Industry News

NPCA Hails Rhode Island Supreme Court Ruling Overturning Superior Court Judgment against Former Manufacturers of Lead Pigment

Published on 2008-07-09. Author : SpecialChem

Washington, D.C. -- The National Paint and Coatings Association (NPCA) applauds the ruling by the Rhode Island Supreme Court, overturning a 2006 jury verdict against former manufacturers of lead pigment used in house paint decades ago. NPCA, which filed an amicus brief with the Rhode Island Supreme Court in the state's public nuisance action against former lead pigment manufacturers (Rhode Island v. LIA, et al), hailed the Supreme Court decision as consistent with the state's precedence of applying public nuisance doctrine, as well as all other major state supreme court rulings, including New Jersey, Missouri, and Illinois, involving historical lead-based paint and pigment sales.

Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice Frank J. Williams wrote for the court, "We conclude that the state has not and cannot allege any set of facts to support its public nuisance claim that would establish that defendants interfered with a public right or that defendants were in control of the lead pigment they, or their predecessors, manufactured at the time it caused harm to Rhode Island children."

"The attempt by plaintiffs' attorneys and state legal officers to stretch public nuisance theory far beyond its normal applications to avoid statutes of limitations and other requisite legal boundaries has now been summarily rebuked by the Rhode Island Supreme Court," said Thomas J. Graves, NPCA Vice President and General Counsel.

Unburdened by this state-sponsored lawsuit, NPCA believes that state enforcement and health agencies should concentrate fully on their legislative and regulatory policy that emphasizes lead-safe housing and lead exposure recognition, education, and prevention. Rhode Island's public policy has brought the number of childhood lead cases down to low single-digit percentages, and is on target to meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Goal 2010 for all states to eradicate childhood lead poisoning. This policy, as in many other states such as New Jersey, Maryland, and Wisconsin, puts the onus on the landlord to keep housing in lead-safe condition, according to federal, state, and local rules.

The National Paint and Coatings Association (NPCA) is a voluntary, nonprofit trade association representing paint and coatings manufacturers, raw materials suppliers and distributors. As the preeminent organization representing the paint and coatings industry in the United States, NPCA's primary role is to serve as ally and advocate on legislative, regulatory and judicial issues at the federal, state and local levels.

Source: NPCA

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