"Plaintiffs cannot state a cognizable claim 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." With that, the NJ Supreme court correctly ended the lead paint litigation in the Garden State. You can view the decision here.
The defendants, the deep pocketed crew of Sherwin Williams (SHW), Dupont (DD), NL Industries (NL) and others are savoring their second State Supreme Court victory in less than a week following Missouri's earlier decision. It would appear Wall St. is finally catching on as shares of Sherwin rallied 2.3% during the day and another 1.4% after the close Friday.
Said defendant's spokesperson Bonnie Campbell, ""With this long-awaited and significant ruling, the Supreme Court of New Jersey has taken an important step by joining Missouri, Illinois and other state courts in rejecting the distortion of public nuisance law."
"Today the Court found that the plaintiffs' nuisance claim is inconsistent with the well-recognized parameters of public nuisance law, and that to find otherwise would be directly contrary to the legislature's pronouncements on both lead paint abatement programs and products liability law. These companies are not responsible for risks today from poorly maintained lead paint ..."
So, what has to happen now to finally put this to bed? The Ohio Supremes are expected to rule soon on Senate Bill 117 that would have prohibited the use of public nuisance in lead paint litigation and by next summer. Expect them to rule in favor of the Senate that is bringing the case to block the veto. Next summer Rhode Island extricates itself from the near felonious behavior of AG Patrick Lynch and Judge Silverstein as it Supreme Court will now assuredly toss the verdict there on it's ear. The only question in Rhode Island left to decide is whether or not Lynch or Silverstein are sanctioned for their actions during the trial.
So what were these cases really about? The court today summed it up when they said:
"less support exists for the notion that the Legislature intended to permit these plaintiffs to supplant an ordinary product liability claim with a separate cause of action as to which there are apparently no bounds. We cannot help but agree with the observation that,were we to find a cause of action here, "nuisance law" would become a monster that would devour in one gulp the entire law of tort.’”
Yes, money. Not poor folks, poisoned kids or "public good". Just plain old money and another way the fleece business. Here is cheering the courts in NJ and MO this week. They got this one right. Maybe now the states can actually get around to stopping the onslaught of toys with lead paint that are being recalled almost daily?