For release on October 25, 2019
Supervising Deputy District Attorney
Environmental Protection Unit
Service King Collision Repair Chain Settles Hazardous Waste Case
with California District Attorneys for $2.35 Million
A major operator of collision repair shops in California will pay $2.35 million as part of a settlement in a civil environmental protection lawsuit that alleged the mishandling of hazardous waste and materials.
This week, a judge in Alameda County ordered $1.35 million in civil penalties to be paid by Service King, a Texas company that owns and operates 42 auto body repair facilities throughout California. The case was prosecuted by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, along with 10 other DA offices from northern and southern California. Service King operates five locations in Santa Clara County.
Supervising Deputy District Attorney Bud Porter said, “This case sends a clear message to other businesses that service cars in Santa Clara County and across the state, no matter how large or small the operation; Train your employees to not put toxic or flammable materials in the dumpster and take measures to protect your customers’ information.”
The investigation began in 2016 when Alameda County DA investigators conducted undercover inspections of Service King’s trash containers, revealing the illegal disposal of hazardous waste, such as sanding dust and pads, body filler, paint, solvents, and non-empty aerosols. DA investigators from Santa Clara, San Diego, San Bernardino, and Orange counties conducted additional inspections and found the same problems. The settlement also resolves allegations that the company failed to redact or shred confidential customer information before throwing the paperwork into the trash.
In addition to paying civil penalties, Service King was ordered to pay $350,000 for the cost of the investigation, $150,000 for supplemental environmental projects, and $500,000 for enhancements to its environmental compliance program. Service King cooperated with the investigation and took steps to improve its compliance with the environmental and consumer protection laws brought to its attention by prosecutors.
The Service King settlement follows recent, similar prosecutions by California’s DA offices against companies in the automotive service and repair industry, for violations of the state’s environmental and consumer protection laws, including settlements in 2018 with AutoNation ($3.3 million) and Cooks Collision ($1.5 million).