Sherwin, NL, ConAgra Lose $1.1 Billion Lead Paint Verdict

December 16, 2013
Bloomberg

Sherwin-Williams Co. (SHW)NL Industries Inc. (NL) and ConAgra Grocery Products LLC were ordered by a judge to pay $1.1 billion to replace or contain lead paint in millions of homes after losing a public-nuisance lawsuit brought by 10 California cities and counties.

Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg in San Jose, California, today ruled against the companies after a non-jury trial that lasted about five weeks. Two other defendants, Atlantic Richfield Co., the Los Angeles-based unit of BP Plc (BP/), and Wilmington, Delaware-based DuPont Co. (DD), won dismissal of the claims against them.

The local governments that sued, including Los Angeles County and the cities of San Diego and San Francisco, broke the companies’ streak of victories in similar suits in seven different states.

Kleinberg rejected the manufacturers’ arguments that paint was “not the whole problem,” and that alternate sources of lead contribute to poisoning.

“The existence of other sources of lead exposure has no bearing on whether lead paint constitutes a public nuisance,” Kleinberg wrote. “It does not change the fact that lead paint is the primary source of lead poisoning for children in the jurisdictions who live in pre-1978 housing.”  (To read the entire article, please click HERE)