Paint manufacturers are declaring victory after a Rhode Island jury on Oct. 29 reached a deadlock in a landmark lead paint lawsuit, resulting in a mistrial.
“We are very pleased that the state was not able to convince the jury that lead paint was a public nuisance,” said Bonnie Campbell, a spokeswoman for a number of the defendants. Noting the lack of success of other lawsuits against the defendants, Ms. Campbell, the former Attorney General of Iowa, added, “The Rhode Island outcome shows once again that litigation will not help a single child.”
Ms. Campbell concluded, “Government authorities should focus on what works: proper maintenance and government enforcement.”
Andrew Doyle, president of the National Paint and Coatings Association, agreed, stating, “Judge Silverstein’s decision demonstrates, again, that litigation is not the answer. It only serves to delay good faith efforts to achieve constructive solutions to eradicating childhood lead poisoning.”
The suit accused the manufacturers of continuing to expose children to high levels of lead through products they made some two generations ago. The state, which has a high rate of lead poisoning among children, sought to hold the companies responsible for paint cleanup costs.
It’s not clear when or whether Rhode Island will file another suit against the manufacturers.