Ron Freitas
District Attorney
RON FREITAS District Attorney, San Joaquin County
Protecting Our Community Since 1850 222 E. Weber Avenue, Room 101, Stockton, CA
P. O. Box 990, Stockton, CA 95201
T (209) 468-2400 | F (209) 465-0371
News from the Office of District Attorney Ronald J. Freitas
For Immediate Release
February 13, 2024
CONTACT: Erin Haight, Public Information Officer
T: (209) 414-9057 | E:

SJC District Attorney's Office takes the lead in filing an environmental hazard case against Quest Diagnostics

District Attorney Ron Freitas takes the lead in environmental prosecutions with the filing against Quest Diagnostics, Inc., in San Joaquin County Superior Court to address claims that the diagnostic laboratory company unlawfully disposed of hazardous and medical waste, as well as, protected health information at its facilities statewide. As part of the filing, Quest Diagnostics will be required to pay nearly $5 million for penalties, costs, and supplemental environmental projects and make significant changes to its operations and practices at its California facilities. 


The filing is the result of over 30 inspections conducted by the district attorneys' offices at Quest Diagnostics laboratories and Patient Service Centers (PSCs) statewide. During those inspections, the district attorney’s office reviewed the contents of Quest Diagnostics’ compactors and dumpsters and found hundreds of containers of chemicals, as well as bleach, reagents, batteries, and electronic waste; unredacted medical information; medical waste such as used specimen containers for blood and urine; and hazardous waste such as used batteries, solvents, and flammable liquids. The unlawful disposals are alleged to violate the Hazardous Waste Control Law, Medical Waste Management Act, Unfair Competition Law, and civil laws prohibiting the unauthorized disclosure of personal health information.


District Attorney Ron Freitas wants to make it clear; Californians need to know that when they visit their doctor, they are not harming the environment or having their identities put at risk. The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office is proud to be a leader in environmental protection and a leader in prosecuting institutions regardless of their degree of establishment.


"Through our meticulous waste audits, it came to light that Quest Diagnostics may have encountered challenges in properly managing confidential patient data, medical waste, and hazardous materials”, says Freitas. “Our initial inquiry in San Joaquin County prompted us to engage with relevant agencies. Subsequent audits conducted at Quest's laboratories shed further light on potential mismanagement issues. This underscores the significance of maintaining robust waste management practices in healthcare to uphold patient confidentiality and ensure public safety."


The filing requires Quest Diagnostics to pay $3,999,500 in civil penalties, $700,000 in costs, and $300,000 for a Supplemental Environmental Project to support environmental training and enforcement in California. The settlement also imposes requirements that Quest Diagnostics maintain an environmental compliance program, including hiring a third-party waste auditor, and report annually on its progress. 


 This is the third filing by SJCDA  in San Joaquin County Superior Court in 6 months including Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc for $49 million Tesla for $1.5 Million and Quest Diagnostics for $5 Million.