July 9, 2008
Columbus Dismisses With Prejudice Public Nuisance Suit Filed Against Former Lead Pigment Manufacturers
COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The City of Columbus has voluntarily dismissed with prejudice its public nuisance lawsuit filed in December 2006 against former manufacturers of lead pigment. With Tuesday's filing in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, all ten public nuisances suits filed by Ohio cities since 2006 have been either voluntarily dismissed or rejected by courts.
"The City of Columbus followed settled law by asking the court to dismiss its lawsuit," said Charles H. Moellenberg, Jr., an attorney for The Sherwin-Williams Company, speaking on behalf of defendants Sherwin-Williams and Millennium Holdings, LLC. "The lawsuit was legally and factually wrong in suing companies that lawfully made products that the city, painters and consumers demanded historically as the best on the market."
The City's action follows a series of significant decisions over the last two years, all of which have rejected public nuisance lawsuits against former manufacturers. On July 1, the Rhode Island Supreme Court unanimously rejected a public nuisance lawsuit filed nine years earlier, saying that the claim "should have been dismissed at the outset." Earlier, state Supreme Courts in Missouri and New Jersey, along with a jury in Wisconsin, also rejected plaintiffs' claims in public nuisance cases. As a result, public nuisance lawsuits against former manufacturers have been rejected by all courts in which the cases are resolved.
Earlier, the Ohio cities of Akron, Athens, Canton, Cincinnati, Dayton, East Cleveland, Lancaster, Massillon and Youngstown had all voluntarily dismissed public nuisance cases that the cities had filed against former manufacturers. One other case, filed by the City of Toledo, was rejected by a court ruling in December 2007. Ohio law states that litigation against product manufacturers must be brought under product liability law. The only two public nuisance suits still pending are ones filed by the state of Ohio and by Santa Clara and other California municipalities.
"The lawyers who sold Columbus on this lawsuit made much of similar litigation in Rhode Island," Moellenberg said. "Now, the unanimous ruling by the Rhode Island Supreme Court last week that dismissed the Rhode Island case has confirmed that public nuisance lawsuits are ill-advised and without merit. Extraordinary progress has been made in addressing lead risks to children from all sources. Enforcement of current Ohio law requiring property owners to keep their properties in a safe condition and free of hazards will finish the job."
For more information on lead pigment litigation, please visit http://www.leadlawsuits.com/.
Contact: Prism Public Affairs (Natl.) Mike Tetuan / Gregg Perry 866-202-2476 Wayne Hill (Ohio) 216-781-240
Atlantic Richfield Company; The Sherwin-Williams Company; Millennium
CONTACT: Mike Tetuan or Gregg Perry, Prism Public Affairs (Natl.),+1-866-202-2476, or Wayne Hill (Ohio), +1-216-781-2400, all for AtlanticRichfield Company, Millennium Holdings, Inc., and The Sherwin-WilliamsCompany
Web Site: http://www.leadlawsuits.com/