Update: Court Increases Lead Paint Verdict By $50 Million Resulting in $1.15
Billion Against Three Companies, Co-lead Counsel Mary Alexander of San
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 13, 2014
TOP COMPANIES INCLUDING SHERWIN-WILLIAMS MUST PAY TO REMOVE LEAD AFFECTING
CHILDREN FROM HOMES IN 10 CALIF CITIES AND COUNTIES; ALEXANDER SAYS, "Verdict
will prevent lead poisoning of children from paint in their homes… This
decision holds companies accountable."
(UPDATED FROM PROPOSED ORDER, NOW COURT'S FINAL STATEMENT)
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mary Alexander, San
Francisco victims' rights attorney, announced that a state Judge in Santa
Clara County, California, has ordered top lead paint companies including
Sherwin-Williams to pay $1.15 billion, an increase of $50 million from last
month's proposed order by the Court, into a fund to be used to remove the lead
potentially dangerous to children in hundreds of thousands of homes in ten
cities and counties in California. Alexander stated that the verdict came
after 13 years of litigation and 5 weeks of trial. Judge James P. Kleinberg
said that lead in paint, for which there is no safe level of exposure for
children, results in "thousands of children presently and potentially
victimized by this chemical." The counties are San Francisco, Alameda, San
Mateo, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, Monterey, Solano, Ventura, and the cities are
Oakland and San Diego.
Mary Alexander, an attorney who tried the case for the cities and counties
said, "This verdict will prevent lead poisoning of children from paint in
their homes. It is a great victory for the people of California." She added,
"This decision holds the companies accountable for promoting and selling lead
paint for use in homes despite knowing, as far back as the 1890's, that it was
highly toxic, especially to young children. This landmark decision recognizes
the manufacturers must be held responsible and pay to clean up the hazard they
created in homes," she said.
The Judge ordered Sherwin-Williams, ConAgra and NL Industries, formerly known
as the National Lead Co., to pay $1.15 billion to establish a fund that the
state will administer to remove lead paint from the homes in the 10 cities and
counties. There are 4.7 million homes built before 1978 when lead paint was
banned, of which 52% have lead paint. Other attorneys for the Plaintiffs were
Cotchett, Pitre and McCarthy; Motley Rice; and the Law Offices of Peter Earle.
Alexander explained that "each year, thousands of children under six years of
age, are lead poisoned, most of them exposed to lead through lead paint in
their homes. Lead paint deteriorates over time leaving paint chips and dust
that gets on floors, window sills and toys to which young children are
exposed. Lead poisoning causes damage to the brain and nervous systems of
children and it is permanent and irreversible. The impact is particularly
great in minorities and children living in poor housing."
Alexander cited an internal industry document by Sherwin Williams in 1900
which described the paint ingredient white lead as a "deadly cumulative
poison". In 1909, a California Supreme case held that ConAgra was responsible
for lead poisoning employees in its own lead plant. "Despite this knowledge
the companies continued to promote the sale of lead paint in the California
cities and counties," Alexander stated.
(Alexander was hired by County of San Francisco in early 2001 to represent
them to join the lawsuit. Later other counties came in and the attorneys had a
joint agreement to represent all of the entities. Alexander was also involved
in the appeals and litigation including 40 depositions. At the trial, she put
on key expert medical witnesses on lead health effects. She also put on county
employees including a county medical officer. She cross examined Sherwin
Williams' expert and obtained admissions. She was one of the lead trial
lawyers and noted that "It was a team effort.")
Alexander, who resides in Atherton with her office in San Francisco, is former
National President of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.
A copy of Judge Kleinberg's Order may be found in the following court links:
Final statement of decision:
The Judge was Judge James Kleinberg, Santa Clara Superior Court. Verdict was
issued on December 16; the final order was January 7.
The case was The People of the State of California vs. Atlantic Richfield
Company, Conagra Grocery Products Company, E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and
Company, NL Industries Inc., and the Sherwin-Williams Company.
For more information:
Mary Alexander & Associates
44 Montgomery St., suite 1303
San Francisco, CA 94104
Media wishing more information or to speak with Ms Alexander may contact:
Bob Weiner 301-283-0821, cell 202-306-1200; email@example.com
SOURCE Robert Weiner Associates and Mary Alexander & Associates, P.C.
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