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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Lead Paint Suits Killed

Cross-posted at THEB.

Not here, sad to say, since the group Dad29 refers to as the Screechin’ Shirleys OK’d going after deep pockets over lead paint.

Nope. The common sense was shown by the Rhode Island State Supreme Court, which voted 4-0 to kill any attempts to file deep pockets lawsuits to get trial lawyers even richer.
Yesterday was a good day for justice in Rhode Island, where the state Supreme Court stopped cold an attempt to turn lead paint into the next tobacco or asbestos.

The 4-0 ruling overturned a 2006 jury verdict that was the first court decision swallowing the theory that lead paint is a “public nuisance.” Under that legal reasoning, the state claimed lead paint harmed public health – and companies that once made the product could be held liable whether or not there was even an injured party.

Writing for the court, Chief Justice Frank Williams explained that “the state has not and cannot allege any set of facts to support its public nuisance claim.” When the case came before the court in May, Justice Paul Suttell compared the state’s argument to the story of Seven Blind Men and an Elephant – some of the pieces may make sense, but none of them add up to a coherent whole.
Proof of the “monkey see, monkey do” theory is that the lead paint lawsuits was dreamed up by the same law firm that is best known for tobacco shakedowns, Motley Rice.

The law firm found a partner in then-Rhode Island Attorney General (and now U.S. Democratic Senator) Sheldon Whitehouse, who brought the first lead nuisance suit in the country. The theory was picked up by current AG Patrick Lynch, who has worked hand-in-wallet with Motley Rice and others, dishing them a contingency contract worth 16.67% of any settlement.

They won’t quit. They’ll be back taking on trans-fats, fast foods, alcohol, whatever it takes to make sure more money flows freely into the pockets of big spending politicians and government officials all too eager for the next big cash cow.

Where did that tobacco settlement money go here in Wisconsin, by the way?

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