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In case you aren’t already aware, let me be the first to tell you that Fidelma Fitzpatrick, Esq. is a plaintiffs’ superhero. In addition to her legal work at Motley Rice and her involvement in Women En Mass (an annual gathering of the top female mass tort litigators and thought leaders), Fidelma has been championing injured plaintiffs’ rights in groundbreaking cases. Last week, she obtained $2 million each for three men who suffered lead poisoning after ingesting paint residue in their homes as toddlers. In the first verdict of its kind, a federal jury found three major paint and pigment companies liable for the permanent health effects the men suffered. Sherwin-Williams, Armstrong Container Corp., and DuPont are on the hook for $6 million.

Fidelma told jurors in her closing argument that all three young men struggle with reading comprehension as a result of lead poisoning in their early years. “Lead is a weight on their shoulders, holding them back” from opportunity, she argued. She urged that although the paint companies knew about the poisonous effects of lead in paint since the early 20th century, they still marketed it over alternatives and didn’t adequately warn about the risks to homeowners.

This isn’t the first win that Fidelma has led for lead paint victims. In 2013, a ruling in California found that ConAgra Grocery Products Company, NL Industries, and Sherwin-Williams created a public nuisance by concealing the dangers of lead, campaigning against the regulation of lead, and actively promoting lead for use in homes, despite knowing of its dangers. Fidelma tried the case with fellow Motley Rice member Vince Parrett, representing the People of the State of California.

We at Milestone commend Fidelma for her outstanding work and tireless efforts to protect people from huge corporations that have failed them.

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