Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sherwin Williams Lead Paint Litigation: A National Update

I was asked by a reader to consolidate the current state of Sherwin Williams (SHW) lead paint litigation. In order to do that I turned to the one person any lead paint watcher would when asked a question on the subject. Jane Genova.


Prepared by blogger Jane Genova

Rhode Island:

The appeal of the Rhode Island lead paint trial II verdict to the RI Supreme Court is moving along very slowly. The holdup seems to be getting a complete copy of the official transcript.

On October 31, 2007, Sherwin-Williams departed from its low-profile public relations strategy. It went high profile with two motions to RI Superior Court.

One was to request two portions of DuPont’s agreement with the state be removed because they only served the state attorney general Patrick Lynch’s interest. This is being referred to as a “Slush Fund.”

The second is to stay the abatement process until another company Cyanamid goes to trial. Only then, contends Sherwin-Williams, will each of the defendants know what it must contribute to abatement.


The opposition to “117” has failed because of lack of interest. Therefore, the law stands that the state’s public nuisance law can’t be applied to the former lead paint companies. The state’s public nuisance is dead. All Ohio cities have withdrawn their individual public nuisance lawsuits.

The “117” opposition could plead with the OH Supreme Court for more time to try to get enough signatures for a referendum and/or it can challenge the constitutionality of “117,” claiming its focus is more than one issue.

Missouri/New Jersey:

Because of Supreme Court rulings Sherwin-Williams is no longer a defendant in public nuisance lawsuits.


The defendant victory in the personal injury trial Thomas v Mallet is to be appealed by the plaintiff.

There are 35 other personal injury cases pending. Some involve Sherwin-Williams.


The public nuisance case remains pending as the plaintiff attempts to appeal the Santa Clara court’s ruling against the use of contingency in public nuisance. ARCO is the key defendants in the case but if the plaintiff wins, this public nuisance approach could spread throughout California.

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