CALIFORNIA - A civil lawsuit involving eight California counties and one of the largest home improvement stores in the country has been settled.
After a nearly three-year investigation, Home Depot will be shelling out nearly 30-million dollars for environmental and customer privacy violations.
To be specific, Home Depot USA Incorporated was ordered to pay 27.84-million dollars to resolve the allegations. Prosecutors from Monterey County, seven other counties, and the California Attorney General's Office alleged that more than 300 Home Depot stores and distribution centers around the state unlawfully and routinely disposed hazardous wastes into local landfills. They also alleged that employees were tossing documents containing sensitive customer information into store trash bins, potentially exposing information to identity thieves.
"We think it's a fair settlement in that it will serve to help protect the environment and that's one of the main goals of our unit in our office is to try and do whatever we can to try to preserve this wonderful environment that we have here in Monterey County and in the state of California. It will also help protect consumers from having their records disclosed," said Monterey County Deputy District Attorney Jim Burlison.
The Monterey DA's office tells us Home Depot cooperated with the investigation throughout the entire process and has changed their practices to comply with the law. They've also agreed to terms that state any similar future violations are prohibited.
As for where the nearly 29 million dollars will go, it will be split up between the attorney general's office and the eight counties involved, and will most likely go towards law enforcement and environmental agencies around the state.