Monday, February 26, 2007

Judge Denies Motion for New Trial in RI Lead Paint Case

Article in the Wall Street Journal -- Judge Affirms Verdict Against Lead-Paint Makers, by the Associated Press.  Here's an excerpt:

A judge on Monday ordered three former lead paint manufacturers to clean up contamination in Rhode Island and said he would appoint a special master to advise him on exactly what the companies should be required to do. Lawyers and financial analysts have said the cleanup could cost more than $1 billion.

The decision by Providence Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein marks a major step forward in the state's lawsuit to force the companies -- Sherwin-Williams Co., NL Industries Inc. and Millennium Holdings LLC -- to clean up properties that contain toxic lead paint.

A jury last February found the three manufacturers liable for creating a public nuisance, and Judge Silverstein's 197-page decision affirms that verdict. Judge Silverstein did not predict a dollar figure or specify what the companies might have to do to fix the problem.

"Today's final ruling is validation of our long fight to protect the public health and to ensure that our hardworking taxpayers no longer have to solve the problem themselves," Attorney General Patrick Lynch said in a written statement.

Judge Silverstein also rejected the companies' motion for a new trial, saying the state presented enough evidence to support the jury's verdict. The companies said they plan to appeal to the Rhode Island Supreme Court.


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