$1.15B California Lead Paint Public Nuisance Order Trimmed

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By Peter Hayes

A $1.15 billion lead paint nuisance order against Sherwin-Williams Co., NL Industries Inc. and ConAgra Grocery Products Co. must be recalculated, a California appeals court ruled Nov. 14.

A lower court must retally the amount of the abatement fund to cover only those homes constructed before 1951, the appeals court said ( People v. Conagra Grocery Prods. Co. , Cal. Ct. App., 6th Dist., 11/14/17 ).

The impact of the case could extend well beyond California, broadly affecting public nuisance litigation in a wide range of areas, from climate change to opioids.

The ruling marks the first appeals court decision to at least partially affirm a lead paint public nuisance award.

While the decision is a partial victory for the companies, the court found sufficient evidence to support “wrongful promotions” of lead paint before 1951.

Santa Clara County and nine other California cities and counties sued the manufacturers in March 2000.

Judge Nathan D. Mihara wrote the opinion, joined by Judges Franklin D. Elia and Eugene M. Premo.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Hayes in Washington at PHayes@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at spatrick@bna.com

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