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Motley Rice’s achievement last week is the epitome of a “never back down” approach that should inspire us all. After nearly 20 years, the firm reached a $305 million settlement in litigation that found that Sherwin-Williams, NL Industries, and ConAgra Grocery Products Company created a public nuisance by promoting the use of toxic lead pigment in homes. The settlement will be used to mitigate the harm that these companies’ products caused to 10 California cities and counties.

Fidelma Fitzpatrick, who served as lead trial counsel for plaintiffs in the 2014 trial, perfectly sums up why this win is a really big deal: “These 10 California counties and cities can finally have access to the resources that will allow them to clean up the mess these defendants created. Thousands of children who were exposed to toxic lead paint due to the defendants’ actions likely continue carry those harmful effects, including, in some cases, severe neurological damage and developmental delays. While the damage cannot be undone, this settlement offers a better future to ensure that more children will not have the potential to be exposed to toxic lead paint. This settlement will make that possible by allowing California families in plaintiff jurisdictions to come home to an environment that’s free from lead.” 

The case is People v. Conagra Grocery Products Company, Case No. S246102. Earlier this year, Fidelma also obtained $2 million each for three men who suffered lead poisoning after ingesting paint residue in their homes as toddlers.

Congratulations to Motley Rice and Fidelma for pushing for this outstanding resolution, which will not only address the danger of lead exposure for future children who live in these towns, but will also send a message that companies cannot put people at risk to make a profit.

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