The February edition of MEALEY'S LITIGATION REPORT - LEAD is bursting with developments. We have lots to thank Legal Editor at Lexis-Nexis James Cordrey for gathering the news, organizing it, and then releasing it to us.
I won't repeat the current events that we lead watchers have already celebrated. Those include Ohio's dismissing the lead paint public nuisance lawsuit and Rhode Island Judge Silverstein's ruling that the plaintiffs in that lead paint public nuisance lawsuit have to reimburse the defendants for some costs associated with the Co-Examiner's research.
Here's what you might not know about:
THOMAS - WISCONSIN. That appeal of the jury verdict for the defendants in the lead paint personal lawsuit has been stayed. That's because one of the defendants Millennium Holdings as well as its parent company Lyondell Chemical filed for Chapter 11. That was on January 7, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
In that filing, Millennium and Lyondell estimate they have between 25,000 and 50,000 creditors and more than $1 billion in liabilities. They also estimate that their assets total more than $1 billion. They indicate that they anticipate that the funds will be available for the unsecured creditors.
At this time there is no word on when the stay in the Thomas appeal will be lifted.
GODOY - WISCONSIN. A ruling in the personal injury lead case "Ruben Baez Godoy v. E.I. duPont de Nemours and Co" is expected soon by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. On September 10th, the high court had heard arguments. Plaintiff lawyers, who want the case to go to trial, contended that the pigment at issue is defectively designed. Defense attorneys argued that the pigment, by definition, contains lead. Therefore, it is not defectively designed.
Why this case is a watched one is because other personal injury lead paint cases could also go to trial if this one does.
SYNTHETIC TURF - CHICAGO. The Illinois state court dismissed the lawsuit filed by a nonprofit community organization alleging artificial turf is a public nuisance. That's because it contains lead. The plaintiff is appealing that decision. A source reported that the grounds for dismissal was "res judicata."
SYNTHETIC TURF - BOSTON. Four high-school athletic fields in the Boston area were found to contain hazardous levels of lead. Those results were disputed in a test conducted by Spinturf.
LEAD IN WATER - WASHINGTON D.C. - The issue is the possible link between lead in drinking water and high levels of lead in the blood of children. This could have implications for both class-action and personal-injury lawsuits concerning lead.
The Washington City Council wants an investigation, states Cordrey, "into whether public health agencies and city's water utility 'negligently or intentionally' misled the public about consequences of the high levels of lead in the city's drinking water from 2001 to 2004 and whether those organizations should have tried harder to find a link between high levels of lead in the water and high levels of lead in children."
LEAD BILL - NEW JERSEY. A bill called The Consumer Fraud Act of 2009 is being considered in New Jersey by the Assembly. It would ban the manufacture, distribution, and sale of specified trinkets containing any amount of lead. Those not in compliance could face jail time and heavy fines.
Documents relating to these and any other litigation matters are available for a fee from LexisNexis. You can order them here or contact James Cordrey at [email protected], 610-205-1125. Again, lead watchers thank James Cordrey.