LEGAL NEWSLINE's John O'Brien is deep into not only Dickie Scruggs' troubles but also the ongoing lead-paint public nuisance litigation saga in Rhode Island. Just before Christmas, O'Brien did a three-part series on where the litigation is. Today, he jumped right back in and covered in detail the flood of briefs going from defendants and plaintiff to the RI Supreme Court.
Among other coups, O'Brien snagged a provocative quote from Jones Day attorney Charles Moellenberg who is part of the defense team representing Sherwin-Williams. In the piece, Moellenberg says:
"The trial court rulings were so aberrational that no other state could fit its law into what happened in Rhode Island.
"It was remarkable. The State didn't have to prove the product existed in Rhode Island today and the jury didn't have to think they did anything wrong, the two foundations of any type of tort.
"They [the jury] ended up trying a hypothetical case."
O'Brien also provides extensive quotes from both the three defendants' and the plaintiff's two briefs.
One plaintiff brief requests, in addition to any clean-up costs, about $26 million to compensate various state programs which took on the lead hazardous problem in terms of prevention, diagnosis and treatment. The other brief requests the RI Supreme Court to overturn the two contempt findings against RI Attorney General Patrick Lynch by Judge Silverstein. AG Lynch was fined $5000 from his personal funds.