Thomas v. Mallett
Supreme Court of Wisconsin
701 N.W.2d 523 (2005)
Steven Thomas (plaintiff) suffered cognitive defects from ingesting white lead carbonate contained in lead paint that was used in the houses where Thomas lived as a child. Thomas, who was born in 1990, lived in homes that were built between 1900 and 1905. Due to the passage of time, the large number of pigment manufacturers that used lead-based paint, the generic nature of lead paint, and the lack of records available for Thomas’s childhood homes, Thomas was unable to identify the particular manufacturer of the pigment that caused Thomas’s lead poisoning. Thomas brought a products-liability suit based on negligence and strict liability against several pigment manufacturers (defendants) of white lead carbonate. The defendants knew that white lead carbonate was harmful, but continued to manufacture and market lead-based pigments. In the lawsuit, Thomas sought to extend to white lead carbonate the theory of market-share liability (or, risk contribution) that was originally adopted and made applicable to the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES). Thomas presented evidence that lead poisoning affected countless individuals, many of whom were children. The defendants claimed, among other things, that white lead carbonate was not a fungible good, as required for risk contribution, because various manufacturers used different chemical formulas to create the compound. The trial court refused to extend the doctrine of risk contribution beyond DES and granted summary judgment to the defendants. The court of appeals affirmed. Thomas appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Butler, J.)
Dissent (Wilcox, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 175,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.