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April 27, 2001 Judge gives green light to lead paint lawsuits

April 27, 2001 Judge gives green light to lead paint lawsuits

A Rhode Island judge has given the go-ahead to a state lawsuit against manufacturers of lead-based paint. The decision could prompt other states and communities to seek compensation from the lead industry for costs associated with abating the hazard posed by lead paint. In October 1999, Rhode Island filed suit against lead pigment manufacturers, seeking to recover resources needed to advance lead poisoning prevention programs. The state asked the court to require the defendants to detect and abate lead hazards in the state's public and private buildings, as well as support other measures to address the costs to taxpayers stemming from childhood lead poisoning.

Associate Justice Michael Silverstein of the Rhode Island State Superior Court denied a motion to dismiss filed by the defendants, thereby affirming the state's right to seek abatement costs for public and private property.

Numerous other lawsuits have been filed against the lead paint industry, including suits brought by the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, Calif., and St. Louis, two school districts in Houston, and Santa Clara, Solano and Santa Cruz counties in California.

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