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Judge Allows St. Louis To Sue Lead Paint Manufacturers
New York Lawyer -- November 25, 2002 --Associated Press
A judge has allowed the city to continue to seek millions of dollars in damages from seven lead paint manufacturers. Judge Margaret Neill threw out some of St. Louis' claims but rejected most arguments for dismissing the city's lawsuit, which contends that the companies misrepresented or failed to disclose the hazardous nature of lead and lead products. "This court concludes that the widespread alleged presence of lead paint in the city's housing stock presents a very serious and pervasive threat to the public health, as well as an environmental hazard, and therefore qualifies as a public nuisance," Neill wrote.
The ruling, issued Wednesday and made public Friday, allows the city to continue what it says is an effort to make its housing lead-safe and to help families hurt by lead contamination.
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Estimates for fixing the problem run as high as $40 million for St. Louis alone. Individuals and communities have filed more than 40 lawsuits against lead paint companies since 1989. All have failed.
A Rhode Island jury was unable to reach a verdict last month in that state's case against the paint industry. Cities including San Francisco, Milwaukee, New York and Newark, N.J., also have filed lawsuits, and several other states were considering such action. St. Louis is suing American Cyanimid Co., Atlantic Richfield Co., DuPont & Co., Glidden Co., NL Industries Inc., SCM Corp. and Sherwin-Williams Co. No trial date has been set.