Attorney General Becerra Secures $1.6 Million Judgment Against Seller of Lead and Cadmium Tainted Jewelry

LOS ANGELES – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced today that the Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) secured a default judgment against Luxy Accessory, Inc. (Luxy), a jewelry distributor based in Los Angeles, and its owner Hyun Sook Kim for selling jewelry with excessive levels of lead and cadmium. Much of the jewelry was intended for children, and some was mislabeled as “lead free.” These acts constitute a violation of California’s Metal Containing Jewelry Law and the Unfair Competition Law. They also constitute unlawful advertising. The judgment consists of $1,626,000 in civil penalties and an order to comply with all statutes and regulations applicable to the manufacture, distribution, or sale of jewelry in California.

“We’re holding Luxy accountable, as it should be. Lead and cadmium are highly toxic metals that can cause serious physical and behavioral health problems even at low levels of exposure. This is especially true for our children,” said Attorney General Becerra. “I’ve seen firsthand how working families are too often the victims of the collective damage lead can cause to children. Today’s judgment should send a strong message to all: the California Department of Justice will aggressively prosecute those who violate our laws and jeopardize the well-being of our sons and daughters.”

In 2012, the Attorney General and DTSC jointly sued Luxy and a number of other jewelry distributors for selling jewelry that contained excessive levels of lead. Luxy’s owner and sole proprietor, Hyun Sook Kim, failed to respond to the lawsuit and ignored repeated attempts that were made to contact her. As a result, in 2014, the Attorney General’s Office obtained a default judgment against Luxy for $145,000 in penalties and injunctive relief.

The present case arises from subsequent inspections. Last November, inspectors from DTSC returned to Luxy’s warehouse to inspect all of its jewelry for lead and cadmium. Using field screening devices, the inspectors identified approximately 150 boxes of jewelry suspected to contain excessive amounts of lead and cadmium. DTSC seized the jewelry while conducting laboratory testing to confirm the violations. The Attorney General’s Office obtained a preliminary injunction against Luxy in January to prevent it from selling any more noncompliant jewelry, and the Court has now issued the default judgment after Luxy and its owner failed to appear in court.

A copy of the judgment is attached to the electronic version of this release at www.oag.ca.gov/news.

View photos of the noncompliant jewelry items here: https://dtsc.ca.gov/upload/Jewelry_Slideshow_dec2017.pdf

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California Attorney General Xavier Becerra / Tuesday, April 24, 2018

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