CALIFORNIA - Sherwin-Williams, along with paint makers ConAgra Grocery Products and NL Industries Inc., has won a ruling from a California appeals court over lead paint contamination. The ruling states that a $1.15 billion judgment against them must be reduced because the suing municipalities failed to show that the companies actively promoted the paint after 1951.
 
The decision comes after litigation dating back to nearly two decades, over which the California counties of Alameda, Los Angeles, Montery, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Ventura, and the cities of Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco first filed suit against a number of paint manufacturers that manufactured and sold lead-based paint.
 
The original ruling stated that the paint manufacturers should have known about the danger of lead paint since the early 20th century, and ordered the companies to pay more than $1 billion for the alleged contributions to a "public nuisance". 
 
In the appealed November 14 decision, the three-justice panel of the California Sixth District Appellate Court, however, pared the judgment back a bit, saying the paint companies should only be held responsible for funding the investigation and removal of lead paint from homes in seven of California’s most heavily populated counties and three of its largest cities – which, according to estimates provided in the decision, could amount to nearly 1.6 million homes.
 
In ruling that three paint manufacturers have known since the early 20th Century of the danger the use of lead paint inside homes posed to children, a California appeals court has upheld the bulk of a judge’s reasoning in ordering the paint companies to pay more than $1 billion for their alleged contributions to a “public nuisance” caused by the continued presence of lead paint in old homes.
 
The defendants have pledged to appeal the decision to the California Supreme Court.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.