SAN FRANCISCO, July 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- California counties (including San Francisco, Oakland, Alameda and Los Angeles) and paint companies (including Sherwin-Williams and Conagra) involved in the nearly 20-year lawsuit over lead paint in California homes have finally agreed to a $305 million settlement today in Alameda County Superior Court. This ends two decades of litigation, which included a $1.5 billion bench verdict.
"This result will go a long way to protect the children of California from lead poisoning," said attorney Mary Alexander. "I've been on the frontlines of this battle for nearly two decades in an effort to protect children's health," added Alexander.
The lawsuit was initially filed in 2000, and soon 10 California local governments joined in bringing a "public nuisance" suit against the companies that once sold lead paint, arguing that lead is a proven toxin causing brain damage in children. The suit sought to hold the paint companies responsible to pay for the cleanup. A trial court in Santa Clara County agreed, ordering the companies to pay $1.1 billion for the cleanup; subsequent appeal court limited their liability to homes built before 1951. In San Francisco alone, over two thirds (68 percent) of homes were built before 1951, which is more than 235,000 residential units. At least 22,000 housing units in San Francisco that are occupied by low- and moderate-income families are believed to have lead-based paint hazards.
The lawsuit was filed against Sherwin-Williams Co; Conagra, part of parent company Conagra Brands Inc; and NL Industries Inc, which is owned by Valhi Inc. The case is County of Santa Clara et al. v. Atlantic Richfield Co. et al., case number 1-00-cv-788657, in the California Superior Court, Santa Clara County.
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