May 13, 2008
R.I. Supreme Court Will Webcast Arguments in Lead Paint Nuisance Appeal
The much-anticipated oral arguments in the various appeals in Rhode Island v. Lead Industries Association will be webcast over the internet on May 15, 2008. Arguments begin at 9:00 AM EDT. At trial, the defendants were found liable on a public nuisance theory for abatement costs stemming from the use of lead-based paints decades ago. Of the several issues on appeal, two are of particular interest: (1) whether the manufacturing and sale of lead-based paint was, at the time, a public nuisance, and (2) the state's use of a contingent fee agreement with private counsel to prosecute the state's case. Similar suits in other states have been rejected with courts essentially finding that a lawful activity, not known to be dangerous at the time of the activity, cannot amount to a public nuisance. The second issue raises the essential question of whether counsel with a financial interest in the outcome of the litigation can maintain the degree of neutrality demanded by prosecutions in the public interest.
May 13, 2008 | Permalink
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