The NAM’s Statement on the R.I. Lead Paint Ruling

By July 1, 2008Briefly Legal

From the National Association of Manufacturers:

NAM CALLS RHODE ISLAND SUPREME COURT LEAD PAINT REVERSAL A VICTORY FOR MANUFACTURERS AND CONSUMERS

Landmark Ruling Is a Big Loss for Public Nuisance Claims

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 1, 2008 – The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) applauded today’s decision by the Rhode Island Supreme Court to overturn the trial court verdict against lead paint manufacturers.

“The court essentially shut down the use of product-based nuisance claims in Rhode Island,” said NAM President and CEO John Engler. “Today’s verdict preserves predictability and logic within our civil courts and is a victory for manufacturers and consumers. The Court’s decision is similar to decisions by Supreme Courts in Missouri, New Jersey and Illinois and adds to the momentum toward rejecting product-based public nuisance claims,” he said.

“This decision is a testament to applying the rule of law. We would welcome more state and federal judiciaries to follow the lead of these courts in the ever-growing efforts to expand the limits of liability,” he continued.

“The court clearly understands the risks posed when public nuisance claims are used to displace traditional causes of action, such as product liability lawsuits or thoughtful public policy decisions. Today’s decision is a big win for anyone who is concerned with the growing misuse of public nuisance lawsuits. The NAM will continue to actively oppose the distortion of public nuisance theory in other venues and with other products,” Engler concluded.

The NAM filed an amicus brief in this case and noted the court’s statement that it found all amicus briefs helpful in reaching its decision.

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