Foolish Government Nuisance Suits Fading Out

By November 26, 2008General

From the AP, Milwaukee, “Milwaukee loses appeal in lead paint lawsuit“:

An appeals court on Tuesday rejected the city of Milwaukee’s bid to force a former lead paint manufacturer to pay for the cleanup of 11,000 contaminated properties.

The District 1 Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 the evidence was sufficient to uphold a jury’s ruling that NL Industries Inc. does not have to pay the city costs of cleaning up the inner-city homes. The city sought $52.6 million for the program, which spanned 1992 to 2006 and involved replacing old windows.

The Milwaukee County jury ruled last year the widespread presence of lead paint in Milwaukee homes was a public nuisance, but NL Industries did not “intentionally and unreasonably engage in conduct” that caused it and was not negligent.

The Rhode Island Supreme Court in July rejected the legal and factual grounds on which the state Attorney General sued paint manufacturers, and recognizing its losing case, the city of Columbus, Ohio, soon after dropped its litigation. We may be near the end of these “innovative” efforts by ambitious politicians, who sought to twist public nuisance laws so they could shake down third parties with no demonstrable link to lead contamination. For more, see, put together by the sued-against manufacturers.

The state of Ohio still has a public nuisance suit against the paint manufacturers pending, one filed by the since disgraced and now-resigned attorney general, Marc Dann; interim AG Nancy Rogers kept it alive. A new AG takes office soon, Richard Cordray, and he’s in a good position to say enough is enough, let’s stop wasting state resources on litigation we are bound to lose.

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