9th Circuit

Shortly after home securities corporation Kwikset packed up its Anaheim, Calif., factory to outsource some of its manufacturing to Mexico in 2000, Anaheim resident James Benson purchased a Kwikset lock and was struck and angered by the "Made in the USA" label on the packaging. In a heated move to call Kwikset on its deception--several of the lock's components were imported from or manufactured elsewhere--Benson filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all consumers, stating Kwikset practiced false advertising to appeal to a patriotic public.

A judge eventually found Kwikset--and parent company Black & Decker--in violation of federal law, and the FTC ordered the company to cease mislabeling its locks. Kwikset lawyers appealed.

That doesn't sit well with Prop. 64's biggest detractors: environmental and consumer groups. Carmen Balber, a consumer advocate at the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, says protecting privacy rights, and allowing private citizens to sue over consumer fraud and environmental issues is necessary, whether or not they lost money or incurred injury.

"It's draconian," she says. "This is moneyed corporations reaping the benefits of 64 to get out of damaging lawsuits and their responsibilities."

staff Writer

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