California and 10 Local Governments Win $1.15 Billion Award in Lead Paint Class Action

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, many California residents began to discover that the paint on their walls had lead in them.  The discovery of lead paint in various apartment buildings and homes resulted in the initiation of several lawsuits against paint and lead manufacturers.  In addition, several renters and building owners sued contracting firms and mobile home manufacturers who had used the contaminated paint.  Those contractors and other defendants filed a cross-complaint against the paint manufacturers that supplied those contractors (a cross-complaint is when a defendant sues a third party because the original defendant believes that the third party is responsible for the injury suffered by the plaintiff).  As a greater number of people throughout California began to also discover lead in the paint on the walls of their homes, state and local governments initiated a lawsuit of their own.

By 2000, residents in ten different counties in California had discovered that the walls of their homes also contained lead paint.  That year, the county of Santa Clara, as well as ten other counties, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, filed a lawsuit against Atlantic Richfield Company, NL Industries, Conagra Grocery Products Company and Sherwin-Williams Company and some others.  In 2007, the State of California joined the plaintiffs in their suit.  The state and counties claimed that the failure to remove lead paint from these homes constitutes a public nuisance.

On December 16, 2013, Judge Robert Kleinberg of the Santa Clara Superior Court issued a tentative decision awarding the plaintiffs (the State of California and ten counties) $1.15 billion in damages.  The $1.15 billion will be paid into the state’s lead abatement program.  In his decision, Judge Kleinberg dismissed the claims against two of the defendants – Du Pont and Atlantic Ridgefield Company.

The defendant 

People have found this ruling to be controversial for two reasons: (1) lead paint nuisance claims in seven other states have voluntarily dismissed or rejected and (2) this ruling could affect home prices.  In seven jurisdictions, on the east coast, these claims have not met any success.  Because the injury occurs decades after the installation of the lead paint, most jurisdictions, like the Rhode Island Supreme Court, have ruled that these claims should be dismissed at the pleading stage unless the plaintiffs can allege that the lead paint is in the defendant’s control at the time of their injury.  Judge Kleinberg rejected that reasoning.  He has determined that defendant’s had constructive knowledge of the harms of lead paint prior to installation.  On that basis, he found that these companies are liable for a public nuisance.corporations filed objections to the court’s ruling on December 31, 2013.   Sherwin-Williams Company and other defendants have objected to the court’s tentative ruling because they claimed that there were other sources of lead in these communities.  The defendants asserted throughout the trial that they cannot be found to be a public nuisance since there are other sources of lead in those counties.  Judge Kleinberg rejected that reasoning in his ruling.  His ruling states that since lead paint is the “primary cause of lead poisoning for children in jurisdictions who live in pre-1978 housing,” it is a public nuisance even if there are other sources of lead in the community.  On January 7, 2014, Judge Kleinberg made his tentative decision the court’s official ruling in his Statement of Decision.  Several defendants have stated that they will file motions for a new trial and if that is unsucessful they will appeal.

The size of the award as well as the subject matter of the case has made some experts and trade associations believe that this decision could hurt the housing market.  Some who disagree with Judge Kleinberg’s ruling fear that the precedent set in this case could lead to home prices for pre-1978 homes to fall.  If Judge Kleinberg’s opinion is upheld on appeal, then it could lead to pre-1978 homes to drop in value because of buyers fear of lead paint and the legal trouble that might involve.  In addition, Judge Kleinberg has ordered that $400 million of the $1.1 billion award to pay for inspectors of properties that potentially have lead paint.  Some homeowners have complained that this decision will need to a great disruption as hundreds or thousands of residents will have vacate and relocate until their homes are determined to be safe by the inspectors.

How this case will progress on appeal may play a significant role in personal injury law and home values.  Please come back to LA Jewish Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer as we discuss this case and other legal phenomenon.  For more information about this case and other lead paint class action suits, please visit Legal Newsline and read the articles by Jessica Karmasek, Chris Dickerson and Amanda Robert.

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The Basics of Personal Injury law – Los Angeles CA

Personal Injury law is a wide-ranging area of the law and one with which people who are not lawyers are most familiar. Simply stated, personal injury lawyers help people recover from any accidental or intentional conduct that causes a physical or psychological injury. With a few exceptions, Personal Injury Lawyers are the people to seek out if you are injured because of the negligent or intentional conduct of another. The most significant exception to personal injury law is when a person is injured at work or during do one’s job. A person injured while working must pursue their claim through the Workers Compensation system and cannot sue to recover for his/her injuries. Our firm is eager to assist you in helping you to recover from your injuries whether at work or at home.

What To Do If I’m Injured At Work

Personal injury law focuses on how to assign responsibility and recover from the numerous amounts of ways that a person can be hurt due to someone else’s conduct. One focus of personal injury law is when someone deliberately causing an injury by striking, assaulting and/or kidnapping a person. Another area of focus is when a person is hurt because a person acted negligently, such as if someone falls on another person’s property or if a person is in a car accident. A person who is injured due to the malpractice of a doctor, nurse or other medical practitioner would also consult a Personal Injury Attorney, although it is best to find someone who specializes in medical malpractice.

California is a comparative negligence state. In some states, a person is may be blocked from recovering for an injury caused by someone else if the plaintiff’s negligence contributed even slightly to his/her own injury. That system is known as contributory negligence. California, like a majority of states, does not bar awards, even if a person is partially responsible for his/her damages. California follows the “pure” comparative negligence rules. In California, a person can recover no matter the extent of his/her responsibility for his/her injury. For example, if a person is involved in a car accident in Los Angeles, that person can recover some award even if the court finds that he/she is 90% responsible for the accident. The award given to the plaintiff is reduced by the amount of responsibility that he/she has for the damages that he/she sustained.

Please call us or fill out our contact form so that our Personal Injury Lawyer Los Angeles can tell you whether we can help you with your personal injury claim.

Call NOW (855) 977-1212 for a FREE Lawyer Consultation in Your area for any legal issue that you may have.  By using LA Jewish Lawyer services we can offer you a lawyers free advice in Los Angeles, CA.

Our network of lawyer in Los Angeles, specialize in Personal Injury,Wrongful ForeclosureWorkers CompensationEmployment Law, Family Law, DUI, Criminal, Contracts, but they also work with a vast array litigation matters so if you think you have a case and need excellence on your side just call us!

What To Do If I’m Injured At Work

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