Today the three defendants in the Rhode Island Lead Paint Public Nuisance Trial II each filed a separate brief which was submitted to the RI Supreme Court. The defendants are NL Industries, Millennium Holdings, and Sherwin-Williams.
In later posts I will go through the major arguments in each brief. Here are just the highlights.
The defendants ask the Court to vacate the finding or to grant a new trial. They request this based on arguments each present in each separate brief. Those arguments include:
- Nationally and in RI, levels of lead in the blood of children are at historic lows and continue to decrease.
- The lower court, that is the trial court, should have tossed the case. The major reasons for that are that the lawsuit disregards established rules for public nuisance in the state of RI and it bypasses clearly defined laws for dealing with product liability issues by manufacturers. Moreover, the defendants did not manufacture the lead pigments and lead paint for more than a quarter of a century. Much of the contents of the lawsuit could have and should have been resolved in the state's general assembly.
After making these general arguments, each brief from each of the defendants focuses on a specific issue material to the case. For instance, NL Industries discusses the public nuisance aspects. Millennium looks at the issue of causation. And Sherwin-Williams takes up the matter of the lawsuit's subverting the authority and role of the state's general assembly.
I am anticipating receiving from the RI Attorney General Patrick Lynch's office its brief which has been or will be filed today in the RI Supreme Court. It will contain at least three arguments:
- Its appeal of the ARCO acquittal [ARCO has 45 days to respond]
- Its appeal of the trial court's dismissal of compensatory damages.
- Its appeal of the contempt conviction of the state attorney general.
Here's what comes next:
- March 17th - Defense and plaintiff responses are due in the RI Supreme Court
- April 16th - Responses from both parties to those responses are due.
In May there will be the oral arguments from both sides.
More to come ...