA is asking for the removal of Berle from the injunction case.

In an Oct. 12 filing, OEHHA chief counsel Carol Monahan Cummings asked for Berle’s reassignment from the case, arguing that the judge is “prejudiced against” OEHHA or its interests, and not able to deliver an impartial trial or hearing in the case.

Numerous public agencies, along with coffee industry associations, have argued that the court’s March ruling was in poor judgment and that it only serves to confuse consumers given the fact that coffee has been proven to be a healthy drink that potentially wards off certain cancers.

One of those agencies is the OEHHA, which oversees Prop 65 and has proposed changing legislation to exempt coffee from the list of products carrying cancer warnings.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit, an obscure organization named Council for Education and Research on Toxics filed an injunction request in September seeking to prevent OEHHA from moving forward with its’ proposal to exempt brewed coffee. The Judge refused to postpone the trial to the trial pending finalization of a proposed regulation by the OEHHA that would essentially nullify his verdict by exempting Proposition 65 warnings for coffee.

LA Superior Judge Elihu Berle ruled that coffee sold in California must carry a Prop 65 warning

 

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