It's been a day of briefs - fat from the defendants, only 50-something pages for plaintiff - to the Rhode Island Supreme Court regarding myriad issues related to the landmark RI Lead Paint Public Nuisance Trial II.
Ironically, both sides request, among other remedies, a new trial. The defense wants the finding vacated or a new trial. And the plaintiff also is requesting in its brief on compensatory damages that the "bench decision be reversed, the judgment in favor of the Defendants be vacated and new trial ordered for the State to prove its claim for compensatory damages."
Another irony: Like the three defendants - NL Industries, Millennium Holdings, Sherwin-Williams - the plaintiff - the State of RI - questions if the trial judge [Michael Silverstein] made errors in this issue of compensatory damages.
Those damages, which the state estimates to be well over $26 million, would compensate the state for the funds spent in preventing, diagnosing and treating elevated levels of lead in the blood of the children. Since 1999, indicates the brief, the RI Department of Health has found over 37,000 children in the state with elevated blood lead levels. The primary, though not the only cause, is lead paint in residences.
The brief contends that there should have been compensatory damages awarded. They were not, asserts the state, for these reasons. The Judge "eviscerated the State's claim by granting motions to preclude testimony of two witnesses. Accordingly, the issues presented are:
- "Whether the trial justice erred by precluding any evidence of the amount of damages and thereby categorically disposing of the State's damages claim.
- "Whether the trial justice erred in entering judgment as a matter of law on the State's compensatory damages claim."
The almost infinite number of issues embedded in RI II may make it the most complex civil case to ever be tried in RI.
A copy of this brief is available at no charge from Mgenova981@aol.com.