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State of Rhode Island v. Lead Industries Association, Inc.
Supreme Court of Rhode Island
951 A.2d 428 (2008)
Lead, a toxic chemical that can cause developmental disabilities, coma and even death in children, was widely used in household paints until the 1970s. It is undisputed that lead poisoning continues to be a public nuisance in the U.S., and particularly in Rhode Island, where a disproportionately large number of children have elevated levels of lead in their blood. The Rhode Island Attorney General filed suit on behalf of the State of Rhode Island (plaintiff) against several lead paint manufacturers (Lead Industries) (defendants), alleging that they either knew or should have known that the lead contained in their paint was a health hazard, and that as a result of their conduct the state incurred substantial damages. The trial court denied Lead Industries’ motion to dismiss. The jury found that the presence of lead paint is a public nuisance caused by Lead Industries’ conduct, and ordered the paint manufacturers to abate the public nuisance. Lead Industries appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Williams, C.J.)
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