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Lead Paint Litigation

Holding Lead Paint Manufacturers Accountable for Selling and Marketing a Product that Poisons Thousands of California Children Each Year: Social Justice Team Obtains $1.1 Billion Remedy on Behalf of California Children
(County of Santa Clara, et al. v. Atlantic Richfield, et al.)
After a thirteen-year battle that broke new legal ground, the County of Santa Clara and nine other California cities and counties won a $1.15 billion judgment from the Santa Clara County Superior Court in December 2013 in their long-running lawsuit against the former manufacturers of lead paint.  The public nuisance lawsuit was filed in 2000 by then-Santa Clara County Counsel Ann Ravel on behalf of the People of the State of California (People).  The County of Santa Clara served as the lead public entity in the case as other cities and counties joined the litigation.  The Superior Court’s judgment holds former lead paint manufacturers responsible for marketing lead paint as a safe product despite knowing that the product was highly toxic, especially to children.  Although lead paint was banned for residential use in 1978, it remains present in millions of homes in California and continues to poison tens of thousands of California children each year. Prior to this judgment, we also prevailed in two appeals challenging our ability to pursue this case. First, the Court of Appeal held that the People could allege a claim for public nuisance against the lead paint manufacturers. Second, the California Supreme Court held that the People could retain contingency fee counsel to assist in the prosecution of the action. The former lead paint manufacturers are currently challenging the superior court’s judgment in the Sixth District Court of Appeal.

For their efforts in obtaining this landmark judgment, Assistant County Counsel Danny Chou, Lead Deputy County Counsel Greta Hansen, and Deputy County Counsel Jenny Lam were named the 2014 Trial Lawyer of the Year by Public Justice and received the 2014 Recognition Award from the County Counsels’ Association of California.
Press regarding the case:
Last updated: 2/22/2018 4:01 PM