Accepting the Obvious in Ohio

By July 2, 2008Briefly Legal

From The Columbus Dispatch:

The Rhode Island Supreme Court might have put an end to a Columbus lawsuit intended to hold paint manufacturers financially responsible for cleaning up thousands of homes contaminated with lead paint. …[snip]

“Most everybody pinned their hopes on how Rhode Island moved,” said Columbus City Attorney Richard C. Pfeiffer Jr. “I think it’s fair to say, with Rhode Island’s decision, we’ll have to seriously re-evaluate this case and see if it should continue.”

The city estimates that cleaning up 150,000 lead- contaminated homes could cost $1.7 billion.

“Obviously, this ruling in Rhode Island does not bode well for our legal strategy,” said Dan Williamson, spokesman for Mayor Michael B. Coleman.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer, an editorial, “Rhode Island court rightly absolves companies that made lead-based paint“:

Fairness required the Rhode Island Supreme Court to overturn the landmark lead-paint nuisance verdict against Cleveland-based Sherwin-Williams Co. and two other companies that used to make lead-based house paint.

Chief Justice Frank Williams expressed regret for “the harm to children in Rhode Island,” but went on to say that “the defendants were not in control of any lead pigment at the time the lead caused harm to children.” That wise decision should persuade Ohio and its cities to shelve their public nuisance suits.

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