In Re: Lead Paint Litigation (A-73-05), the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled 4-2 for the dismissal of the remaining lawsuit against former lead-paint manufacturers. The Supreme Court held that the plaintiffs were unable to state a claim on which relief could be granted, "consistent with the well-recognized parameters of the common-law tort of public nuisance. To find otherwise would be directly contrary to legislative pronouncements governing both lead paint abatement programs and products liability claims." Further, the court recognized that under the Lead Paint Act, responsibility for abatement costs rests largely on the property owners. Thereby rejecting the distortion of public nusiance law and identifying this as a products liability issue, properly governed by the Products Liability Act which excludes coverage for exposure to toxic material.
The Plaintiffs are considering whether to ask the court to reconsider its decision.
Similarly, on June 12th, the Supreme Court of Missouri in City of St. Louis, Appellant v. Benjamin Moore & Company, et al., Respondents, affirmed the trial court's decision and upheld Zafft v. Eli Lilly & Co., 676 S.W.2d 241 (Mo. banc 1984). The court held that the City of St. Louis failed to establish a causal link between the defendant and the alleged nuisance since it was unable to identify the manufacturer of specific lead paint against that which was present at/or abated from specific properties.
For further information and an extract of the opinions, as prepared by the Office of the Clerk, please view: