August 24, 2007
Lead Paint Litigation Downturn
According to an article in this week's National Law Journal, lead paint litigation is on the decline. The article by Amanda Bronstad -- Lead Paint Litigation is Beginning to Fade -- points to recent rulings in New Jersey, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Ohio that have dimmed plaintiffs' hopes. Here's an excerpt:
A series of recent rulings have stymied public nuisance claims made by dozens of cities and counties to recover damages related to lead paint, which has been found to cause learning disabilities in children.
In June, the New Jersey Supreme Court found that public nuisance claims could not be used in a lead paint case brought by more than 20 counties and cities. That same month, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the city of St. Louis failed to prove that the paint companies in its suit caused a public nuisance. Also, a Milwaukee jury in June concluded that lead paint was a public nuisance but that the defendant, NL Industries Inc., was not liable for the damages.
At the same time, a decision by the Ohio Supreme Court this month to uphold a law that limits damages in public nuisance claims could affect more than a half-dozen lead paint cases brought by several cities and the state's attorney general.
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