Attorney General Becerra Sues Distributor For Selling Jewelry With Excessive Levels of Lead and Cadmium

Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

LOS ANGELES – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today filed a lawsuit 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 is intended for children, and some have been mislabeled as “lead free.” These acts constitute a violation of California’s Metal Containing Jewelry Law and the Unfair Competition Law, and also constitute unlawful advertising. Attorney General Becerra filed today’s lawsuit jointly with the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) seeking injunctive relief to prevent Luxy from selling its stockpiles of non-compliant jewelry. 

“Lead and cadmium are highly toxic metals that can cause a host of physical and behavioral health problems at low levels of exposure, especially for our children,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Luxy has continued to blatantly violate our laws, and in the process, jeopardized the wellbeing of our sons and daughters. The California Department of Justice has zero tolerance for this type of egregious behavior. As the former Congressman from the area where Luxy is based, I know firsthand that the surrounding communities are sick and tired of the collective damage lead is causing their children.” 

In 2012, the California Attorney General’s Office sued Luxy and a number of other jewelry distributors for selling jewelry that contained excessive levels of lead. Luxy’s owner and sole employee, 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 Department of Justice obtained a default judgement against Luxy for $145,000 in penalties and injunctive relief. The Department of Justice has since used various judgment enforcement mechanisms to enforce the judgment. 

Last month, inspectors from DTSC, accompanied by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, 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 that are suspected to contain excessive amounts of lead and cadmium.  DTSC placed this jewelry under quarantine. The Sheriff’s Department removed the remaining jewelry and plans to sell it at a Sheriff’s auction on December 6, 2017, in South El Monte, to pay the outstanding judgment.  

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

# # #