Verdicts & Settlements

$1.2M Paid in R.I. Lead Paint Suit

More than two years after DuPont agreed to pay $12 million and clean up 600 homes in order to settle a lead paint lawsuit brought by the state of Rhode Island, the first of the money is being distributed.

Several children’s health and educational projects will split $1.2 million of the money, Attorney General Patrick Lynch announced today. “I was as anxious as anybody to have some of these monies start out there,” Lynch said in answer to questions about why it took two years to award the funds. However, he explained, those in charge of lead remediation and education efforts needed to spend time to review proposed projects carefully, reports the Associated Press.

Three other former lead paint manufacturers who didn’t settle with the state and were found liable for creating a public nuisance could up the ante significantly, if their appeals aren’t successful. Lynch says the state is seeking to require them to pay about $2.4 billion remove lead paint from about 240,000 homes. Their objections to the state’s cleanup proposal are detailed in an earlier Associated Press article.

Lead was commonly used as an ingredient in paint in homes before it was banned in 1978 in paint sold for residential use. Hence, lead is often present in homes built before 1978.

Although Rhode Island has succeeded with lead paint litigation, Missouri and New Jersey and Wisconsin have not, as discussed in earlier posts. More details about the Wisconsin litigation are provided in a Feb. 2005 ABA Journal article “Risky Business.”

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